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
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
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
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
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
ALL SINGERS get the regular chance to sing and hear melodies and
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
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.
it off paper." Using their harmonic intuition will help them grow
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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