Hello Sunshine District,
This email/communication is to inform you that the SUN Board of Directors, along with input from the House of Delegates, have voted that the 2021 Sunshine District Fall Convention has been cancelled. Many factors led to this decision, which is not taken lightly. Indulge me, if you will…
We had a scheduled House of Delegates Meeting a little over a month ago, and only two (2) choruses indicated that they would participate in the contest. And of those two, only one said that they would formally compete. For very obvious reasons, most of our SUN Chapters have not been rehearsing and would not have a show package ready in time for the first week in October. Along with that, the majority of our Chapters doubted that their members would even attend a convention if we were to hold it.
The International representatives from SUN for 2022 have already been selected as carry-overs from Los Angeles and Cleveland, so it is not necessary to re-qualify for Charlotte. We also have a good number of choruses that are missing their Snowbirds. In many SUN choruses, the Snowbird population can make up 50% or more of the performing chorus!
In addition to this, we have a certain number of contracted rooms at the hotel that we MUST fill, or we pay the cost of those rooms. We have a brand new venue in St. Augustine that was going to “hold our feet to the fire”…but as luck would have it, the property had another large group was wanting to book dates during our Fall 2022 weekend. So, in exchange for moving Fall 2022 to a later weekend in October (will now be Oct 21-22), the hotel released us from any and all financial liability for cancelling Fall 2021. This could have been financially disastrous, but it worked out in our favor.
I want to assure each of you that we explored several other options for allowing quartets to compete. An idea was floated to have a “festival” and invite SAI Region 9 and Harmony, Inc. to join us, but even with their commitments, we’d have not come close to filling our hotel block – and we’d still be on the hook.
Also, an idea was presented to have a one-set, single panel quartet competition at Labor Day Jamboree. But this would have been held in a glorified afterglow room with no stage, lights, or sound. Personally, I want all of the “pomp and circumstance” of not only crowning a new District Champion, but also allowing our outgoing Champs (Bourbon Brothers Quartet) to have a proper send-off/Swan Song with a large audience.
Lastly, holding a District Convention 30 days after what will probably be the largest Labor Day Jamboree in history would not be palatable to most district wallets.
We fully plan on holding our Spring 2022 Convention March 25-27, and the C&J and Events Teams are deciding now if we will roll all contests into that convention, or if we will wait until Fall 2022 to crown a new quartet champ. (For those that don’t know, Choruses compete in Fall to qualify for International, and Quartets compete for the SUN District Championship…and then in Spring, it is reversed; Quartets qualify for International, and Choruses compete for the District crown).
We are ready to get back to in-person singing just as much as you are! But most of you aren’t ready quite yet, and that’s okay! We will be ready when you are, so start looking at BHS’ recommendations for safely re-opening and start to sing again. Get those show packages ready. SUN is a very unique District- we only have 18 active Chapters (MAD has 100+ choruses within their Chapters) . This makes it SUPER important for participation in our Conventions. Even if your Chapter does not usually “compete”, please make a commitment now to come to Spring 2022 (and as often as possible) for scoring, judging, and improvement opportunities. Good, quality singing is what drives membership. And guess what? Because of the year-long (+) pandemic and lockdown, artists of all types are looking for new outlets. BE THEIR OUTLET! But be a quality, excellence-oriented outlet. You get that by coaching and constant improvement!
We hope to see as many of our SUN Members at Labor Day Jamboree (www.sunldj.com) for some truly awesome shows – seriously, look at the lineups each night! We are blessed to have so much talent in our District, and extra blessed this year to have the opportunity to partner with the Association of International Champions (AIC) for what would have been their AIC Show in Cleveland! Both nights will fill every crevice of your barbershop bodies, and if you cannot attend in person, a webcast will be available. We are excited to welcome our friends from Harmony Foundation, who has, and will play a huge roll in funding this huge Labor Day Jamboree event.
Thanks for reading this much so far. The SUN Board feels it is important for you, our members, to understand what goes on behind the scenes to arrive at these types of tough decisions. It’s not all about the money. It’s also about the quality of the event and the honor that comes from competing on the SUN stage. We’ll be back strong to our Convention schedule in 2022. For now, we will concentrate on LDJ, then LeadAC in January 2022, and then on into Spring 2022.
Again, thank you for reading, and for allowing me the honor of being your President for the past five years; 2020 & 2021 were the hardest, by far! As we all emerge from this extraordinary time in history at our own pace, if there is anything that the SUN Board can assist you with, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Yours In Harmony,
President, Sunshine District