The Pitch Pipe April 2024

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THE VOICE OF SWEET ADELINES INTERNATIONAL The | April 2024 | Volume 77 — No.4 Pitch Pipe

The Pitch Pipe needs you!

Have you had a meaningful, funny, or interesting experience during rehearsal or performance? Have you spent time reflecting on what barbershop singing or Sweet Adelines means to you? Have you received or witnessed a kindness from your Sweet Adelines family that you’d like to share? We’d love to read it — and possibly print it in The Pitch Pipe!

Send your submissions to with “Attn: The Pitch Pipe” in the subject line.

A few general guidelines:

• Tell a story (beginning, middle, end).

• Keep your submission between 500–700 words in length.

• Send your submission as a Word document.

• Send photos. (High resolution is great, but send what you have!)

• Include a 1–2 sentence bio telling your chorus/quartet affiliation, voice part, etc.

• All submissions are subject to editing, and not all submissions will be printed in The Pitch Pipe. (Some may be used for other SA media.) You will be notified about the status of your submission.

April 2024 | 1 The Pitch Pipe April 2024 | Volume 77 — No.4 26 Building Chorus Community Through Inclusivity 34 Vowel Formation: The Basics 10 "Magical, Electric, Glorious": Bonnie Kerr 32 Small Choruses, Big Impacts: Meg Mahoney 33 "Be Brave, You Deserve It.": Jamy Claire Archer 4 New Members Meet the President 21 Singing on the Sea! 22 Ignite the Sound Volume 2 24 Song of Welcome: Coachella Acappella 46 Membership Momentum: Connection On the Cover: Kansas we come! 14 Imagine If...DVLS 2024 36 2024 Internation Convention: Kansas City Education Philanthropy Membership Events and Competition 3 From Our President 5 From Our CEO 28 Harmony Roundup 48 Song Evaluation Database Updates 49 In Memory 50 Accolades In Every Issue 6 Strategic Plan 8 Welcoming Returning IBOD Members International Updates

April 2024 | Volume 77 — No.4 |

Sweet AdelineS internAtionAl

Elevating women singers worldwide through education, performance, and competition in barbershop harmony and a cappella music.


Tammy Talbot Chief Executive Officer

Kim Berrey Editor-in-Chief

Stacy Pratt Staff Writer

Ben Larscheid Graphic Designer

Joey Bertsch Staff Photographer


May 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024

Thérèse Antonini, International President

Joan Boutilier, Immediate Past President

Mary Rhea, President-elect

Jenny Harris, Secretary

Valerie Taylor, Treasurer

Sharon Cartwright Janice McKenna

JD Crowe Julie Starr

Annika Dellås Mary Teed

Vickie Maybury


Marcia Pinvidic, Chair

Joan Boutilier Jenny Harris

Betty Clipman Valerie Taylor


Alyson Chaney Mary Rhea

Betty Clipman Kate Towne

Michelle Neller

2 | April 2024
Pitch Pipe
The Pitch Pipe 9110 S. Toledo Ave., Tulsa, OK 74137 U.S.A. Telephone 1.918.622.1444 • Toll-free 1.800.992.7464 Fax 1.918.665.0894 • Office hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT) Advertising 1.918.622.1444 • Direct all correspondence, editorial copy and photographs to Deadlines are 60 days prior to publication. Not all submissions will be published. THE PITCH PIPE (ISSN 0882-214X) Copyright 2023 by Sweet Adelines International. All rights reserved. HARMONIZE THE CYBER WORLD @SweetAdelinesIntl Remember to use #SweetAdelines on social media. Headquarters uses the # to find your posts, photos and tweets to share across Sweet Adelines social media channels. @SweetAdelinesIntl Access archived issues on the Sweet Adelines International website or at Anytime. Anywhere. Read The Pitch Pipe! THE VOICE OF SWEET ADELINES INTERNATIONAL The April 2024 Volume77—No.4 Pitch Pipe

Hello to each and every member of Sweet Adelines, and welcome to your April 2024 issue of The Pitch Pipe ! This issue, which finds us in the midst of our 2024 regional contest season, is full of excitement and hope as we gain momentum toward our future.

