One of our favourite times of year is when the Ontario District Barbershop Convention rolls around! Ontario is the only all-Canadian district, as other districts that include Canadian land cross the border. The fall convention is the preliminary contest for choruses who want to vie to compete in the International Chorus Contest, and the district-wide quartet contest for the quartet trophy and novice trophy. In addition, the Seniors Quartet qualifying round is held at this time. This year, our friends in Basses Unlimited, all either current or former members of the Toronto Northern Lights, won the seniors’ round and will be representing Ontario at the Midwinter International Seniors Quartet contest in March 2016!
The four of us sang with TNL (Toronto Northern Lights), with Jonah, Reuven, and Chris on the stage for the first time in a competitive capacity! We actually had forgotten, having come to feel like such close members of the chorus over the past couple of years, that we hadn’t competed with them in Toronto in 2013 when they won the gold! The excitement ramped up for us when we realized this and we had a great time! The Toronto Northern Lights won the “Go for the Gold” trophy, which is given to the chorus representing Ontario at the International Contest in July, which this coming year will be in Nashville, Tennessee!
But the most exciting aspect of the convention for us had to be winning the quartet contest. Going into the contest, we wanted more than anything to follow our international scores with an improvement, and we were concerned because we have learned that it can be very difficult to break that 80s barrier. We had tried for it since Vegas 2014, without success, until the International Collegiate Contest this past Summer, when we managed to score an average of 80.1. However, we suspect that those scores may have been inflated and not been an accurate representation of our ability; not to mention, those were scores over two songs. The Ontario District contest has not seen a quartet score over 80 since before the Barbershop Harmony Society adopted the new scoring system, and in addition to that, we would have to average that over four songs instead of two!
Well, we did it. We couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishment, and we hope to represent Ontario well as quartet champions! That being said, our quartet evaluations showed us that there is much to be done if we are to continue improving, and we are enthusiastic about getting right to it! With dedication, and maybe a little luck, we’ll be representing Ontario in Nashville next Summer with even better scores!
Ontario, you are our home, and our extended barbershop family! Thank you for your constant support and love! District conventions are like family reunions, and there’s a lot of hugging, singing, and general merriment. We can’t wait for the next one!