|BABS Open Contest|
Statement from the LABBS Board:
The LABBS Board was not involved in the decision made by the BABS Board to hold open contests at the BABS convention in May 2024. The LABBS Board was informed of the decision before it was announced but was not consulted. The LABBS Board wrote a formal letter to the BABS Board explaining that while the LABBS Board has no fixed objection to open contests in principle, there are a number of concerns about doing this at this time without prior consultation. The BABS Board decided to continue with the plan.
The LABBS Board wishes to make clear that it would not make fundamental changes to established LABBS contests or events without prior consultation with LABBS members.
FAO All LABBS & BABS Members
We are writing to you today with a progress update on the ongoing communications between the Boards of BABS and LABBS.
As some fo you may be aware, the Boards were due to have a joint meeting this weekend to further discuss matters pertaining to the creation of one combined organisation in more detail. We have postponed the meeting because LABBS has now received independent advice about the proposal and BABS is in the process of obtaining such advice. It semed sensible to come to the next meeting with both sets of advice in place, and to give time for each board to consider the advice they had received.
As you see, both boards are fully committed to these conversations continuing in a well informed and productive manner.
There will be an opportunity for members to hear a further update in September, be that at the BABS Autumn Members' Meeting (22nd) and the LABBS Chairs' Forum (30th).
If anyone has any questions or queries, please do feel free to get in touch with us via the usual channels.
Sue Ranson, Chair of LABBS
Laurence Hasson, Chair of BABS
Convention 2023 - schedule update
Friday 27th October - Quartet semi-finals
To enable LABBS to fully integrate the mixed quartet semi-finalists into the quartet competition, please note the following timings:
9.45am - Welcome speech
10.00am - Quartet semi-finals
At the LABBS Council meeting of 25th March 2023, the Board read the following statement:
• Following our joint statement in 2022, the two Boards met for the second time on 29th January 2023.
• The meeting was open, honest, and constructive.
• Since the last meeting, working groups have collaborated on various topics, including future arrangements for mixed singing, education and judging, among others.
• Both Boards are fully committed to ensuring that the BABS 50th Anniversary in 2024 and the LABBS 50th Anniversary in 2026 will be celebrated appropriately.
• There was a thorough discussion about what might be an appropriate pathway towards any future arrangements. The Boards confirmed their commitment that any proposed changes would be put to members for consultation and ultimately voting upon.
• The Boards considered a draft outline for a new governance structure to be set up as a next step. This would retain the existing organisations whilst also providing a new vehicle for shared activity and closer collaboration.
• Each Board is therefore asking members to approve the plan that the Boards obtain suitable professional advice to inform a future proposal, whilst continuing to collaborate wherever possible for the benefit of our respective members.
In respect of the final point, LABBS Council representatives subsequently agreed that LABBS may spend up to £1,000 obtaining suitable professional advice.
Barbershop in Harmony, known as BinH, is a collaboration between BABS, LABBS and SA R31. It has been instrumental in promoting and supporting the BinH mixed quartet competition. The three organisations in BinH have worked together to ensure that the mixed quartets now have a stable calendar, parity of esteem and a pathway to international competition.
Following the recent announcement about the mixed quartet competition for 2023, BinH will no longer have this focus for its work. However, the three organisations will continue to meet under the BinH banner to share news and updates and to work together on any future collaborations that may give opportunities to our members.
For the past five years Nancy Philbin, a past chair of LABBS, has been on the BinH team, and for the last two of these she has been our co-ordinator and organiser. She has now decided to step down and we would like to acknowledge her sterling work encouraging collaboration between our organisations and her help with the mixed quartet competition. She has steered us calmly and efficiently and we all thank her and wish her well in whatever challenge she takes on next.
