Harmony, Inc. and its chapters are doing their part to help flatten the curve and fight Covid-19. We will keep everyone updated on which events are cancelled and which are being changed, but we urge everyone to check with event planners of individual activities to confirm their status before attending. This includes rehearsals, performances, fundraisers, contests, etc.

Please see our constantly updated Helpful Links page.

May 7, 2021

Dear Friends,

Why does it feel that I have read this letter before??  As you know, your International Board of Directors has been assessing the willingness of our members and the confidence we have in bringing our members together for an in-person event while ensuring their safety.

After careful consideration of the membership’s opinions, the International Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel an in-person event in November 2021.  IC&C 2021 will be a fully virtual experience this year.  For some this seemed like the obvious response, but for a small number of our organization, they were still hopeful that we might be able to see each other in person.  The recent survey results had fewer than 200 members willing to attend an in-person event in Hershey, and only a couple of chapters were interested in a hybrid (virtual/in-person) event.  While your happiness and meeting your expectations are so important to us, your health and safety must be our priority.

Hope is on the horizon, as we see both Canada and United States focusing on the vaccination programs and looking to soon ease travel restrictions. Unfortunately, the timing is not working for us and committing to an event in the fall is just not advisable at this time.

Our financial penalty was reduced to losing only our down payment along with a request to rebook for two additional years.  We are still negotiating final contract details and hope to have these resolved shortly.

If you have any questions, we are scheduling two zoom Q&A sessions, one Saturday morning and another Sunday evening and would look forward to answering your questions then.  Corporate Office (Kelly) will be sending out the invite to these meetings shortly.

I am looking forward to the spring of 2022 when our intentions to meet in person for ACC will be met.

We will stay the course together and we will support each other by connecting in as safe a way as possible.  While we are a “singing” organization first and foremost, we are also an organization founded on friendships. We will not let COVID-19 erode those friendships (it will take work to keep the connections active, but it is worth every minute on Zoom!).  We WILL sing together again.  Soon!

Take care of yourselves and be sure to reach out to one another.  I look forward to the best Area events and our celebratory International event that will take place soon!

In Harmony and on behalf of your International Board of Directors,

Linda Brehaut
International President
[email protected]

April 29, 2021

Harmony, Inc. advises members to do their research and make their own educated decisions about whether they should do any in-person singing. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with COVID-19. Adhering to all local, state/provincial, and federal mandates for in-person gatherings is imperative.

Updated edition of the BHS Interim Guidance for BHS ensembles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Public Health Agency of Canada

World Health Organization

Choral Canada

Chorus America

October 1, 2020

Dear Harmony, Inc. Members,

Your International Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to rage in the US, Canada, and around the world. As we have learned more about the virus and how it spreads, we have significant concerns about our members preparing, traveling, and gathering for our 2021 Area Conventions & Contests. Many of you have expressed these same concerns.

After much discussion and careful consideration, your International Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel all 2021 AC&Cs. As always, your health and safety are our highest priorities.

Although not completely unexpected, this news is extremely disappointing for all of us. We want you to know that we are more committed than ever to keeping our Harmony family connected and engaged through this difficult time.

Over the next few months, we will be reviewing and adjusting our 2021 plans with the goal of strengthening our bond with members through ongoing virtual education and other creative ways to keep you connected to Harmony. As you know, we are a volunteer driven organization, so we will be reaching out to you for help. Today, we encourage you to share your ideas for keeping our members engaged, singing, and learning.

Harmony, Incorporated is about so much more than singing four-part harmony. It is about life-long friends who care about and support one another. Our experiences in Harmony, Inc. are priceless, and nothing can take those memories and future opportunities away from us. Someday, COVID-19 will be behind us and we will share our friendship and music together again. I cannot wait for that day to come.

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

Together, We Are Harmony. Stronger.

August 20, 2020

We learned early in the COVID-19 pandemic that group singing is considered a super-spreading event. Since that time, ongoing studies have provided a better understanding of how COVID-19 spreads. As we learn about this research, we want to share this information with our members so that you understand the risks associated with in-person rehearsals and can make informed decisions about your personal health and safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada, everyone, regardless of age, is at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness if they contract the virus. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

Research has revealed that individuals may become infected with COVID-19 through aerosolized droplets. Preliminary results of the Performing Arts Research Study conducted by the University of Colorado and University of Maryland were discussed in the August 10 webinar hosted by The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). This information is summarized in the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) blog. Full results and FAQs can be found on the NFHS main study website.

Some of the key information shared in the NATS webinar emphasized the importance of:

  • Wearing a well-fitting mask for indoor and outdoor singing.  Face shields are only effective for large droplets, so masks should be worn with the face shields.

