SPEBSQSASociety for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (now Barbershop Harmony Society)
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This segregation is sometimes explained in terms of the differing vocal qualities of men and women--the timbres are too different, it is argued, to achieve the expansion of sound that forms one of the main musical goals of the genre--but in fact probably has more to do with certain features of the compositional style mandated by SPEBSQSA, which is predicated on the vocal range of a single-sex ensemble.
The more directly musical concerns of judging competitions and providing educational support, meanwhile, are undertaken by a separate music team (Music and Judging Committee in LABBS, Guild of Judges in BABS) that is trained within each association and separately accredited by SPEBSQSA.
Since both LABBS and BABS use the style definitions and judging criteria issued by SPEBSQSA, it is inevitable that their repertoire will be identical in style.
SPEBSQSA is the largest male singing society in the world, with 40,000 members; add to this the 35,000 members of the women's groups and the widespread support of this American musical tradition is self-evident.
Cliff was a long time member of several barbershop choruses, held membership with SPEBSQSA for many years and passed his love of singing on to all of his children.