The Plateau Awards System
First some history: Previous to our current system of scoring-based plateaus, the Illinois District and the BHS were all using a membership based plateau system. That system placed chapters into one of three plateaus based on their chapter membership as of December 31 of the current year. Plateau 3-A included chapters with memberships from 75 and above. Plateau 2-A included memberships of 41 to 74, and Plateau 1-A were those chapters with 40 members and below.
In the early 2000’s chapter membership throughout the Society was dropping at a drastic rate and the membership plateau system did not provide chapter incentive to those chapters with decreasing membership.
In March of 2002, the Illinois District board approved a proposal for a plateau system similar to one used in the Sunshine district. That system used an average of past raw contest scores as the basis for placing chapters in one of five different plateaus, 5-A through 1-A. That proposal allowed any chorus, regardless of membership size, to compete against choruses of the same scoring ability. The emphasis was placed on musical ability rather than membership.
This system was first put into effect for our Fall 2002 chorus contest. The board specified that the new system would have a trial period of two years or four contests. In the Fall of 2004 the system attained a permanent status. With the inception of the revised chorus contest format in 2007, the scoring based plateau system had been used only for our spring chorus contests.
Today: Shortly after each chorus contest, new scoring information is entered into the master data base and new averages are created for the upcoming chorus contest. As choruses improve their musical and performing skills from contest to contest, it is possible for chapters to move up into a new scoring level plateau. With each upward move comes new challenges, as those chapters now are competing against chapters who have larger scoring averages.
The opposite is true of choruses that, for whatever reason, experience weaker musical skills and their contest performance levels decrease from contest to contest. Experiencing these lower scoring results would, in turn, lower their scoring average and could move the chorus to a lower scoring level. Going into each new contest, each chapter will know that regardless of the assigned plateau, they will be competing against choruses of similar scoring levels and abilities.
At the end of this article you will find the latest scoring level plateaus. Please take note of those choruses placed in the 1-A Plateau. Those 16 choruses consist of over half of our entire district chapters that are eligible to compete on the district level. Many of those chapters have not been in competition in over 7 years. A few of those chapters have not been on a district competition stage in well over 10 years.
It is hoped that the scoring based plateau program will provide an incentive for those 16 chapters to make the trip to our district conventions and perform for our audiences and compete with those other 11 chapters. Realizing that some of those chapters members have never taken part in one of our district contests, let alone attend a district convention, it is the hope of your district board that programs such as the district Small Chorus Award, the Very Large Quartet(VLQ) Award, and our Plateau Scoring System will provide an incentive for every chapter in the district to attend our conventions and enjoy the thrill of performing for our friendly audiences.
– Bob Squires (rev. 8/16/14 – dpg); Don Leonard(rev. 8/08/18 – dl)