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Following a very successful Harmony Jamboree in Toronto in 2013, the Executive body of the World Harmony Council agreed to determine where barbershop is being sung. We knew about the countries covered by our 14 member organisations, but we also knew that there are hundreds of barbershoppers elsewhere.  With a focused mission to find, encourage, and support these singers, your WHC Exec set up a program, with the traditional barbershop acronym, SING B, as above.

Under the chairmanship of 2nd Vice-President Alan Goldsmith from BABS, the working group involving Rena Klocke from BinG!, Alison Harbord from LABBS, Henrik Rosenberg from SNOBS, and WHC President Mike Donnelly, undertook the mission.

To say that we were amazed by the findings would be an understatement, as we uncovered outposts of barbershop singing in every continent, with singers in places as far-flung as Argentina, Sri Lanka, Estonia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and France. Alison has compiled a spreadsheet with a startling total of 37 groups. Each one has been assigned a mentor from the WHC Exec, with Ian Mulholland of Australia mentoring Fiji and Sri Lanka.

For a number of years the income from the annual World Harmony Jamboree had been used to support existing members, usually in the sum of $1000 per organisation.  However, an opportunity arose following the 2013 Harmony Jamboree in Toronto, which raised an incredible surplus of over $26,000. In April 2014 WHC President Mike Donnelly circulated a proposal to utilise some of these funds in order to promote barbershop singing in new areas; in brief it stated that the new grants should:

  1. support projects that develop barbershop in new areas, or support relatively new organisations;
  2. be used for new projects, not to underpin existing projects;
  3. be for “one-off” projects, not long term programmes;
  4. be either educational in nature or designed to encourage new barbershop singers;

As a result the WHC meeting in Las Vegas in 2014 was able to award grants to the Finnish association (FABS) to help develop barbershop singing in Estonia, and to the Spanish association (SABS) for a similar proposal in the region of Catalonia. We are now actively pursuing new groups needing financial support.

Most recently the WHC awarded SING B grants of:

  •   $1450.00 to David Dauby (FRABS) to attend Harmony U;
  •  $4600.00 to ‘Redfeet’ Quartet (Brazil) to attend Harmony U;
  •  $934.65 to a FRABS quartet to attend BABS’ Harmony College;
  •  $400.00 for Gary Plaag to coach BAFFI (Italy).

If you know of a quartet or chorus, or even an individual wanting to make barbershopping truly international, please contact anyone on the WHC Exec.

In Harmony,

Mike Donnelly
WHC President