Quartet Prelims

What is prelims and why do we hold it?


Why do we hold a Quartet Prelims?

Quartet Prelims is the qualifying round for LABBS Convention. All LABBS-Registered Quartets are able to enter Prelims if they wish, there is no limit on numbers for this round. There are also other classes of competition that run concurrently (see below), some of which are awarded at the prelims event itself.

LABBS Quartets qualify to compete at Convention by achieving a place in the top 16 at Prelims; the Quartets placed 17th and 18th act as Mic-Warmers for the Quartet Semi-Finals at Convention.

From 2023 LABBS hosts the LABBS Mixed Quartet contest in collaboration with BABS and SAI Region 31. This contest now includes a prelims round. Read more information on the quartets page.

Contest entry for all quartet prelims contests is usually in the spring of the same year, by a specified date in mid-March. This allows the draw to take place at the LABBS annual AGM and Council meeting at the end of March, which establishes the order of contestants.


What happens at Prelims?

For some years now, the format of prelims has been to conduct the contest during the full day on Saturday of Prelims weekend. On the Sunday we follow up with live evaluations and coaching from the judging panel and supporting judges for extra coaching pods as required. From 2023 the Sunday will also host the Mixed Quartet prelims round.

For coaching, each quartet is paired with another who received a similar score. Each pair shares long sessions with a judge from each of the 3 scoring categories, where they have time to work on their performance and skills themselves, as well as have the opportunity to learn by watching their paired quartet being coached.

Quartets who are unable to stay for Sunday instead receive a written evaluation of their performance, Mixed Quartets will also receive written evaluations.

Please note that in 2023 there is a £50 coaching fee for Quartets taking part in the Sunday live coaching.

Other classes of contests within LABBS Prelims

As well the main contest qualifying registered Female and Mixed quartets to compete at convention, there are the following stand-alone contests which run concurrently and as part of the Prelims contest day, with trophies being decided either at the Prelims round or after all rounds have taken place at Convention:

Novice Quartet Contest

For all registered novice* LABBS quartets who wish to gain experience on the contest stage. Novice quartets can elect to also compete in the main Prelims contest for qualification to Convention (and normally do).

Certificates for the top three novice quartets at Prelims are awarded on the day. The LABBS Blue Chords Novice Trophy is awarded at Convention to the novice quartet gaining the highest place over all contest rounds in the year (Prelims, Semi-finals, Finals).
*A Novice quartet is considered to be one which has never previously competed (in a quartet competition organised by any barbershop organisation) and shall include no medallists. A novice quartet may include no more than two members who have previously competed in any quartet contest.

Youth Quartet Contest

For all quartets where all members of the quartet are aged 29 or younger on the date of the contest. 

This contest is also open to non-LABBS members - see the contest rules for more information!

There is a trophy for the Youth Quartet winners which is awarded on the day at Prelims, as well as certificates for the top three placed. The winners may also be offered a show spot at Convention.

University Quartet Contest

A new contest introduced for 2022. University Barbershop Clubs who have become affiliate members of LABBS are welcome and encouraged to send quartets to enter the University contest which takes place concurrently with LABBS prelims in June.

University quartets may be made up of members of any gender. Individual membership of LABBS is not required and there is no age stipulation, as long as all members of the quartet are in education and members of the barbershop club at the affiliated university.

Note: there are currently no affiliated University Barbershop Clubs. Could your club be the first?

Seniors Quartet Contest

For all LABBS quartets where each member of the quartet is 55 years or over on the day of contest, with a minimum aggregate (combined) quartet age of 240 years.

There is a trophy for the Senior Quartet winners which is awarded on the day, as well as certificates for the top three placed. The winners may also be offered a show spot at Convention.

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