You’ll find all of the information here that you need to be a part of all of our upcoming events. At our Directors and Visual Leaders Seminar in July, not only will we be a part of a great educational experience, we’ll also be treated to the performances of our Rising Star and Diamond Division competitors. To make the seminar and competitions even more thrilling, our reigning International Champion Quartet, Lady A Cappella, will be there as we celebrate our new champions in each of those contests!

Kansas City awaits too, and based on the great feedback we received for Monday Funday in 2023, we’re planning more opportunities for all of our members to get together and SING! I hope you are able to join us live for that experience, gather again at watch parties around the world, or tune into our webcast on your own. We want you there!

We have so many groups and individuals to recognize and highlight in this issue. You’ll learn about member donors, recently elected and appointed International Board members, and even a brand new Sweet Adelines chorus! It was my pleasure as President to meet with some of our brand-new – and some returning – members and learn about what drew them to our organization. All of these members spoke about the sense of community they are experiencing. You’ll get a bit of insight about those meetings in this issue, and our DEI article outlines some possibilities for making our chorus communities even stronger.

The Board of Directors is excited to share, for the first time, unfolding details about the Strategic Plan that will guide us for the next three years. This is just the first step in putting the plan into action, and we’re looking forward to keeping all of you highly engaged as it moves us forward.

This is my final Pitch Pipe letter as International President. It has been my great honour and privilege to serve in this capacity. I will treasure every interaction I have had with every member, chorus, quartet, and region. In my interactions with board members and staff, I have learned lessons and forged relationships that have enriched and will continue to enrich every aspect of my life. My final message to you is one of gratitude and appreciation:

Thank you (for everything you do),

Thérèse Antonini

April 2024 | 3
From Our President

New Members Meet the President

A program for new Sweet Adelines

One of the best things about being a Sweet Adeline is belonging to an international community of like-minded singers. The Sweet Adelines International Membership Department is always looking for ways to bolster that community, especially for newer members. In conjunction with the Ignite the Sound membership initiative, the membership department hosted “Meet the President” Zoom sessions with International President Thérèse Antonini in June 2023 for all members who joined during Ignite the Sound Vol 1, and in January 2024 for all new members who joined during the rest of 2023. These sessions took on the format of an informal fireside chat, where members could introduce themselves and describe how they discovered our organization, as well as ask questions of Thérèse and get to know her and the international organization better.

The discussions were intimate and insightful. Everyone who attended told their story of how they became a Sweet Adeline. Stories ranged from seeing a lawn sign advertising a local chorus to rejoining after completing cancer treatments. Sheryl Katz (Member-at-Large) says, “Having a small enough group so that we could ‘meet’ one another and having the opportunity to chat and ask questions was much appreciated!” We hope that gatherings like this one will allow new friendships to burgeon around the world. New members joined sessions from the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, and even Japan! Wherever you go, you can always find another Sweet Adeline –something our new members discovered!

The sessions also allowed opportunities for new members to get their questions answered with available resources offered directly to them. Too often, new members do not realize how many resources are already available! Questions about where to find barbershop learning materials, how the organization has evolved in the past years, and even how international dues work were discussed and answered. This information empowered our new members to reach out to the international organization with any concerns. In fact, Janese Blanchard (Positively A Cappella, Region 21), said, “I appreciated that Thérèse invited us all to reach out if we had any further questions or concerns. Shortly after this event, I did reach out…I felt empowered to reach out to see what I can do to build our chorus.”

(That means you are empowered, too, dear reader! Feel free to contact us if you need any help or have any questions about your Sweet Adelies experience! Go to contact-us to find contact information for all departments.)

Ultimately, the “Meet the President” sessions allowed our new members to feel welcomed into our organization. Jill Emerick (One Voice Chapter, Region 4) says, “It really was a treat to have this opportunity! No other global organization I’ve been part of has made me feel SO welcomed from top to bottom!”

Welcome to Sweet Adelines, new members! We can’t wait to get to know you better.

4 | April 2024

Hello, Sweet Adelines,

The staff members of Sweet Adelines International Headquarters are dedicated to supporting our members. For the next few issues of The Pitch Pipe, I am dedicating this space to introducing you to the headquarters staff by department.

