HU2015: Part 2

directing, bbs

On the flight back from Harmony U, I’m taking a moment to record some notes on the second half of my week there.

Vocal Pedagogy, cont.

I volunteered to be the student for a coaching observation in Friday’s class; as always, I need to work on alignment. Don’t we all.

All told, it was an awfully short class. I greatly appreciate the more relaxed schedule, but some classes — this one included — really require more time than five one-hour sessions allow. The two things that more time would have permitted are

  1. More coaching observation and hands-on work.
  2. More explanation to match each vocal inefficiency to diagnostic criteria and several specific possible solutions.

Arrange to Perform (Clay Hine)

A good but short evening class on arranging. The main premise is that to have an effective arrangement, it’s best to start from having a vision for the performance of the arrangement — moods, characters, imagery, major story events, etc. This resonated with me, since upon consideration I realized that the charts I feel are my best have all been charts for which I had such a picture in my head while writing them. This might be helpful for my next few charts.


On Thursday, Belmont had a crew varnishing the floor of a basketball court in the upstairs area of Beaman Hall. Bad timing for us; the whole building stank of fumes for the rest of the week, giving us headaches. The results should be good, though; on Saturday I spent some time in the group exercise room next door, whose floor had also been resurfaced, and it was beautifully done (as, in general, are most of the campus facilities).

Thursday night the Society booked a couple of hours with the university gym’s rock wall. It was a fun event; while most of the barbershoppers watched from behind the glass, those of us inside helped each other, giving advice on routes and so on.

Friday night I missed half the show, unfortunately; I entered in time to see most of Aged To Perfection’s rendition of Weird Al’s One More Minute, which was thoroughly enjoyable and silly. Instant Classic did a set at the end of the show, which included some of their contest songs and a parody of Heart called Ya Gotta Change Parts. They referenced a new game at this year’s HU, in which a group of singers toss four differently colored balls around — one ball per part — and each part is sung by whichever singer holds that part’s ball. Cute.

On Saturday, we had an “a cappella festival” that, honestly, was a bit of a letdown. It was a little too complicated: there were some five or six sites to which the BHS bused various groups, and three ad hoc choruses that rehearsed briefly before singing at those sites; most folks weren’t sure which buses the chorus singers should be riding, once we were past the first stop. I bet that with a focus on one or two locations, the idea can be more successful next year.

I also learned that the cantina across the street from Belmont — Chago’s, which appears to have become the faculty’s favorite hangout after hours — makes some delicious chorizo tacos. Mm.

Saturday night’s show was great; it featured The Buzz and Musical Island Boys, in addition to the choruses (VoCal and Ladies First from Dortmund, Germany) who were coached this week. I hadn’t seen The Buzz before; they’re technically virtuosic but also a lot of fun.

The week ended — for me and many others — with the usual all-night tag-singing party on Saturday night. This time I felt it worked out well for me, for two reasons: I slept a bit on Saturday afternoon before the Saturday night show, and I had a good meal around 11pm Saturday night. Good to remember for next year.