  • Limiting rehearsal/exposure times – 30 minutes is the preliminary recommendation

  • Adhering to appropriate physical distancing per CDC guidelines

  • Rehearsing only in spaces with good ventilation.  Outdoors is best.  For indoor rehearsals, please see the NFHS guidance for proper ventilation, air exchange, air filtration, and purifiers.

You may also find it helpful to review the interim guidance published by BHS in late June.  This shares guidance for quartets and choruses, as well as insurance considerations.

Regardless of what the studies have revealed, adhering to all local, state/provincial, and federal mandates for in-person gatherings is, of course, imperative.

We will continue to share the most recent information as it emerges. There is no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with COVID-19. By staying informed as individuals about the risks of rehearsing during a pandemic, members can help chapter officers make responsible decisions about rehearsals. Ultimately, it is up to each member to understand the risks involved with in-person singing so that you can make informed decisions based on your personal situation and risk tolerance.

Public Health Agencies:

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]
and the International Board of Directors

May 15, 2020

To Our Members,

No doubt many of you are still processing the sobering news shared in last week’s webinar, “What do Science and Data Say About the Near-Term Future of Singing?”  If you have not watched the webinar or would like to review sections of particular interest, the Barbershop Harmony Society has edited the webinar into several digestible sections, and the videos are available HERE.  A written summary of the webinar can be found HERE.

The organizations that hosted the May 5 webinar – National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Chorus America, American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), and Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) – continue to converse with researchers to gain additional knowledge on this topic.  Stay tuned for follow up conversations by these organizations.

Singers are “super spreaders”
Experts say that singing in an enclosed space with recirculated air is one of the most dangerous activities for spreading COVID-19.  The deep breathing and loud sounds singers produce during rehearsals project disease particles into the air at a much higher rate than normal speech.  Although wearing masks, screening chorus members, and social distancing during rehearsals, can help reduce the risk of chorus members spreading the virus, singing comes with significant risks.  A May 12 report published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) outlines how transmission of COVID-19 occurred at a community choir rehearsal.  The full report can be found HERE.

Impact on your chapter rehearsals
You may be wondering what this means for your chapter.  As always, the health and safety of our members is our highest priority.  Based on the information provided to date, returning to traditional chorus rehearsals and performances at this time is extremely risky and not advised.  Even with health screening prior to the rehearsal, wearing masks, and practicing proper social distancing, there is no guarantee that the virus will not infect chapter members and audiences.  Of course, we are devastated by this news, but we feel you need to be informed.  For the time being, we urge you to be safe and continue using Zoom or other creative ways to stay connected.  As stated in the May 5 webinar, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Patience is the key to keeping all members healthy.

Please see these FAQs with information about receiving refunds for contest entry fees and AEPs and answers to other questions we have received.  If you have more questions that have not been addressed, please contact [email protected].

Together we are HARMONY. STRONGER.

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay, International President
and your International Board of Directors
[email protected]

May 7, 2020

2020 IC&C Announcement

We are deeply saddened to inform you that we must cancel our 2020 International Convention & Contests scheduled for November in Louisville, Kentucky. Your International Board of Directors has significant concerns about members safely attending IC&C, despite the endless list of safety protocols established by the venue. In addition, the dangers presented by COVID-19 make it unsafe for chapters to rehearse based on recent facts shared by scientists and medical experts.*
We are currently negotiating with the Galt House to mitigate, and hopefully eliminate, any penalties associated with canceling our IC&C. At this time, we are optimistic that we can accomplish this. As we take all of these factors into consideration, nothing matters more than you! Our number one priority is, and always will be, the health and safety of our members.
Needless to say, I am devastated, and I know you are as well.  We have lost so much this year, and IC&C was the one event we were looking forward to – our chance to enjoy the friendship of our Harmony sisters. Sadly, we cannot safely sing with our chapters, travel, or come together to socialize and celebrate. Without these things, we are lost.  My heart hurts for us. Nevertheless, we will fight through this difficult time just as we have battled all the challenges Harmony has faced in our 61-year history.
Over the past few months, our focus has shifted from in-person gatherings to virtual rehearsals and training sessions, and we remain committed to keeping you connected to Harmony, Inc. until we can sing together again. With over 2,000 creative women in our organization, we will find those opportunities. Please contact me at [email protected] and share your ideas. I want to hear from you! Working together, we will come through this difficult time with stronger minds, voices, and hearts!
Please watch for more information soon regarding how to request refunds for contest entry fees and pre-registered AEPs.

