During the recent Midwinter convention in Reno, our Society Board of Directors voted on and approved an SCJC proposed rule change to allow for BHS Associates (women) to become certified BHS judges. The former rule limited judges to BHS Members, thus excluding women. Several years ago, the SBOD allowed for women to participate in BHS contests as chorus directors. Similarly, this new rule now allows for Society Associates to apply to the BHS Judging program.
Why the change?
Simply put, we’re looking for the best judges available to adjudicate our contests and provide the highest quality service to our choruses and quartets. The SCJC recognizes the fact that the “best of the best”, which we are attempting to recruit to join our judging ranks each 3-year cycle, are not all necessarily just male.
What does this mean for Category School in July 2016?
No change. As they have done in the past, each Category Specialist will be inviting who they view as their best current BHS candidates and certified judges to attend school. In addition and as in previous years, there will likely be several judges and candidates from BHS affiliates and Harmony, Inc. who will attend as guests (both male & female). Those guests will have the opportunity to participate, learn, and train with BHS judges and candidates, but do not receive a BHS certification. This new policy does not have any impact until the next 3-year candidate cycle which begins after 2016 Category School.
So then, how can a woman become a BHS judge?
There is no difference in the process other than the applicant would need to be a BHS Associate (as opposed to a BHS Member). Everything else remains the same. Our current certification process involves a 3-year cycle that begins with accepting applications following BHS Category school in 2016, with a deadline of December 31st. Applications must include basic resume information, as well as letters of recommendation from BHS judges. These applications are reviewed by the respective Category Specialists in January to determine which of these should progress forward with further testing and vetting. Afterwards (no later than the May time-frame), those that look promising are invited to come to Candidate school, typically held the weekend prior to Harmony University. Those men and women that pass Candidate school are now designated as BHS candidates with just under 2 years to practice, learn, and gain more experience. The vetting process continues until the next Category school invitations are extended or their candidacy is ended.
Will female judges be added to the pool of male judges?
Yes. The roster of BHS certified judges required to meet the needs of our BHS contests, which currently requires around 40 judges per category, will potentially be comprised of both male and female certified judges. There are no plans to change the number of certified judges per category.
More detailed information will be forthcoming prior to the next judge application window (from July 25th, 2016 – December 31st, 2016). Meanwhile, feel free to direct your questions to: