The Pitch Pipe July 2018

Page 12

Toward a More Inclusive Sweet Adelines: Harmonizing the World in the 21st Century BY ELIZABETH DAVIES

Author’s Note: Thank you to Janice Dorris, Valerie Clowes, David Wright, Maria Christian, Kathy Woodford and Amy Rose for their invaluable assistance on this project. Any errors or omissions are mine, not theirs.


he year 2016 marked an important

international contests, I see that women of

milestone for women's barbershop.

color are still few and far between. I wonder,

Fifty years earlier, in 1966, Sweet

“Could I be doing more to make this great

Adelines formally lifted its ban on nonwhite

organization even more inclusive? Could I do

membership. The exclusion was written into

more to harmonize the world?"

the corporate bylaws in 1958 and, according to the organization’s records, was an “unwritten

It's a tricky question for a white Sweet Adeline like me, because it requires me to

policy” for years

confront the

before that.

race history of

In my view,

barbershop, which

“Harmonize the

is as complex and

World” is the

uncomfortable as

most beautiful

the race history of

mission any

the U.S. itself. Yet, as I consider

organization could have. I believe

what kind of

in the power of

barbershopper I

close-harmony singing to lift spirits, enrich

want to be in the 21st century, there is much

lives, and connect hearts and minds.

inspiration to be found in our complicated

However, when I survey the thousands of gorgeous faces on the risers at regional and


July 2018 | THEP I TCH P I P E

history. Here are some goals I have set for myself.

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