Standing Ovation Program- Allen Otto

When the Society Board directed the Music and Performance Committee in the mid-1980’s to design a program to assist quartets and choruses in the evaluation of their public performances, it was asked “What would a perfect world represent?” It was felt that in such a world, all barbershop public performances would be, or nearly be, professional in their quality and their impact. What was also recognized was that perfection is a lofty goal, probably not within reach of many. On the other hand, the higher the goal, the greater the chance of achieving that special performance that thrills an audience and represents our Society in the best light. In other words, a performance that has a reasonable chance of earning a Standing Ovation.

Is this a perfect world? No, we have our performance problems and have traditionally not addressed them with any program for improvement. The Standing Ovation Program is designed to fill this void. It is a means to offer quartets and choruses the opportunity to be evaluated in their public performance presentation and to offer input to them in areas where improvement might be appropriate. It also is designed to provide a list of resources that can provide direct and positive assistance to performing ensembles. The ideal venue for a review would be a chapter show or performance. Attention will include but will not be limited to the following:

  • Music selection, including representation of the barbershop style
  • Quality of singing, musicality and presentation
  • Sequence of songs for entertaining flow
  • Non-singing comments (Master of Ceremonies, scripted act, etc.)
  • Entrance and exit deportment
  • Costuming and grooming
  • Overall entertainment value including technical matters (lighting, sound, microphones, etc.)
  • Comfort and convenience of the audience including all aspects of the venue (parking, handicap accessibility, venue seating, venue ambiance and temperature, etc.)

Within each district, a group of individuals have been trained in the performance evaluation process. In the SWD, there many individuals and all are experienced barbershoppers and performers. You may recognize some of the SWD reviewers. They are:

Assignment to a particular review is generally by geographic proximity and availability.

Please understand, your participation is 100 percent voluntary. There are no reports to the Society or any of its committees. Let me repeat, there are NO reports to anyone, anywhere. The review and assessment is strictly between the quartets or chorus being evaluated and the person who does the evaluation.

Why should we participate?   OR......... BETTER YET........... What’s in it for me?

  1. Evaluation of your current performing status
  2. Determination of both strengths and areas that would allow improvement
  3. Identification of resources to use to capture opportunities for improvement
  4. Public performances are great recruiting tools
  5. Public performances are great fund-raisers
  6. Public performances are great community service activities

Who can benefit from participation in the Standing Ovation Program?

  1. Any chapter chorus or quartet that does public performances (shows) can benefit
  2. If you are not currently doing performances (shows) for the public then you really can benefit

How much does this review cost the chapter?

There are no costs to the chapter associated with this review. The Southwestern District is covering the expenses of the assigned reviewer. The chapter is asked to provide two prime seats to the show for the reviewer and his significant other.

How do I participate? What do I need to do?

  1. Contact the Standing Ovation Program Coordinator, Allen Otto ( schedule a review of your show with your chorus and those quartets that also want help.
  2. Quartets and choruses will receive a “live” presentation by your reviewer wherever possible as well as a written evaluation, including resources, intended to be used to capture opportunities that are identified.
  3. I repeat, there is NO report to the district or the Society on the level of skills shown by the groups that are evaluated. This is an improvement model to be used by the chapter chorus and quartets.
  4. Standing Ovation Program evaluators will notify the district VPs for Music and Performance only that an evaluation was completed.

AND…………most importantly, as stated previously, the only cost to the chapter are two prime seat tickets to the show for the reviewer and his significant other. Now, is that a deal or what?

What resources exist to fix problems or improve on identified opportunities?

Your Standing Ovation Program evaluator will have a list of faculty members, both from within the district and throughout the Society, who have demonstrated skill in improving musical performances. That list will be made available to you and you will be able to call those people to arrange instruction, coaching or other types of musical assistance.

It is the hope of the Southwestern District Board of Directors, the SWD Music and Performance Committee and myself, that all quartets and choruses will see and seek the benefit of having their public performances evaluated. Standing ovations are our goal and this program can help you achieve them. Please call me to schedule your review. When you register your show with the District Secretary, please copy me in on your message to him.

Thanks for listening and I look forward to hearing from every chapter in our great district.

Katy Dane
SWD Music & Performance Director