Alan Hughes (BABS Chair)
Natalie Feddon (LABBS Chair)
Jeanette Yuile (SA Region 31 Team Co-ordinator)
On Sunday 29th January 2023, the Boards of BABS and LABBS met to discuss the possibility of creating one combined organisation in more detail. We look forward to reporting more on these discussions at our respective Council Meetings in March (Sunday 12th March for BABS, Saturday 25th March for LABBS).
One important discussion item was our provision of contests for mixed voice ensembles, and we are delighted to be able to give you more information in this linked PDF regarding the mixed quartet contest for 2023, which has also been agreed by our friends in SAI R31. This will now be known as 'The LABBS Mixed Quartet Contest in collaboration with BABS and SAI Region 31'. Likewise, the mixed chorus contest will now be known as 'The BABS Mixed Chorus Contest in collaboration with LABBS and SAI Region 31'.
The changes detailed in this document align the mixed quartet contest with the LABBS single-gender quartet contest in a more inclusive way, and also provide a clear pathway for British mixed quartets to qualify for the BHS International Quartet Contest in July 2024.
We look forward to providing our members with more updates in due course.
Alan Hughes & Natalie Feddon
It has been suggested that BABS and LABBS consider the possibility of merging into one organisation. The boards of the two Associations have recently met to explore and consider this possibility and are informing their respective members about this preliminary move now as a matter of transparency and integrity.
Both Associations remain committed to the successful continuation of gender-specific singing as well as to the development of more mixed singing opportunities. No final decisions or concrete plans have been made and both boards are committed to consulting with their members about this in due course.
The two boards will, for the foreseeable future, continue to work together as we have always done within the current structures. Any proposed future changes in these will be subject to stringent examination, including by professional advisors, and will be subject to the decisions of the respective memberships. Meanwhile, the two boards are working together to understand the opportunities and concerns which may arise from any changes in the current situation.
It is appreciated that members will have many questions about this, and a Q&A document is attached.
Alan Hughes Natalie Feddon
Chair, BABS Chair, LABBS
8th June 2022
We are delighted to announce that the new LABBS website is NOW LIVE!
This move can take a little while to filter through the world's internet highways, which is normal, but it should be fully available from Friday, November 19th.
This first implementation of our new site is just the start of an exciting programme of enhancements planned for the near future. For example, a NEW MEMBERS AREA will go live VERY SOON, giving members improved access to LABBS information.
The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) becomes the first all-women international organisation to enter an alliance agreement with the US-based Barbershop Harmony Society.
Building on histories stretching back to 1938 for BHS, and to 1976 for LABBS, the historic alignment will provide greater access to education resources for all, judge training, and access to the Society’s International Contest stage for LABBS quartets and choruses.
"The resources BHS offers makes sense for our singers," said Nancy Philbin, Chair of LABBS. "The pandemic has given us the breathing space to really work on our strategic plan, and taking this step helps us become greater contributors to all aspects of the barbershop world."
Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, placed the agreement in the context of the Society’s strategic vision. "We have so many shared goals as barbershop organisations," he said, "including preserving single-gender experiences for men and for women. Aligning with LABBS reflects our commitment to helping all people find the singing setting that's best for them. Partnering with LABBS will help both organisations learn from one another and raise the total volume of singers everywhere."
Natalie Feddon, incoming Chair of LABBS, notes that the services provided build on and formalise some long-standing practices. "For many years, LABBS has trained judges to the standards of the BHS system. Now, under the Memorandum of Understanding, we will gain more support for all our contest activities."
The new Alliance Agreement took effect March 1, 2021, with annual review of services and successes.
Founded in 1976, LABBS represents more than 2,200 female barbershop singers in around 60 choruses, including a youth chorus and a national chorus, and more than 60 quartets stretching the length of the United Kingdom. Visit LABBS online at www.labbs.org.uk or on Facebook.
Founded in 1938, the 16,000-member Barbershop Harmony Society includes more than 1,600 singing communities, including nearly 700 choruses and 900 quartets, and encompasses men’s, women’s, and mixed harmony ensembles. Visit BHS online at www.barbershop.org or on Facebook.
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