Varsity Choruses (25 and under)

Varsity Chorus Invitational Rules and Registration

July 2019 • Salt Lake City 
Applications are now being accepted through December 1, 2018.



  • All singers must be age 25 or under at the time of the International Event.
  • Each chorus must pay a $300 chorus registration fee.
  • Membership with the Society is not required for the singers or director.
  • The chorus must be able to attend and participate in the entire convention activities described here, arriving on Monday and departing on Sunday.


  • Each varsity chorus will be adjudicated on three songs.  Two of the three songs must be contestable by BHS Contest and Judging (hereinafter C&J) standards (refer to the Suggested Song List, or contact the BHS with questions).  The third selection can be any song sung a cappella with any number of voice parts, may be in a foreign language, and vocal percussion is permitted.  No instrumentation is allowed for any of the three song selections.  Certified BHS judges will adjudicate under Festival rating system, with allowances for the third selection.
  • Singers may NOT sing with more than one Varsity chorus.
  • All arrangements performed by Varsity choruses must be obtained in accordance with international and USA copyright law. Further information may be found here.
  • Each Varsity chorus will be required to learn 2 mass songs to be sung during the convention on Friday or Saturday.
  • Any singer competing in the Varsity Quartet Contest  or open quartet contest is required to purchase a full convention registration.
  • All Varsity participants will be required to stay within the BHS convention hotel block at their own expense.  Participants staying outside of the hotel block will forfeit any/all scholarship/financial assistance and be disqualified from all Varsity participation.  

Entry & Qualification

  • April 1 – December 1, 2018: Interested Varsity choruses can submit their video entries for consideration.
  • Varsity Choruses must have their chorus names approved so as not to conflict with names already selected and reserved by registered BHS chapters or other Varsity Chorus Invitational participants.
  • Up to 5 Varsity choruses will be invited by December 15, 2018, with priority given to ensembles coming from a single college/university and first-time attendees. Due to the extreme demand for the festival, we welcome all applicants to record a video demonstrating why they should be considered for invitation. Video must be received before December 1, 2018.
  • February 15, 2019: Deadline for invited Varsity choruses to register. Varsity Choruses may be invited after the February 15, 2019 deadline to fill in possible slot opening(s).
  • All choruses are required to participate in a pre-event and post-event survey.
  • All video/photo/audio submitted will be owned and used without restriction by BHS.

Barbershop Style

Basic characteristics of barbershop harmony:

  • Four unaccompanied voices.
  • Melody in the second voice down (lead, or second tenor). The melody lies within the good quality range for the average lead singer and is free of awkward skips that make it difficult to sing accurately.
  • Consonant four-part chords on all notes of the melody, almost completely in root position and second inversion.
  • Easily understandable lyrics that are in good taste.

A chief characteristic of the barbershop style is its wholesome, “G-rated” entertainment values. Forfeiture, though, may result from one or all judges for:

  • Anyone other than varsity chorus members or the director appearing on stage during the performance.
  • Actions by any contestant that are deemed suggestive, vulgar, or otherwise not in good taste, as determined by acceptable, contemporary community standards.  The two songs in the barbershop style must not be either primarily patriotic or primarily religious in intent.  The third song may be from any genre, as long as it is performed a cappella.
  • Any spoken words deemed excessive or detrimental to the performance.  Participating varsity choruses should not introduce their selections.
  • Use of contestant’s own electronic sound equipment.
  • Instrumental accompaniment, including instrumental introductions, interludes, or conclusions.

Judging Criteria

  • Each Varsity chorus will receive a score in three categories (Singing, Music, and Presentation, according to BHS C&J Rules)  All participating Varsity choruses will be awarded a rating based on the overall score from the judging panel.
  • Rating Criteria
    • Good: <13 (<61% on BHS 100 point scale)
    • Excellent: 13 to <17 (61 to <68% on BHS 100 point scale)
    • Outstanding: 17 to <21 (68 to <75 on BHS 100 point scale)
    • Superior: >21 (>75 on BHS 100 point scalE)
  • Each Varsity chorus will receive scores based on a 30-point scale (converted from the standard BHS 100-point scale).  Should your Varsity chorus be interested on how your score converts to the BHS 100-point scale, this information can be provided to you after the festival by requesting the conversion from .


  • Varsity and Honors Chorus participants will be given one complimentary registration (assuming they are not also competing in the Varsity or open quartet contest.)
  • Varsity choruses attending the festival for the first time may be eligible for chorus scholarship assistance.
  • Varsity chorus participants will be given one complimentary ticket to the AIC Show.
  • Any singer competing in the open quartet contest is ineligible for any level of Varsity scholarship assistance.