What is the Standing Ovation Program? It is a non publicized evaluation between only the chapter and the Standing Ovation Reviewer. It is an evaluation of a performance for both choruses and quartets. It will recognize strengths in the performance. It will provide suggestions and recommendations to enhance the next performance. It will address not only the music side of the performance but will examine the venue and the technical aspect of the show.
When barbershoppers perform they: Sing Dance and Speak. That’s called “Entertainment” That’s called “Show Business”.
The Reviewer - is like a “coach” as he gives: Direction Resources Friendship Suggestions Recommendations Encouragement
The Reviewer Should have background knowledge in the BHS style. Should be experienced at a high level of singing and performing. Should have experience and knowledge in the workings of theatre and show production. They are NOT to consider themselves judges but modern day Siskel & Eberts (two thumbs up).
The Review Covers Facilities Song Selection Quality of Singing Song Sequence Entrances and Exits Non-Singing Commentary Costume & Grooming Overall Entertainment Value General Comments
Facilities Parking; lighting; distance to entrance Handicapped access Lobby / Foyer Auditorium Lighting Sound Temperature Seating comfort Sightlines Washrooms
Facilities – What to look for: Is the parking close by? Is it well lit? Is it ample for the number in attendance? Does the facility provide for the handicapped both inside and outside? Has the lobby/foyer been decorated to promote the theme of the show? Are there BHS/Chapter promotional materials available to the public such as chapter brochures or the sale of CDs?
Facilities – What to look for: Has the stage/auditorium been decorated? Were props utilized as part of the performance? Was the lighting set properly so that all on the risers can be seen or when the quartet acknowledges the audience? Was the sound system properly set? Was there any feedback? Could the Emcee be heard?
Facilities – What to look for: Was the temperature in the theatre/auditorium/church set properly? Were the seats comfortable? Were ushers trained to know seat locations? Were sightlines to the stage/risers clear for all patrons? Are washrooms nearby and well marked? Do they meet the needs of the size of audience?
Song Selection – Did it contain: Traditional barbershop Broad barbershop umbrella Novelty Show tunes Comedy Inspirational / religious Contemporary
The order of songs will dictate the flow of the performance Opener: a familiar song, short up-tune with a “hello” feeling or a song related to the show theme; should contain a strong visual package. Another up-tune in a different key. No introduction – go right into it. An easy-beat song or swing number. A familiar ballad. A novelty song (comedy, solo, dance number, patriotic, religious). A medley or easy-beat tune (or a strong inspirational number) with a possible key change, a visual package, a big tag).
Important Note – there are four times throughout a performance to “grab the audience’s attention” The Opener The Closing of the First Half The Opening of the Second Half The Finale
Song Selection – What to look for: Was there a variety of songs from the various song categories? Did the performers include visual packages in the performance? Did they do the songs in “packages”? Did the guests follow the theme of the show?
Quality of Singing Singing Musicality Presentation Words Notes Intonation Energy Discipline
Quality of Singing – What to address: Tune-ups; breathing; vowel matching. Were songs started with confidence? Did they know the words and notes? Were the songs performed at the same level of volume or did they include dynamics in the performance? Did voices stick out? Did a visual package interfere with the quality of singing?
NOTE A reviewer should take into consideration the level of chorus or quartet they are reviewing. Not every chorus or quartet performs at a level of an International competitor. When addressing the strengths and weaknesses within the performance, keep this in mind. Know the character makeup of the chorus or quartet before attending the performance. Have they competed lately and if so, at what level? If not, investigate the history of the chapter and their average age.
Song Sequence Opener – Was it strong with a visual package? Flow – Were packages of songs used? Interest – Did they follow the show theme? Closer – Did they save the “best for last”?
Entrances & Exits Plan – Was a curtain used? Was it timely? Did the MC speak while the chorus entered or exited? Discipline – Was it done quietly or could you hear talking behind the curtain? Did they use side curtain entrances and exits for the quartets when the chorus was forming on the risers?
