Certified Judges

Judges are the backbone of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s Contest system. Each judge has gone through several years of rigorous training in judging and coaching. As such, they are incredibly knowledgeable and valuable resources!

The Rocky Mountain District is fortunate to have certified judges in each category. Please reach out to them for advice, coaching, or personalized instruction.

Music Category

Music is defined as the song and arrangement, as performed. The Music Category judges the suitability of the material to the barbershop style and the performer’s musicianship in bringing the song and arrangement to life.

The Music judge is responsible for adjudicating the musical elements in the performance, judging the extent to which the musical performance displays the hallmarks of the barbershop style and the degree to which the musical performance demonstrates an artistic sensitivity to the music’s primary theme(s).

The sensitive handling of musical elements, such as melody, harmony, and embellishments, demonstrates musicality in a performance. A strong musical performance is one in which everything provided by the composer and arranger is skillfully delivered and effectively integrated in support of the musical theme.

See a brief description on Music and Performance Elements

Read the full Music Category Description

Watch a presentation from Harmony University 2017 on the Music Category

RMD Music Category Judges

Brett Foster

Mark Hale

Denver Mile High Chapter

Parker, CO

 

Mark Hale is a highly experienced and multiple award-winning chorus director. He has beed Musical Director of the Sound of the Rockies, Denver, CO, since January 2015. Under his leadership, SOR has experienced new levels of success by continuing to broaden its audience base in the Denver area and by welcoming a diverse group of new members to the ensemble.

Before coming to Colorado, Mark served as the director of Southern California’s Masters of Harmony ensemble. During his tenure, the ensemble won four consecutive international choral championships. In 2012, the Barbershop Harmony Society honored Mark with a Lifetime Achievement Award. While in California, Mark himself became an international quartet champion, singing lead with Michigan Jake.

Before these achievements, Mark amassed 15 years of directing experience with two choruses in Kentucky and was a district quartet champion in 1987 and 1995. Mark is a sought-after quartet and chorus coach and arranger, and, along with being a Certified Music Judge, previously was a member of the BHS’ Style Evaluation Committee.

Mark discovered the Barbershop Harmony Society as a high school sophomore in Kentucky, shortly after his participation in a school production of The Music Man.

Tony Sparks

Tony Sparks

Bernalillo County Chapter

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tony serves RMD as both the Executive Vice President (EVP) and VP of Youth Outreach.  The EVP is essentially ‘President-elect’ for the upcoming term, and helps the current President strategize and implement his/her priorities and agenda.  The VP of Youth coordinates and encourages youth outreach events, and makes resources available to anyone looking to expand their youth engagement.

Tony has been singing publicly since third grade, performing in choruses and choirs throughout secondary school and into college.  At the University of Colorado, Boulder, he studied music theory and performance.  Tony has directed three men’s choruses, and currently directs a young women’s chorus in Albuquerque called On Q.

He developed a particular love for a cappella harmony while in junior high school, and sang in his first competitive barbershop quartet in ninth grade.  He eventually went on to sing for nearly twenty years with an internationally-ranked medalist quartet, Bank Street, that performed throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada and England.

Today, in addition to directing On Q, Tony is a vocal coach, arranger, and Certified Music Judge for barbershop contests.  He is actively involved in promoting a cappella music and arts collaboration throughout the Albuquerque community, and especially enjoys working with young people to help ignite in them a life-long love of music.

Brett Foster

Johnny Bugarin

Denver Mile High Chapter

Aurora, CO

Johnny has been involved in barbershop since 2011 and certified in the MUS category in 2019. He has been a chorus director and an assistant director for a couple RMD choruses. Johnny has a 5th place YBQC medal, a 4th place International Chorus medal, is a RMD Quartet Champion, and a RMD Mixed Quartet Champion. Johnny also arranges music and does learning tracks for quartets and choruses. He enjoys working with groups to discover additional musical opportunities within the group. 

