The Northeastern District (abbreviated "NED") is one of the 17 districts of the Barbershop Harmony Society. The NED is further divided into five divisions (the Sunrise, Granite & Pine, Mountain, Patriot, and Yankee divisions), chiefly for governance purposes, and has upwards of 50 chapters.
The Northeastern District is very geographically large and encompasses parts of both the United States and Canada. In the United States, all of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut is part of the NED along with a slice of eastern New York. The Canadian provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick are also in the Northeastern District. The divisions of the district are bounded as follows:
- The Sunrise Division consists of the Atlantic Canadian provinces.
- The Granite & Pine Division consists of New Hampshire and Maine.
- The Mountain Division consists of Vermont; easternmost New York (Albany and north); Pittsfield, MA; and the Canadian province of Quebec.
- The Patriot Division consists of Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts.
- The Yankee Division consists of Connecticut; Springfield, MA; and Poughkeepsie, NY.
Conventions and Contests
The Northeastern District holds a district-wide convention every fall at which contests are held to crown a new district quartet champion and a district chorus champion. Typically, NED singers also compete at smaller, division-level conventions in the spring. These smaller contests serve as qualifying rounds for the district-wide contest the following fall and as preliminary qualifiers for open quartet competition (as opposed to collegiate/youth or senior quartet competition) at the Society's International Convention in the summer. International qualification for the open quartet contest is achieved either by scoring at least a certain preset average score (often referred to as a "raw" qualifying score, currently 76.0%), or, in the event that no quartet in the district attains said average, by scoring the highest at the NED preliminary contest(s).
One change occurred to this schedule when, following a revision to the regular NED contest rules approved by the district's House of Delegates in August 2014, the division contests for the year of 2015 were eliminated, permitting any quartet or chorus to compete at the 2015 Fall District Convention in Burlington, VT without qualifying in a previous round. This revision also eliminated the International open quartet preliminary qualifying function for any NED event held in the spring of 2015, meaning that the Fall District Convention in 2014 doubled as the International open quartet preliminary qualifier (as did the 2015 Fall District Convention). This revision represented a temporary change, which the House of Delegates reserved the right to make permanent at their discretion (with the counsel of the district constituency) following the experimental implementation. As of the 2016-2017 contest season, however, the contest schedule has been returned to normal (as it was prior to the House of Delegates temporary revision), with spring divisional contests reinstated.
Choruses, collegiate/youth quartets, and senior quartets in the Northeastern District adhere to qualifying schedules that are distinctly different from the qualifying schedule of open quartet competitions. NED choruses and senior quartets both qualify for international-level competition at the fall district contest, the choruses vying for a chance to compete at the Society's International Convention in the summer and the senior quartets vying for a chance to compete at the Society's Midwinter Convention in the winter. Collegiate/youth quartets, historically, have been able to qualify as late as in the spring, at any district preliminary contest, for the chance to compete at the International Convention in the summer. Like the open quartet contest, the collegiate/youth contest has historically had a "raw" qualifying percentage (formerly 71.0%, then 73.0%) that would allowed any quartet achieving it to be invited to compete in the collegiate/youth finals at International (while any district with no "raw" qualifier would send their highest scoring competitor). Since the NED did not hold any spring contests in 2015, collegiate/youth quartets from the district looking to qualify either competed at the Fall District Convention, out-of-district in the spring, or via the then-new video submission qualification method. Quartets competing in any age bracket may also qualify for international-level competition out-of-district in another Society district if they have a legitimate conflict with the date(s) of the NED's regularly scheduled contest(s) and receive approval from NED leadership as well as the leadership of the district in which they intend to compete.
As of the 2016-2017 contest cycle, significant Society-wide changes have been made to the Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest qualification process, including a requirement that each quartet compete via digital submission before the date of March 30, 2017 and the effective removal of districts from the YBQC equation. While youth quartets may still compete at a district-level event offering the opportunity to be scored by a certified panel of live judges, each quartet must still submit video of their performance digitally in order to be considered for the International YBQC contest (those quartets scored by a live panel also submitting their scores, not to be adjudicated again). Since the submission deadline precedes nearly all district-level event dates with live panels, it is likely that almost every competing quartet will submit a video from a performance (not necessarily affiliated with any district) at which no live judging panel was present. These quartets will be scored remotely by a judging panel that will review each video submission.
