The Far Western District Fall Board Meeting and Convention in brief….
Bakersfield, California October 4-5, 2002
Another one’s in the books – and a great one it was, as usual, thanks to the excellent work of Convention Chairman Dave Prigge, assisted by the San Luis Obispo Chapter, Chris Wilson, Sam Barger, and the FWD Events Team.
As usual, also, Barbershoppers and their guests had the pleasure of seeing the best of the best in competition – 22 quartets and 18 choruses – all winners. One chorus - Westminster - suffered a heart-breaking disqualification. Look for details elsewhere in this issue. Congratulations to the 1st place Chorus San Jose Garden City Chorus, and to the 1st place Quartet, Sam’s Club!
The convention dedicatee was Sam Aramian. What a wealth of experiences and accomplishments this legendary leader possesses! Hearty congrats to Sam, and his lovely wife, Virginia.
Another legend was fittingly honored many times during the weekend by his many friends: Owen Edwards - “Mr. Westunes” who passed away recently. Owen will certainly be missed, and will long be remembered for his humor, his story-telling ability, and his absolute dedication and willingness to help – in the Chapter, District and Society.
The District Board of Directors met in a planning session prior to the scheduled meeting to review District goals. Look for publication of those goals and a new 5-year plan in coming months.
The Board, in its regular session, ratified the appointment of Sam Barger as Events Vice President, effective immediately, to replace Chris Wilson, who had to step aside because of work commitments
Chorus Director Development – Jim Turnmire:
Chapter Support and Leadership Training – V.P. Bernard Priceman:
Contest and Judging – V.P. Tom Raffety:
*subject to acceptance by the International Board at Midwinter.
Events – V.P. Sam Barger:
Membership – V.P. Peter Feeney:
Marketing and Public Relations – V.P. Clark Abrahamson:
Music and Performance – V.P. Jim Crowley:
Young Men in Harmony – V.P. Ed Bajarana:
· Keynote remarks - Dr. Bob House, Society Board Member :
1. Reminded the HOD of the Society Vision Statement: "The Society is to be an ever-growing fraternity of barbershop-style singers, leading the cause of encouraging vocal music in our schools and communities."
2. Reported that Membership is still declining: at 31,542 - down 8% from last year.
3. Reported that few chapters reported participation in United We Sing, but that those who did participate reported success.
4. 50 chapters are in receipt of grants, and that 14 Districts have a Grants Chairman.
5. 2003 Midwinter (Albuquerque) and International (Montreal) are both shaping up for great success.
· District President– John Krisek:
1. Reported progress on a Multi-Cultural Task Force, including guidelines for performances, sensitivity issues, etc.
2. Reported that the District is healthy:
a. Musically – we have an International Gold Medal Chorus and International Medalist quartets.
b. Membership – we’re holding our own, but need renewed emphasis on recruiting and retention.
c. Planning – we have set definite goals, with a focus on FUN and SINGING.
3. Presented the new Brea Chapter with their license and charter.
· Treasurer, Jim Sherman:
1. The District is currently solvent.
2. The 2003 budget projects a small deficit.
3. Emphasis on increased event attendance will help to boost revenue.
· VP Membership Services, Peter Feeney:
1. Man of Note – Jerry Orloff
2. Society 3rd place – Jerry Orloff
3. Top Ten Chapters in Membership increases: Riverside, Westminster, San Francisco, Santa Fe Springs, San Diego, Truckee/Tahoe, Napa Valley, St. George, Sutter Creek, Orange.
· Pasadena was chosen as the Fall Convention site for 2005.
· FWD traveling exhibit: A great new exhibit has been built by FWD Historian Don Shively, featuring old photos, old WESTUNES issues, etc.
· District Governance change: The HOD voted to adopt the change to the District Bylaws effective in 2004, which provides for:
Chapter Support and Leadership Training, Chorus Director Development, Contest and Judging, Events, Marketing and Public Relations, Member Services, Music and Performance, Young Men in Harmony, and other such other committees and task forces as may be required to carry on the business of the District.
· District Officers elected. The following slate of 2003 officers were elected and installed by Society Board Member Dr. Bob House:
By FWD President JOHN KRIZEK
October 8, 2002
An unusual and unfortunate thing happened at the Bakersfield convention. For those who weren’t there or haven’t heard, the Westminster Harmony Showcase Chorus—consisting of 18 young men with an average age of about 20—was announced as the winner of the chorus contest, and then later determined to be ineligible due to a membership rule infraction.
Here is the background: Two young men who participated in one of our first high school quartet contests about 11 years ago went on to become active barbershoppers. Some time later they approached me with the idea of forming a young men’s chorus, as a means of involving more of their peers in singing barbershop. As the District Youth Outreach chairman at the time, I was, of course, encouraging, but how to make it happen? We had no answers, and the dream remained on the shelf.
Earlier this year, these young men approached the Westminster Chapter, which enthusiastically agreed to make its facilities available. Some younger members of the Masters of Harmony became dual members in order to participate. They rounded up some high school friends. With 16 members and about three rehearsals under their belt, they competed at the divisional level and qualified for the fall contest in Bakersfield.
New members can join and sing in contest any time up to a contest, and Westminster had some who did. But existing members cannot join another chorus once the competition cycle has begun, with few exceptions. This rule came about years ago to prevent “stacking” a district chorus with members of other choruses who were defeated along the way.
The rule states: “To be eligible to compete with a given chapter as a transfer or dual (including reinstated) member, a member must have established his transfer or dual membership status in the chapter prior to the commencement of the competition cycle in the district. This eligibility requirement will not apply to a member who, after the commencement of the competition cycle, changes his place of residence and solely as a consequence of such change, transfers his membership to the chapter with whose chorus he thereafter competes. A membership transfer or dual membership will be established upon receipt, at the Society office, of the necessary request for transfer or dual membership, and of all necessary approvals thereof.”
In the FWD, that competition cycle starts in March. Exceptions may be allowed, i.e.: “Regarding those contests in the process of selecting the district’s representative to the international chorus contest, request for such ruling (waiver) must be submitted to the district vice president for contest and judging at least 30 days in advance of the contest date.”
The problem was that a member of the San Jose chapter, who goes to college in Southern California, sang with Westminster (as well as San Jose in this contest), but didn’t file the dual member paperwork until days before the contest.
It is the duty of the contest administrator to ascertain the eligibility of all competitors who cross the stage, which sometimes means checking the rosters on file. With no evidence of eligibility, via roster listing or written waiver, the CA is obligated to render the contestant as ineligible and omit their score and any indication of ineligibility from the published score sheet.
As Society C&J chairman Lou Benedict stated in explaining the ineligibility, “…there was no deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules. It was an inadvertent error.” But it was clearly a violation of the rules. He held out the option of an appeal by the Westminster chapter, which I understand, at this writing, is in the works.
Our hearts went out to the disappointed young men of Westminster on Saturday night. At the same time, we applauded the effort of San Jose—one of the oldest chapters in the district, chartered in 1947—which had never before qualified for the international chorus finals. Their effort, and their success, certainly deserved our applause.
While we may not yet know the outcome of this discussion, two things I can say for certain:
1. I have absolute faith in our system and our people, to do what’s right;
2. What those young men gave us on Saturday was a gift that transcended any contest results. They gave us not only brilliant music—they gave us hope.