Singing Category

 In the Singing category we judge artistic singing in the barbershop style – listening holistically for ringing in-tune voices that use a free, beautiful and rich vocal quality, which is wonderfully unified and vocally expressive.

Judges in this category evaluate the degree to which the performer achieves artistic singing in the barbershop style: the production of vibrant, rich, resonant, technically accurate, and highly skilled sound, created both by the individual singer’s use of good vocal techniques, and by the ensemble processes of tuning, balancing, unity of sound and precision. They listen for a sense of precise intonation, a feeling of fullness or expansion of sound, a perception of a high degree of vocal skill, a high level of unity and consistency throughout the performance, and a freedom from apparent effort that allows the full communication of the lyric and song.

See a brief description on Singing Category

Read the full Singing Category Description

Watch a presentation from Harmony University 2018 on the Singing Category

Singing Category Judges

Jacque Reinig

Tim Brooks

Broomfield, CO

Tim has been singing all his life. He began barbershopping in 1980 in Freeport, IL. After moving to Atlanta, GA in 1983, he joined the Stone Mountain Chorus. He took over as director in 1987 and has served for a total of 15 years. Along the way, the chorus won 8 Peach Division titles, a Buckeye Invitation contest in 1995 and the Dixie District Chorus Championship in 2000 and again in 2010.

He has been a certified Singing Judge since 1990. He has judged and coached in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Sweden and all 16 of the BHS Districts.

As a quartet singer, he has won the Dixie District Quartet Championship five times in three different voice parts. He has earned 7 International Bronze Medals (3 with State Line Grocery and 4 with A Mighty Wind.)

He is part of the BHS Production Team that pulls together all of the production elements for BHS International and Mid-Winter conventions. He also does recording, engineering, editing and mixing. 

As a coach, Tim is well-rounded and can help groups with singing, musicality and performance, helping them bring a more genuine and realistic performance to their audiences.

He makes his home in Broomfield, CO with his wife of 33 years, Karen.

Performance Category

 These judges evaluate how effectively a performer brings the song to life. They judge the entertainment value of the performance; the art of the performance.

One significant goal of any art form is communication. A barbershop performance refers to how the artist communicates his/her message and vision via the transformation of a song into an entertaining experience for an audience. The performance of a song is the artist’s gift to the audience; whose experiences, memories, and imagination transform that gift into an emotional experience. The performers’ goal is to create a high level of entertainment through the performance. The means to that end are as varied as the personality, abilities and creative skills of the performers.

See a brief description on the Performance Category

Read the full Performance Category Description

Watch a presentation from Harmony University 2016 on the Performance Category

Performance Category Judges

Jacque Reinig

Shawn Mondragon

Albuquerque Chapter
Bernalillo County Chapter

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Shawn Mondragon has been a very active member of the Rocky Mountain District since joining the Society in 1985! Shawn has been a member of the New Mexichords, a founding member of the Duke City Sound in Albuquerque, and is also currently singing with the Smorgaschorus out of Wichita Kansas, where he is one of their main coaches. He has sung Lead in three Rocky Mountain District Quartet Champions: Distinction (2000), the Summit (2007), and Blue Steele (2015). His RMD 2007 champion quartet, the Summit, was also the FINAL Buckeye International Invitational Quartet Champion in 2007. Shawn has sung twice on the International stage in two quartets, and has sung on International Chorus stage 8 times. Shawn is a certified Performance Judge in the Barbershop Harmony Society since 2016. He has served on the RMD board as a VP of Marketing, and VP of Music and Performance.
When Shawn is not coaching or judging, he can be found working at his restaurant, the Quesadilla Grille, in Old Town Albuquerque, or heard on the radio on the air during the morning drive shift as Chaz Malibu, on ABQ radio station KABG BIG 98.5 where he has been a radio personality for over 35 years!

Administrative Category

The Administrative Judges (ADM, until recently known as Contest Administrators, or CAs) are responsible for ensuring the best possible environment for contestants to perform, for judges to adjudicate the performances, and for audiences to enjoy the performances. The The ADM effectively is a project manager for each assignment, and is responsible for administering a smooth and orderly contest with minimal delays.

