Reaching Out to Youth in Practical Ways

What are YOU doing to reach out to young musicians in your area?  Have you had that college guest night in your chapter yet? Made contact with local schools yet? Sent out flyers about your show on college campuses?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, good for you! That is a step in the right direction!

If you find you still need some ideas, here are some great things other chapters and organizations have done:

Redwood Chordsmen – Santa Rosa, CA

Chordsmen Redwood

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These guys not only have an awesome website, but they have a highlighted Youth Outreach section as well!  Every year the Redwood Chordsmen sponsor a dozen or more high school students to spend a weekend at Youth Harmony Camp in the Sierras for coaching and training.  These Chordsmen provide partial scholarships so that every boy can attend.  How awesome is that?!

HF Logo

They also pair with Harmony Foundation International ( to help fund Youth in Harmony Programs all over the world.  In 2011, the Redwood Chordsmen achieved Bronze Giving Status by donating on average at least $25/member.

Question for you:  How much is your chorus giving?  How much are you giving? (By the way – your gift is totally tax deductible!) But I’m pretty sure donors aren’t doing it for the tax write-off… They do it because in some way or another, music has changed their life – and they want to pay it forward.  Keep an eye out for a future article on the Harmony Foundation!

The Cody Choraliers Barbershop Chorus – Leavenworth, KS

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 The Choraliers also have a nifty website with a Youth Outreach section, but they also have eight members that are ages 18 and under. They also make it known that they have “COOKIES! EVERY NIGHT!” (What did I tell you about having food? They will come!!)

Choraliers Check

I cannot attest to their participation in Harmony Foundation, but the chorus has recently donated $4,000 to all of the schools in the county… (WOW! Talk about direct deposit!) As a music educator, nothing pleases me more than to see community support of a music program, whether it be financial or not.  Letting the kids and community know you support music in all aspects makes you stand out!

They also send out their own chapter quartets to schools in the area as an effective recruitment tool.  They have a high school quartet and a regular quartet that usually goes out in pairs – and consequently, they were the second-fastest growing chapter in the society in 2010 (right behind the Ambassadors of Harmony… not bad!)

Dan Austin – Youth in Harmony Coordinator for the Ontario District


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I recently had the honor and privilege of being the Guest Director for the Ontario Youth in Harmony Camp this past April.  Leading a group of about fifty, the OYIH Leadership Staff coordinated by Dan Austin created an experience of personal musical growth and provided such a wonderful opportunity for the 50+ kids that attended that weekend.  (For those who are not familiar with what Youth in Harmony is, David Zimmerman has already given an awesome explanation, and can be found on his blog post –

Dan told me something that weekend that took me completely by surprise.  He said that the Ontario District collectively sponsored every single student that attended the camp.  Every single student attended the Youth in Harmony Camp for free.  They had the support of chapters and individual donors around the district so the kids did not have to pay a penny.  The Ontario District also happens to have the largest growing Youth Chorus that attends Midwinter every year (and keeps getting better and better)! Coincidence? Doubtful!


Did you know the Cardinal District has a Harmony Explosion Camp? (You should, if you’ve been reading these posts!) Enrollment for it has gone up every single year.  In fact, it is coming up around the corner (July 24-27)!  Did you know there is a FREE SHOW on that Saturday night? A great way you can reach out is to simply attend the show! Introduce yourself after, tell them that if they enjoyed a few days of barbershop, and that “Our chapter meets on Mondays! Feel free to swing by to visit! We have cookies every night!”


On one last note, I would like to say that I have personally been impacted by the BHS Youth Outreach Programs.  I can guarantee you I would not be a part of this wonderful hobby if it weren’t for the outreach of barbershoppers around me.  I participated in countless Harmony Explosion camps in high school, been sponsored in several choruses, and the Harmony Foundation helped fund my college quartet (and all the other ones, too!) every year compete at the International Contest.  With that fact alone, I have made countless lifelong friends, grown personally and musically, and traveled around North America all because of barbershoppers reaching out to me. I now have a strong desire to give back all that has been given to me and more!  Your investment into the youth may not give immediate gratification – but you must know that you are changing and affecting lives for the better!

Starting to formulate some ideas to reach out? Let’s continue reaching out to the future of our hobby.  I can guarantee you won’t regret it!

Want to start donating to Harmony Foundation?

Want to sponsor a student or two (or ten) for the CAR District Harmony Explosion Camp? Talk to your chapter president or shoot me an email at and I will direct you to the right person!

Want to support, but can’t financially right now?  Go to your nearby school’s choir concert, attend the Harmony Explosion Camp Saturday Show!

Want cookies for your next chapter meeting to attract young singers? Walmart always has low prices.