Together we are HARMONY. STRONGER.Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay

International President
[email protected]

*Click HERE to view the BHS summary of the May 5, 2020 webinar, “A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near Term Future of Singing.”  To view the entire webinar, click HERE.

April 2, 2020

Dear Harmony, Inc. Members,

As I write this message, I am saddened by the news of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the US, Canada, and the entire world.  At the same time, I am strengthened by the resolve of our members.  Chapters are connecting virtually, our members are sharing their music on social media, and others are doing whatever they can to support and encourage one another.  Although the full impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, your International Board of Directors remains optimistic that our 2020 IC&C will take place as scheduled November 4-8 in Louisville, Kentucky.

We thank you for your patience as we’ve navigated through the cancellation of our 2020 AC&Cs and the process for eligibility for our International contests.  After much discussion, your International Board of Directors has decided that the 2020 International chorus and quartet contests will be open to all Harmony, Inc. chartered choruses and registered quartets (as of April 1, 2020) with no video or other qualification required.  The last thing we would want is for our qualification requirements to encourage risky health choices.  We strongly support (and will continue to support) the guidance of medical professionals and the US and Canadian governments.

You may begin submitting your contest entry forms as soon as they are available in mid-April.  The deadline to submit your CEFs is July 31.  This is a very important deadline, as any entries submitted after July 31, but before September 1, will be placed on a waiting list and are not guaranteed a spot in the contest(s).

Click HERE to access the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page created to provide you with more information about how we are making the move from cancelled AC&Cs to an open IC&C.  Please review it carefully and contact me at [email protected] if you have additional questions.  I am happy to answer them or will forward your questions to the person who can best handle them.

As we work through the details of our IC&C, we ask for your patience and flexibility.  We know that this year’s convention will be like no other in our organization’s history, and our goal is to make this the best experience we can for our entire membership.   We will do everything we can to keep you informed as the convention takes shape so that you can plan accordingly.

To our members working on the front lines of this pandemic, we thank you for everything you are doing to keep us safe.  To our entire membership, please continue to follow government guidelines, stay at home, and practice social distancing.  We look forward to the time we can all gather again in friendship and song!

Together we are HARMONY. STRONGER.

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]  

March 16, 2020

Dear Harmony Friends,

As you all know, things are changing by the minute as North America deals with the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus.  As this situation evolves, we are doing our best to make the right decisions for our members and chapters.

Your International Board of Directors voted today to cancel all remaining AC&Cs for the 2020 contest season.  We have established a task force that is working on the qualification process for IC&C.  As we work through the plan, we will keep in mind that many chapters have temporarily suspended rehearsals, and we fully support your decision.  Although we don’t have all the details finalized yet, the task force will create a plan that will be far enough in the future that it will not be affected by rehearsal cancellations.  We urge all chapters, quartets, and members to follow their government mandates or recommendations to protect the health and well-being of all members and their families.

The leadership from Areas 1, 4 and 5 will contact their members directly regarding how they will handle AEP refunds.  Also, please wait for instructions from your Area convention teams before canceling your hotel reservations.

Lastly, we ask for your patience as we work through the qualification process and address your questions.  I promise that we’ll do our best to keep you informed every step of the way.

Together we are HARMONY. STRONGER.

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

March 13 2020

Dear Harmony, Inc. Members,

As the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus continues to escalate, your International Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the AC&Cs in Area 6 (April 17-19), Area 2 (April 23-26), and Area 3 (May 1-3).  This decision was made after much discussion and careful consideration.

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our remaining AC&Cs – Area 5 (May 22-24), Area 1 (June 4-6), and Area 4 (June 12-14) – and will notify you immediately if these AC&Cs are impacted.  Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of our Harmony members and their families.

We are working with our ICJC and the judging community to allow choruses and quartets from canceled AC&Cs to submit video recordings to receive a qualifying score for IC&C.  Detailed procedures for video qualification will be communicated soon.

Leadership in the affected Areas will contact their membership regarding how they will handle AEP refunds.  Also, please wait for instructions from your Area convention teams before canceling your hotel reservations.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

March 11, 2020

Dear Harmony, Inc. Members,

Spring is on the way, and that means it will soon be time for our Area conventions and contests.  As we plan for our AC&Cs, our highest priority is the health and safety of our members.

Your International Board of Directors is closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 coronavirus.  We are regularly reviewing the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO).  Your Area Councils are monitoring the situations in each Area and, at this time, no cancellations or changes have been made to our AC&C events.  If any changes are necessary, we will notify you right away.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me or your Area Director.

Stay informed by referring to the following reliable sources:

Take care and stay healthy, my Harmony friends!

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]