The Administrative Judge is responsible for the orderly management and operation of barbershop competitions under the Society Contest Rules. Accordingly, the CA must: 

  • have a full and complete knowledge of the rules and related policies;
  • communicate effectively using both verbal and written skills;
  • be sensitive to the needs of both contestants and judges at a barbershop contest;
  • have a thorough knowledge of the tools used in the preparation and scoring of a contest, particularly the use of a computer;
  • exhibit a good judging image that commands the respect and attention of both the contestants and the judges;
  • be humble and able to work unobtrusively;
  • be able to keep information confidential;
  • possess the understanding and good judgment required to make decisions in difficult circumstances; and
  • preferably, be an experienced contestant in both chorus and quartet contests.

The ADM provides information to the host district regarding the facilities and contest flow. They are responsible for preparing both the results of the contest and the announcement of the results, as well as providing scoring summaries for the contest. They notify the host chapter and other relevant parties of any special needs of the judging panel. They also have responsibility to provide to the Society Contest and Judging Committee all copies of electronic data produced as a result of the contest.

Administrative Category Judges

Jacque Reinig

Brett Foster

Yellowstone Valley Chapter

Billings, Montana

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Jacque Reinig

Bob Lawson

Bernalillo County Chapter

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bob has been a Barbershopper since 2003 at the invitation of a friend from Lion’s Clubs. The chorus was not very good, but it was fun and introduced him to this fabulous hobby.  He transferred to the Bernalillo County Chapter in 2007 and performed on the International Stage with Bernalillo County twice, in 2013 & 2015.  
Outside of Barbershop, Bob shares his home in Albuquerque with his little dog Faye.  He was married to Nancy for over 35-years prior to her passing.

Bob works for Bank of America to finance his Barbershop habit.

Candidate Judges

Judge Candidates are not yet Certified Judges. However, they have been accepted into the judging program and have passed their official Candidate School. In the two years after candidate school, they serve as “practice judges” at BHS contest– at their own expense! At the end of this two year period, candidates who have successfully demonstrated they are ready to be certified are invited to Category School. Once they pass Category School, they are then a certified judge and eligible to judge contests across the Barbershop Harmony Society. 

Tyler Wigginton

Tyler Wigginton

Music Category Candidate

Denver Mile High Chapter

Parker, CO

Tyler Wigginton, a Denver native, is an avid music-maker, gamer, and member of the music community in Colorado and across the globe. He graduated in 2017 from Metropolitan State University with a B.A. in Musical Composition, where he also studied voice and piano. During his time at MSU, he was invited to participate in the International Summer Academy of Music in Germany, where he placed 2nd overall in the Joseph Dorfman Composition competition in 2016. His compositions have been performed by professional musicians from around the world, including the Playground Ensemble. Tyler regularly sings Bass in the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and other classical choral ensembles in the Denver metro area. He is also extremely active in the Barbershop Harmony Society, where he directs a mixed chorus (The Timberliners), sings in two quartets, and is a judging candidate. His prior quartets have placed as high as 13th in the world and have allowed him to travel and perform for audiences all across the U.S. When not making music Tyler loves playing tabletop RPGs, rock climbing (both indoor and outdoor), and making video games!

Tyler Wigginton

Dan Wessler

Music Category Candidate

Denver Mile High Chapter

Thornton, CO

Dan Wessler is currently studying toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Literature from University of Colorado Boulder. He served as Director of Choral Activities at Freeport High School in Freeport, Illinois from 2012-2019. Dan is also an active barbershop musician; he sings in After Hours, the 2018 International Barbershop Quartet Champion, and has performed with them throughout (and outside) the United States. From 2017 to 2021, he directed the New Tradition Chorus, an award-winning men’s barbershop chorus in Northbrook, Illinois. He has served as clinician for several barbershop chorus festivals, and is also an active barbershop arranger, having produced nearly 100 arrangements for various groups, a number of which have been published by Hal Leonard.