Non-Singing Commentary Amount Timing Quality Material Entertainment Value
Non-Singing Commentary – What to watch for: Did they use an Emcee or did members of the chapter act as Emcee? If it was the latter, were those who spoke properly placed on the risers? Did they use cordless microphones? How often did the Emcee speak and was he timely in getting to the podium? Did he use a script and was it directly related to the theme of the show or the songs being sung?
Non-Singing Commentary – What to watch for: Did the Emcee “entertain” or did he or she just read a prepared script? Did any quartets have too much non- singing commentary, especially guest quartets? Was the subject matter of any jokes within the society guidelines of acceptability?
Costume & Grooming Appropriate – Theme related and were changes involved? Fit – Did they? Stage worthy – Was it? Grooming – Was makeup used and evident due to its application?
Guest Performers Did they add to the overall show? When they performed, did they overstay their welcome? Did a quartet sing or just want to tell jokes? Did the show focus on any “youth” within its presentation? Did it come from another area of artistry? Did they talk amongst themselves while performing or did they talk to the patrons?
Programs Did it include information on the society, the chapter, the chorus, the director and the guest quartets? Did it include the list of songs being performed? (Not recommended). It should just identify the order of appearance. Did it recognize corporate supporters as well as advertisers?
Overall Entertainment Value Relationship with the Audience – Did the chorus or quartet include the audience as part of the performance? Enjoyment of the Performance – Did the audience show their pleasure during the performance or did they “sit on their hands”? Comedy – Did the chorus or quartet and the Emcee add some comedy in their performance?
General Comments Compliment promotional aspects seen. Encourage the use of the show to promote new membership. Play the role of the “politician”; be constructive through suggestions and recommendations; don’t just criticize. Footnote: Let the patrons sitting beside you know what you are doing; don’t be afraid to ask them to provide input for your review.
General Comments Promote the use of coaching through district and society programs to improve performances. Promote the use of the Standing Ovation Program with local chapters of the SAI and HI to solicit new reviewers from this area of barbershop.
Tools of the trade Clipboard Small penlight flashlight Pens Review sheets for each performer Blank sheets for notes (Write only on the front page; do not write on the back of the page.)
The Review I recommend the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) method of doing the report. Cover it in point form to prevent it from being long winded. Highlight the songs performed; their strengths and weaknesses in point form but give an overall rating of the singing as this is what its all about. Remember, we are NOT to act as “judges” but are to focus on “the overall performance”. Do NOT just criticize a performance but make use of the words “suggest” or “recommend” when doing the review.
“If Possible, Go The Extra Mile” The biggest complaint heard from chapters is “Why can’t the reviewer attend a rehearsal prior to the performance to address problems ahead of time?” If the reviewer lives within a reasonable distance from the chapter, have them offer to attend a complete chapter run through of the show prior to the show night. While this would take place in the chapter normal meeting facility, it would address the order of music, flow, how it is being performed. Only the technical aspect of the show, would be left to the chapter to address in the theatre, auditorium or church.
Duties of the SOP Chairman Ensure that the district has reviewers in all regions within the district. Run a certification class at least every two years. Maintain a record of how many reviewers were performed for choruses and quartets. Be proactive in the district. Get the word out to chapters and quartets on the SO Program through bulletins, conventions, COTS, HEP schools. Best method for success is direct phone contact when a chapter requests a show clearance date. Send any testimonials to the Chuck Alexander, Society Vice Chair – SOP at email@example.com@rogers.com
Duties of the Reviewer Once assigned to a chapter show, contact the chapter and find out how many shows are being performed. I recommend that the reviewer attends the first performance so that any technical problems are addressed before the next performance. Find out who the guest performers are then contact them for possible reviews. Even if a quartet does three or four songs, the reviewer can still do a “Mini Review” on their performance. Report to the District SOP Chair how many reviews were completed at each show they attend.
Concluding this session Make use of your contacts with SAI and HI. Include them in your certification classes. Offer to do reviews for them in return for their service as a SOP Reviewer. The success of the Standing Ovation Program is dependant upon active District Members who offer their services as DVP M&P, SOP Chairmen, District SOP Trainers, District SOP Reviewers. On behalf of the Society Music & Performance Committee, thank you for taking the time to attend this training session.