Harmony University 2022 (24-Oct-2022)

This past July 24th- July 31st, I was able to attend Harmony University, put on by the Barbershop Harmony Society. It was in New Orleans at Loyola University and I couldn’t be more excited to have gone. After two years delay due to the pandemic, I couldn’t have been prepared for what lay in store for me when I arrived. At the airport, not only was I greeted by warm and enthusiastic staff, I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared common goals: learning more barbershop, and the love and dedication we have for this art form. 

There were so many classes to choose from this year, which made it very hard to experience everything that we all have been craving to experience for the past few years. I feel that I excelled at gaining better knowledge in my role as a lead singer, performance and vocal; as well as leadership towards bettering myself in my quartet and chorus. From Principles of Physicality- led by Donya Metzger; to How To Be A Great Lead- led by Theo Hicks, the education I received during this week was truly inspirational and take home worthy.

Within the seven days on campus, you experience so much. From class at eight in the morning, until eight at night; and then singing tags and songs until midnight with ice cream, the enriched and open-hearted environment and culture of barbershop embeds itself into your core. You want to be the best singer you can be and experience that connection with others who share same enthusiasm and excitement. 

One thing BHS has rooted into their culture is tags. Familiar with tags and know how fun and beautiful it can be, I’m not well practiced. I was quite intimidated, with every night having hours of tag singing: Would I be able to learn fast enough? Was I good enough to participate? Would people possibly get annoyed with me if I messed up more than anticipated? These questions had prevented me from fully participating in tag singing. So I was very excited when I learned about the course Tag Zone with Manoj Padki. This was a one hour class, every day, that taught you 3-4 tags each day. In a smaller group of people that were like me, in search of better learning about tags, it was less stressful to learn. Manoj was beyond welcoming and supportive, when it came to learning. Needless to say I conquered my fear, and was singing tags into the morning, each and every night.

To say that your life can change within seven days, is an understatement. I left HU with a better understanding of not only my role as a lead singer, but a more deep rooted understanding of myself as a performer and person who loves to sing! I thank Sing Canada for their financial assistance, allowing me to attend. It was enough assistance to allow me to focus my energy on singing, rather than finances, once I returned. Excited to return next year, there's only 333 days to go!

by Sarah Laham

Tag Zone. L-R: Bas de Bolster, Manoj Pidki, Sarah Laham, Laura W.