Furthermore, the "raw" qualifying percentage has been abolished in the YBQC. Instead, a hard cap of 25 quartets will be invited to compete in the youth quartet finals, while all other participants in qualifying contests will be invited to take part in a youth honor chorus at the International convention (previously, quartets not qualifying for the finals would receive no such invitation). Of the 25 invited finals quartets, the following will be chosen from the highest scoring quartets in four divisions, which are based on age and level of barbershop contest experience: 10 "Varsity Experienced" quartets, 7 "Junior Experienced" quartets, 3 "Varsity Novice" quartets, and 2 "Junior Novice" quartets. A "Junior" quartet is defined as having all members under the age of 19, while a "Varsity" quartet has at least one member aged 19 or older. Similarly, a "Novice" quartet is defined as a quartet with no more than one member who has previously sung in a C/YBQC contest, while a "Varsity" quartet has at least two members who have previously sung in a C/YBQC contest. In addition to these score-based quartet finalist invitations, 3 additional "at-large" invitations will be sent to quartets not qualifying by score that elect to write or record an appeal message and are chosen by Society officials. Given this new system, quartet district affiliation is not recognized at the International level by the YBQC, although districts may choose to hold district-level youth contests awarding such titles as District Youth Champion. Because of this, for the first time in a Society International-level competition, it is possible for a district (or multiple districts) to have no representation in a contest.
Awards and Recognition
Typically, the Al Fraser Novice Quartet Award has been given to the top-scoring first-time NED quartet at International prelims in the spring. This has been separate from the title of "District Novice Quartet Champion", which is awarded during and for the district contest, but this distinction was not addressed during the temporary revisions to the district contest schedule that eliminated division-level contests. As such, the award was not presented in the 2015-2016 contest season. It is expected that the Al Fraser Novice Quartet Award will resume its original function in the wake of returning division-level contests for 2016-2017.
The district quartet championship trophy, awarded each year to the highest-scoring quartet at the Fall District Convention's open contest, is called the Lou Perry Trophy, in memory of the late Lou Perry's contributions to the Northeastern District and of his work as one of the Society's premiere arrangers. As with international quartet champions, once a quartet has won the district quartet championship, they are no longer eligible to compete in the district's open quartet contest. NED champion quartets are inducted into the Northeastern District Association of Champions (abbreviated "NEDAC"). The Northeastern District also presents several other awards, in the form of trophies and plaques, at both the district and division levels for various achievements in both quartet and chorus contests.
The Northeastern District is also associated with an invitation-only honor club known as the NEWCANEWENG Tribe that accepts as its members NED barbershoppers in good standing, who are deemed friendly, socially compatible men of excellent personal character who have made an outstanding contribution to their chapter, district, or Society over and above the call of duty. While the Tribe is not a district-level organization, it does have official status as a subsidiary of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Modeled after the Mid-Atlantic District's DELASUSQUEHUDMAC Honor Club, the group was founded in 1967 by prominent NED members Miles (Jack) Finch, Richard Hawes, Steve Dickinson and Vin Zito. The DELASUSQUEHUDMAC name was derived from combining parts of the names of the major rivers that run through the MAD (the Delaware, the Susquehanna, the Hudson, and the Potomac). Jack Finch thus proposed that the name of the analogous NED club be 'The NEWCANEWENG Tribe', incorporating parts of the names of the geographic areas that form the boundaries of the Northeastern District: New York, Canada, and New England. The Tribe meets once annually, usually the first full weekend in June, for an informal business meeting and fraternal retreat. A guest quartet from the district is usually invited to join the Tribe for entertainment.
- 1980 - Boston Common
- 1967 - Four Statesmen
- 2005 - Men In Black
|Category||Current Champ||Year||Full List|
|Overall||Exchange Street||2017||NED Quartet Champions|
|Senior||Port City Sound||2017||NED Seniors Champions|
|Novice||Take 4||2016||NED Novice Champions|
|Collegiate/Youth||Greenlight||2017||NED Collegiate Champions|
|Category||Current Champ||Year||Full List|
|Representative||Downeasters Chorus||2017||Representative to 2018 International|
|Overall||Vocal Revolution||2017||NED Chorus Champions|
|AAA (Large)||Vocal Revolution||2017|
|AA (Mid-size)||Narragansett Bay Chorus||2017|
|A (Small)||Mad Hatter Chorus||2017|
- The Northeastern District
- The Northeastern District Association of Champions
- Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest (formerly Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest)
- Barbershop Harmony Society. "Official Rules of the Harmony Foundation Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest." PDF file. 27 March 2016. <http://www.barbershop.org/files/documents/contestandjudging/YBQC_Rules_2016.pdf>.
- Barbershop Harmony Society. "2017 Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest." Web. 10 October 2016. <http://www.barbershop.org/competitions/youth-barbershop-quartet-competition/>.
- O'Leary, Brian. "NEWCANEWENG." Northeastern District. Web. 27 March 2016. <http://www.nedistrict.org/newcanewing/>.