A H S O W Mission and Purpose and Vision

Click here for the official AHSOW Purpose, Vision, and Mission Statements.

Click here for the full realization Plan for the Vision

Background for the Mission.

AHSOW seeks to preserve the art of pure woodshedding in harmony through four men blending their voices without interference from uninvited "fifth wheels" or reference to written arrangements. Identifiable by their personalized and distinctive yellow badges, AHSOW members are expected to encourage other Barbershoppers to harmonize with them "by ear" at any time. This helps more and more Barbershoppers experience the joys of woodshedding.

The specialized "vehicle" through which Barbershoppers can gain MORE benefits SOONER is the Ancient Harmonious Society of Woodshedders, Inc. (AHSOW). AHSOW was founded in 1977. Its main goal at that time was to enhance the private enjoyment of old-time ear-singers who remembered that our Society began as a woodshedding organization. AHSOW has since formally expanded its goals. Mindful of the Society Board's stated aims of improving member involvement, musical growth, and membership retention, AHSOW officially offered itself as an ally to SPEBSQSA's District Presidents at the 1996 Jacksonville Mid-Winter Convention. The District Presidents unanimously resolved to support AHSOW and its goals.

In the Spring of 2002, AHSOW adopted the following Mission Statement:

"The mission of the Ancient Harmonious Society of Woodshedders is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate by every means possible the pleasure and growth arising from the act of creating harmonies by ear in quartets to Barbershop-compatible melodies without reference to written or familiar musical arrangements."

AHSOW continues to strengthen its Woodshedding Education programs in all the Districts, and to establish programs in underrepresented areas. The growing support of wise chapter leaders everywhere is playing a positive role in AHSOW's efforts to make Barbershopping more fun and valuable for everybody.

With all the demands on your chorus and registered quartet (contests, shows, making money, etc.), what possible good can come to your chapter from instituting a regular program of properly undertaken woodshedding? Here are just a few examples of how any Barbershopper can benefit, keep involved, and have his full talents recognized:

  • CHORUS DIRECTORS can identify "guys with an ear" -- men with a heightened awareness of balance and tuning.

  • CHORUS DIRECTORS will have greater flexibility when switching a man from one section of the chorus to another. The conscientious, regular woodshedder, with his enhanced knowledge of what his new voice-part requires, is more likely to "hit the ground running" and be better sooner in his new role.

  • CHORUS DIRECTORS and CHAPTER OFFICERS may trust that conscientious, regular woodshedders will be those chapter members who have higher general interest in what Barbershopping has to offer.

  • CHORUS DIRECTORS and CHAPTER OFFICERS can readily identify a fired-up "mover and shaker" in the chapter -- a promoter of an activity.

  • QUARTET PERFORMERS can switch voice-parts with more ease and become comfortable in their new voice-part sooner.

  • NEWER BARBERSHOPPERS will have the chance to "make musical mistakes" without formal correction or censure.

  • NEWER BARBERSHOPPERS who are exposed to authentic woodshedding may become more motivated to form or join a quartet sooner than otherwise.

  • NEWER BARBERSHOPPERS will believe that "woodshedding is something I can learn and do." This early confidence will carry over into other learning, other singing, and other areas of general involvement. Since woodshedding is properly done at softer volumes, WEAKER OR UNTRAINED SINGERS can participate as readily as men who are more vocally robust.

  • ALL SINGERS get the regular chance to sing and hear melodies and lyrics beyond the average repertoire.

  • ALL SINGERS get the regular chance to sing other voice-parts, and to hear how they work.

  • ALL SINGERS not only get to sing their own voice-part, but they also get to hear how their part works.

  • ALL SINGERS gain the fulfillment of having created "an arrangement of their own" -- totally by ear.

  • ALL SINGERS gain exposure to forming harmony "by instinct" vs. "singing it off paper." Using their harmonic intuition will help them grow through experimentation.

  • ALL SINGERS get the opportunity to ring chords, and to work on chords until they do ring. Members who understand that "ringing chords" prefaces "the singing of songs" may rehearse themselves more diligently for public performances.

  • ALL CHAPTER MEMBERS will come to identify melodies that "Barbershop" well vs. melodies that are less compatible.

  • ALL SINGERS will possess the capability to harmonize with a wider circle of men at Barbershop conventions without limitation to "Polecat" repertoire or recorded quartet-champ arrangements.

  • ALL MEMBERS, within the AHSOW environment, will have the chance to sing with (and learn from) some genuine Society experts who grew up woodshedding -- and who know dozens of beautiful, highly appealing melodies.

  • ALL SINGERS will experience the eye-opening, magical thrill of landing on alternate chord-harmonies that work equally as well as those harmonies normally implied or "expected."

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