YWIH Activities


Twin Cities YIH Festival - 2013


2013 Youth In Harmony Festival

You Wanna do What????

Submitted by: Kathy Lucken * YWIH Coordinator of Vallee de Croix Chorus

                           and YWIH Coordinator/East - Region 6

Are you thinking about how much fun it would be to organize a Young Women In Harmony Festival, or join with a men’s chorus to organize a Youth In Harmony Festival? After that initial thought are you thinking how much work that might be? Well, that would be a very normal thought process; however, you would also have to be giving equal thought to how much fun it would be and how rewarding it would be. Go ahead…take the leap…you won’t be sorry you did. Being involved in planning one of these Festivals has been one of my biggest rewards in my many years as a Sweet Adeline. My 3 sisters and I all started singing barbershop in high school (and we all still singing in the Vallee de Croix Chorus), so it is a privilege and an honor for us to introduce so many young people to this wonderful community of singers. Two of my sisters will be receiving their 50-year pins in Baltimore, as proof to the young singers that “YES…there is definitely music after high school and college.”

The Vallee de Croix Chorus just completed their 7th Annual Youth In Harmony Festival on January 19, 2013. With the assistance of the Indianhead Chorus and the Croix Chordsmen Chorus, we were able to establish ourselves in a better financial situation, with three organizations working together to fund the event. The first year the festival was held in St. Croix Falls, WI (this was just for boys, but when we learned how much fun it was…we wanted to join them). The following four years were in Osceola, WI, back to St. Croix Falls, WI for two years, and our January 18, 2014 Festival will be held in Amery, WI. Because we live in a rural area, our goal is to introduce barbershop harmony to as many young singers as possible, and with the change in venue we can draw from different schools.

 We have had an average attendance of 90-100+ students since our inception, and I have to tell you it can get pretty nasty (weather-wise) here in Wisconsin, but we have never had to cancel an event, nor have we felt that our attendance suffered due to the weather.

 We have several high schools who have students singing in quartets, and our YIH Planning Team does it’s best to attend area high school events, as well as the Solo/Ensemble Contests. Making and keeping a good relationship with the musical educators is a key component to success. We also go into the high schools to work with the students in the showmanship/presentation portion of their performances.

 We have created a facebook page where students can not only keep current about what is happening in our planning stages, but we also post an occasional YouTube video with a YWIH or YMIH quartet. As we get closer to registration time…the registration packets will be available on our facebook page. Our plans include designing a website this year, so we are hopeful that we can reach more students.

Because we are close to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, we have a huge amount of talent to draw from for our Clinicians. Liz Miller (sings with the City of Lakes Chorus), has been our Musical Director for the girls since the inception of the Festival. She is a music teacher in the Osseo, MN School District and she just has the necessary energy for an all-day Festival. In our rural area here in Western WI we have three barbershoppers who are also music teachers: Scott Perau (sings with GNU Chorus) is a music teacher in Somerset, WI, Kyle Hammers (sings with GNU Chorus) is a music teacher in Balsam Lake, WI and Shawn Gudmunsen (used to direct Indianhead Chorus) is a music teacher in St. Croix Falls, WI. Teaching quartets…we have more available than I can mention.

A testament to the rewards you will receive from planning a Festival can be measured by the fact that the seven of us on our YIH Planning Team are the original 7 and I don’t see any of us leaving the team in the near future.

Here are just a few of the comments from the surveys that are completed by the Music Educators who are in attendance, by the Clinicians and by the Students.

From the Music Educators:

Do you feel your students enjoyed this experience?

“I’m sure they enjoyed the day. I have had students attend for several years and they have always enjoyed the day.”

“Yes, it is a different choral experience and expands their musical knowledge.”

Do you feel events of this type benefit your choral music program?

“Absolutely. It is nice to have something like this so close.”

“Yes, it shows students that music is life-long.”

What ideas/tools presented and discussed during this clinic/demonstration, if any, will you apply in your music program?

“It helps to watch how real barbershoppers present the music since I have no training.”

“Love the emotion and movement that barbershoppers do.”

From The Clinicians:

“Very nice Festival! Great quartets and clinicians. Students had music that was easy to be successful with. Great energy from the students throughout the day.”

“This Festival is very well organized. I appreciate the hard work of all the organizers.”

From the Students:

What did you like the best?

“The fact that everyone was excited to participate in the chorus because a lot of them just go there for their friends.”

“The laid-back atmosphere that still promoted great learning and performance enhancing to deliver a song in its fullest potential.

What did you like the least?

“That it only lasts one day.”

This is always an interesting question with most of the answers being: standing on the risers too long and not liking the food.”

Did you get what you expected?

No. I thought it was going to be boring but it wasn’t.”

Comments in General:

“I love Youth In Harmony and I plan on coming until I can’t.”

“I will do this next year and try to bring friends.”

M peronal favorite comment: “Thank you for making me a better person in all aspects.”

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