About Harmony Brigade
So what exactly is a Harmony Brigade rally? It's a weekend of mix-and-match quartetting like nothing you've ever experienced. It's also an opportunity to meet and form quartets - and any quartet that forms from a Brigade weekend will immediately have a 12-song repertoire ready to go!
There are now nine Brigades around the country and two in Europe. Rallys are held in different months starting with North Carolina in January and ending with the New England Harmony Brigade in September. All Brigades agree to have 8 songs in common each year, so to attend a second Brigade in the same year you would only have to learn four additional songs.
Another benefit is that learning a bunch of Brigade songs will allow you to go to a District or to the International convention and find guys to join you in singing actual songs in addition to just tags. If you attend a Brigade for just three years running, you'll have 36 great new songs in common with hundreds of other Barbershoppers from all around the country, and they will be exactly the same arrangements. It greatly increases the chances that you'll be able to enjoy some quality quartetting no matter where you go!
Here is the definition directly from the Operations Manual of the Association of eXtreme Quartetting Harmony Brigades Inc.:
A Harmony Brigade rally is an invitational weekend for barbershoppers with significant quartet experience who are vocally capable, committed to learning challenging arrangements, and who are prepared to enjoy success in rally activities. The charts are of championship caliber, somewhat challenging, and might be beyond the ability of less experienced men. It is not a chorus-oriented event, although a chorus performance of the repertoire songs is always part of the Saturday night public show.
About four months before a Brigade rally, registered participants receive music and a part-predominant learning CD for the songs to be used in the rally. A "fun" Friday night contest is held where quartets are formed by random draw at the rally. However the majority of the weekend is spent singing around in as many mix-and-match quartets as you can."
Each Harmony Brigade organization makes sure its attendees have opportunities to practice singing the songs before the Rally weekend. To that end, "run-throughs" are held in which members get to rehearse the songs live with the other men who live in their area. There are usually three or four of those, at a minimum, before the actual Rally weekend.
The actual Rally weekend is filled with quartetting and every man is encouraged to sing at least one song with every other attendee from the other three parts. The Saturday evening show for the public showcases step-out quartets from the rally (audition on Saturday morning, sing Saturday night!), our headliner quartet, and the full brigade singing as a chorus.
Each first-time brigade attendee is also sponsored by one or more people who help him learn his music and help guide him through his first brigade weekend. After attending the rally two years in a row, an attendee may submit two recordings which constitute his application for membership. Members are given an automatic invitation to each rally weekend and can sponsor guests and participate in the planning for the Brigade.
"It's an unforgettable weekend with good music, great friends, and lifelong memories!"