In this issue, I would like to introduce our Philanthropy Department.

This important department enables our organization to provide our members with programs and services that we would not be able to offer without the generous support of our donors. Philanthropy links members with opportunities for giving to support their individual passions within the organization, ensuring the continuation of our legacy. Through making these connections and through the generosity of our donors, Sweet Adelines International has been able to create opportunities that would have taken longer to materialize or might not have happened at all.

In each issue of The Pitch Pipe, we highlight donors and programs that keep our organization thriving – and showcase the work of our Philanthropy department. In this issue, you will find profiles of donors Bonnie Kerr and Meg Mahoney as well as an article featuring Jamy Claire Archer, a recipient of one of the inaugural Directors of Small and Midsize Chorus Directors Scholarships in 2022.

The Philanthropy Department provides the opportunity for our members to invest in the programs that resonate with them and that will support the advancement of our mission to elevate women singers worldwide through education, performance, and competition in barbershop harmony and a cappella music. Among the many programs made possible as a result of generous donors are the Small and Midsize Chorus Directors Scholarships, the upcoming Learning Management System (LMS), the Grants Program, which strives to bring the joy of performing and singing to the next generation, and the Bev Sellers Scholarship for college students. They work with donors who give to specific areas of interest as well as the Education Fund, Scholarship Fund, Young Singers Fund, and Greatest Need Fund.

Becky says, “We are so grateful for every member who participates in one or more of the giving opportunities provided throughout the year. It is because of each of you that our legacy not only continues but flourishes and reaches new heights.”

Susan has a message for supporters: “Please give our heartfelt appreciation to the members who have supported the philanthropic priorities of Sweet Adelines. With your investments, you are having a significant impact on the lives of current members as well as helping to shape the future of Sweet Adelines.”

We asked the members of our Philanthropy Department to share how working with and for Sweet Adelines inspires them.

Susan Buchanan Smith (MA, CFRE) Chief Philanthropy and Administrative Officer and member of Harborlites Chorus (#21)

I love being able to experience the friendships, passion, and love our members have for sharing their music and the barbershop art form specifically.


I'm delighted by the stories from long-time members. Their enthusiasm and joy in recounting their Sweet Adelines experiences highlight the sense of belonging to a collective purpose greater than each of us individually.

Tiffany Gravis, Philanthropy Coordinator

What inspires me about working with Sweet Adelines is the passion and dedication of its members and their unwavering support for one another.

To find out more about the work of the Philanthropy Department and how to become a donor, visit

In harmony,

April 2024 | 5

Sweet Adelines International Strategic Plan

May 2024-April 2027

In October 2023, the International Board of Directors and Sweet Adelines International headquarters leadership team met prior to convention and competition in Louisville, Kentucky to develop our Strategic Plan for the next three years beginning in May 2024 and continuing through April 2027.

The energetic and collaborative days were led by a professional consultant as we reviewed our current organization with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. We then had robust discussions in small groups regarding the priorities to focus on. Out of those discussions came the upcoming strategic pillars for Sweet Adelines International.

1. Facilitate: Sustainability and Growth

Strategic Goal: Facilitate membership growth and organizational sustainability

2. Advance: Music development and expansion

Strategic Goal: Advance the premier women’s barbershop and a cappella organization

3. Provide: Global reach/equitable access

Strategic Goal: Provide equitable access and opportunity to programs and events

4. Rejuvenate: Communications (marketing) branding

Strategic Goal: Rejuvenate image to grow and revitalize membership

The next step is for tactics to be developed to ensure our strategic plan empowers us to live our guiding principles, support our mission, and strive towards our vision. By identifying priorities to focus on, in addition to daily operations, Sweet Adelines International will lay the foundation for a future of musical excellence, expanded and accessible membership benefits, and a continued commitment to sustain and grow the organization.

In addition to the tactics created, metrics will be put into place to measure our progress and help us remain responsive to changes as they arise. The recent all-member survey provided extremely valuable input to the strategic planning process, and we will keep our members engaged and informed as we move the plan forward.

