Ever Been a Part of Something World-Class?
The members of Great Northern Union (GNU) are a passionate and dedicated group.
The GNU currently has 141 dues paying members.
The average age of the GNU member is about 49, which is about 10 to 12 years younger than the average Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) chapter.
- 23 members are under the age of 30
- 17 of those are under the age of 25
Other GNU member statistics:
- Average length of BHS membership is 18.5 years
- Of the members who performed at International is Las Vegas
- 40 (42% of total) have been members of the BHS for less than 10 years
- 28 (30% of total) have been members for five years or less
The Great Northern Union is always interested in bringing new members into our ranks and we heartily encourage you to visit our rehearsals to learn what our chorus is all about and experience the magic of blending your vocal skills with another 90+ talented and dedicated singers!
We look for men who love to perform, and are willing and able to make a weekly commitment to doing it well. Our craft has a strong visual component, so being able to visually portray the "story" and emotion of each song is of equal importance with singing it well.
When you visit our rehearsal, you'll be greeted by men from every walk of life. Guests will be welcomed on the risers immediately and assigned a mentor to assist them as the rehearsal proceeds. A Guest Book with sheet music will be made available to each guest.
Our rehearsals are always open to the public. Anyone can come to watch, but we aren't kidding: the real fun is in participating.
The membership process is simple: First, attend three rehearsals. Second, pass a simple voice audition with our music director and a visual audition with your performance team. Third, complete an application and pay your dues to the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Once accepted as a member, you keep your good standing by meeting the attendance and performance requirements and giving your best effort every time you step on the risers.
Each member of the chorus is expected to learn notes and words outside of rehearsal time. Learning tracks and sheet music are provided for most of our repertoire to facilitate that learning. This allows the Musical Director to spend valuable rehearsal time working on the ensemble sound, bring life to the music both acoustically and visually.
Videos are also used to help chorus members learn and rehearse the choreography and visual plan for many songs. Many members also attend voluntary extra rehearsals (aka early birds) to work specifically on choreography.
Before being allowed to perform with GNU, each member must demonstrate that he has the words and notes memorized. As new members join the chorus, this happens on an individual basis among the section leaders. As new songs are introduced into the chorus repertoire, each section leader will conduct group memory tests during sectional rehearsals.
For BHS chorus competitions, the standard is even higher. Before we compete, each member must submit to the section leader an individual recording of himself singing the contest songs. The recordings are evaluated not only for memorization of notes and words, but also to ensure that each member receives constructive feedback and is thus able to contribute to the overall performance at his highest level possible. That is our proven formula for success!
Questions about membership? Email Membership at [email protected]