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Magic Choral Trick #202 When You’re Not There, You’re Missed

My women’s Barbershop chorus just got back from competing at Harmony Inc’s annual international competition where we were expecting to place in the top ten. We placed 11th out of a field of 24 choruses, which (after we’d heard and seen the amazing development of all the choruses) we felt was actually pretty respectable.

But we did notice a difference in our scores from our regional competition, to this one. There was an improvement in other aspects of our performance, but our singing scores dropped. At first, this was a mystery to me because I know that individually, all of these women are now singing better than they were in June.

Then I did the math.

Due to work commitments, and the expense of travelling to Florida, we were missing 10 of the women who were onstage with us at the regional competition – which is about 22% of the chorus.

I am almost certain that if I were to ask each of these 10 women individually if they thought that they made a huge difference to the sound, they’d all say ‘no’. And they’d be surprised that I’d even ask them the question.

But I have no doubt that if they’d been there, we’d have maintained (or improved) our June singing score, and we’d have been in the top ten.

It’s interesting to be able to quantify being missed with numbers and competition ranking, but having members not there also has a noticeable effect on the group dynamic – the way we rehearse, the way we interact socially, and of course, the way we sing together.

Each singer makes a huge difference. And when choir members begin to understand this, every singer takes more responsibility for creating the best rehearsals, the best performances, and the best choral experience possible.

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