The International Board of Directors and headquarters staff are excited to share this plan with you as as we look to the future and continued advancement of Sweet Adelines International.

6 | April 2024

Sweet Adelines

Strategic Plan

Rejuvenate image to grow and revitalize membership

Provide equitable access and opportunity to programs and events

Facilitate membership growth and organizational sustainability

Advance the premier women’s barbershop and a cappella organization

Welcome Returning IBOD Members

Encouraging words from leaders

Sharon Cartwright Vocalescence Chorus • Region 34 14-year member

The Sweet Adelines International website defines the International Board of Directors (IBOD) as “the governing and decisionmaking body of the organization [with] the authority to spearhead all actions necessary to fulfill its purpose.” From strategic planning and program development to making decisions that affect all Sweet Adelines and outline our future, the IBOD members bring a wealth of experience to the organization.

The election to select members to serve on the International Board of Directors concluded Wednesday, November 29, 2023, and following the election, the International Board of Directors appointed one additional member to the International Board of Directors. The following members will begin their term on May 1, 2024, and will serve along with the continuing members of the Board:

Elected to a three-year term beginning May 1, 2024

Sharon Cartwright, Vocalescence Chorus, Region 34

Elaine Hamilton, Forth Valley Chorus, Region 31

Janice McKenna, A Cappella Joy Chorus, Region 13

Appointed to a one-year term beginning May 1, 2024

Mary Teed, Alberta Northern Lights Chorus, Region 26

Sharon Cartwright Sharon has been a Sweet Adeline since 2008. After many years with Northern Beaches Chorus, she now sings bass with Vocalescence Chorus and Luminous Quartet, both of Region #34, where she is a member of the regional faculty. She is also a member of Sweet Adelines International Faculty. Sharon serves on the Board Resource Advisory Committee and will serve as International Secretary in 2024-25. Sharon also serves as chair of the Regional Leadership Committee. She has previously served on the Editorial Review Board and as Worldwide Moderator, International Rules & Bylaws Specialist and Regional Team Coordinator.

Sharon said, “I’m thrilled about the bold dreams we have to grow our organization. Finalizing and kicking off our new Strategic Plan is an exciting step forward to foster growth and enhance the value each member gets from their Sweet Adelines experience, no matter where they are.” She is honored to serve another term on the IBOD to help make those dreams a reality.

Elaine Hamilton Elaine sings baritone with Mac4 quartet and Forth Valley Chorus in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK), who in 2019 made history in New Orleans when they became the first chorus from Region #31 (Quartet of Nations) to place in the top ten at International competition. Forth Valley have since gone on to secure 6th place at the International contest in Louisville in 2023, another first for the region! Elaine has served on her chorus management team as joint team leader, as assistant director, section leader, and as head of the visual team. Elaine is also a member of the Regional Leadership Committee and has served on the

8 | April 2024

Elaine Hamilton

Forth Valley Chorus • Region 31 33-year member

Janice McKenna

A Cappella Joy Chorus • Region 13 42-year member

Editorial Review Board, the Young Singers Foundation, and the Small to Medium Chorus Value Proposition Task Force. Elaine is just finishing a year as the Regional Team Coordinator, and she also serves on the Education Steering Group and as a member of Region 31’s Faculty.

Elaine writes that she is “honoured to be given the opportunity to serve again on the IBOD and looks forward to giving back to the organisation which has been a huge part of my life for many years.”

Janice McKenna A Sweet Adeline since 1981, Janice has sung in three choruses in three regions, several quartets, and previously served as assistant director of Camellia City Chorus (Region 12). She was an assistant director then interim director of Pacific Sound Chorus (Region 13) and is currently a member of A Cappella Joy Chorus. She has served as Panel Secretary at several regional and international competitions, including the 2023 international competition. She has served on the Member Retention, Nominating, and Finance Committees and is the current chair of the Philanthropy Committee. Janice ‘retired’ at the end of 2023, but is in the process of setting up a financial consultancy to work with non-profits.

