About Bay Area Showcase Chorus


 

OUR CHORUS

Bay Area Showcase Chorus has been around since 1956, performing in the local community and earning awards at regional and international competitions. We are a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide organization of roughly 20,000 women singers. Our chapter is a non-profit organization and entirely volunteer-run. We are not affiliated with any religious organization, though we may use church halls as a rehearsal venue.

Our chorus has about 90 members, ranging in age from early 20's to early 90's. While a few have musical training, many have no formal training or experience, and just love to sing! We eagerly welcome women of all ages, vocal ranges, and musical backgrounds.

OUR MUSIC

Barbershop is a uniquely American style of a cappella singing in close 4-part harmony. The melody is sung by the second-highest voice, called the Lead, and the other three parts (Tenor, Baritone, and Bass) harmonize to support the melody.

Barbershop arrangements have a particular homophonic structure and sound, enabling the creation of overtones when sung well. Lyrics tend to be about love, friendship, music, memories, and other “feel-good” themes. We sing a variety of music, ranging from traditional Tin Pan Alley favorites to modern pop tunes, all in 4-part harmony. We use facial expression, gestures, and choreography to convey the emotion and characters of the stories we sing. Some singers enjoy getting together with 3 other voice parts and singing in quartets. This is an optional activity that is encouraged and supported by the chorus.

OUR DIRECTOR

Julie Starr has been our Music Director since 2002. She is a long-time member of the chorus, has sung with several award-winning quartets, and has had a number of leadership roles at both the regional and international level. She was recently elected to serve on the Sweet Adelines International Board of Directors. 

OUR MISSION STATEMENT, CORE VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Our mission is to educate and empower women to excel in singing 4-part harmony in the barbershop style.

We hold the following core values most dear:

  • Singing well and learning together 
  • Friendly, inclusive, welcoming community 
  • Mutual respect 
  • Having fun 

The following principles guide our actions and choices:

  • We take pride in singing 4-part a cappella music at a very high level and work hard to bring our best musical performances to our community.  
  • We provide opportunities for education and leadership in all areas of chorus life.  
  • Each of us is accountable for our own progress and achievements as we reach toward common goals. 
  • We maintain a culture of belonging for all. We welcome any singer who can meet the audition criteria to find a home in our chorus family. 
  • We treat each other with kindness and respect, and appreciate everyone’s unique contribution.  
  • We have fun sharing positivity, laughter and joy. 

COVID PRECAUTIONS AND PROCEDURES

Due to the Covid pandemic, we have observed shelter-in-place regulations when required, continuing our weekly rehearsals over Zoom. No, it's definitely not the same as singing together, but we are keeping spirits high and keeping connections alive. 

When pandemic conditions allow, we do gather to sing in person at a large and airy rehearsal hall in Milpitas. All Covid restrictions are observed, including requiring full/boosted vaccinations, mask wearing and social distancing. It is much more satisfying to hear other voices in harmony, rather than singing alone at home over Zoom, but we continue to monitor the pandemic situation and will comply with all county, state, and CDC guidelines to keep our singers safe.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

In June of 2020, our chorus issued the following statement:

Bay Area Showcase Chorus decries the continued mistreatment and killing of Black Americans. We denounce the systemic racism, injustice and inequality that pervades American society. We believe that to remain silent is not an option. We say without reservation that Black Lives Matter.

We acknowledge that barbershop harmony originated in African-American culture, and that we as an organization excluded Black women from membership for several years, ending in 1966. This is an embarrassing history we cannot deny, but from which we can learn and continue to move forward.

Our parent organization, Sweet Adelines International, recently took the historic step to identify and retire songs that use racial slurs or stereotypes or arise from a racist origin. We support this important step on the road to racial equality in the barbershop world.

Our chorus is committed to taking the following steps:

  • Educating ourselves about the history of our hobby, without shying away from the parts that make us uncomfortable.
  • Ensuring that our mission statement uses language that is inclusive.
  • Examining our recruitment process to better connect with singers across the full cross-section of our community.
  • Reaching out to other social and cultural groups to collaborate in education and performance events.