She writes, “I am fortunate to be starting my seventh year on the IBOD beginning this May 1, and what I’ve learned is that we have an amazing group of dedicated women who support this organization with their whole hearts and minds. We’ve said for many years now that we need to address our service on the IBOD with ‘Open hearts and open minds’ and I’ve been privileged to

Mary Teed

Alberta Northern Lights Chorus

Region 26 26-year member

share this responsibility with very amazing women. Thank you for allowing me to continue in this role.”

Mary Teed

Mary has been a Sweet Adeline since 1979, singing with several choruses throughout her career. She currently sings with and is assistant director of Alberta Northern Lights Chorus (Region #26), of which she is a charter member. She has served as Director Coordinator and Education Coordinator of her region and at the international level is chair of the Membership Retention Committee, a member of the Philanthropy Committee and is the International Bylaws and Rules Specialist.

Mary writes that she is “looking forward to serving my second year on the board to continue working on the four pillars of our updated strategic plan!”

April 2024 | 9

B“Magical, Electric,…Glorious!”

Sweet Adelines International Donor Bonnie Kerr

onnie Kerr has been a Sweet Adeline since 1973. Invited to visit Dundalk Chorus by a friend, she recalls her first rehearsal with legendary director Fred King.

“The very first time I sat down as a guest, the chorus sang through their entire repertoire, getting ready for a performance to raise funds for school band uniforms for my old high school,” she says. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is serendipity!’ The sounds that came out of that group were so magical. I was mesmerized. I just thought this was the best thing I'd ever heard. I joined right after that, and I've never looked back. It was just wonderful.”

She’s been singing baritone with Sweet Adelines ever since, with Pride of Baltimore after Dundalk, and now with Harbor City Music Company, each with talented and dedicated directors.

“Singing with Sweet Adelines continuously feeds me joy,” she says. “It feeds my soul. When I'm on the risers, the world floats away. No matter what kind of day I've had, I’m in a different world when I’m singing. It's just the most marvelous experience, and it happens all the time. And the friendships are long-lasting, intense, wonderful, and part of the magic of being in a chorus.”

In her long singing career, Bonnie has served several roles at the chorus and regional levels, most of them involving finance. For example, she has been a chorus treasurer and regional finance coordinator. Those roles gave her insight into the financial needs of the organization. Over the years, she has been glad to make several gifts to Sweet Adelines, and she is a member of the Nancy Bergman Legacy Society, which recognizes donors who include Sweet Adelines International in their estate planning. Recently, Bonnie dedicated an estate gift to the Sweet Adelines International Judging Program (IJP).

Bonnie notes that many people do not realize they can make a gift to a specific program (IJP, ACP, etc.) as well as to the wider-focus funds such as general needs, education, young singers, or scholarships. Over her long career, she has come to understand how the judges’ skill and dedication make competition not only exciting but truly educational.

“Competition serves as an incentive to sing better together and a gauge of how well you're doing,” she says. “It also provides a chance for people to come together and learn about other choruses. Education is our foundation, and Sweet Adelines is a lifelong learning experience. Competition is just one happy part of it.”

So happy, in fact, that Bonnie describes competition this way: “It's

magical. It's electric, it's glorious, it's soul-satisfying.”

Dedicated judges are key to the experience.

“The judges have gone through intense training to get to where they are,” says Bonnie. “They have many talents to begin with, and those talents are honed through the International Judging Program. Even if they've been judges for years, they still go through the training, and all their work is reviewed constantly. I’ve known quite a few judges, and they are the most dedicated people. They care so much about what they do, and they want to do it as well as they can to help the performers learn.”

Bonnie hopes her gifts will encourage potential judges.

“The IJP is an intense educational experience that not everybody can do,” she says. “There are expenses involved, and some people just can't take that kind of money out of their family finances. I've seen talented people just not pursue it, and I want to make sure they have the option.”

Bonnie believes in the effectiveness of the IJP because she has experienced it as a competitor.

“Many people support different things, and judging is one that I want to encourage because of my awe and wonder at how talented the judges are,” she explains. “They're spectacular. They're just regular people, but they're brilliant musicians who love what they do, and love the organization, all the choruses, and all the members. They support them as much as they can. They are inspiring, and we’re very lucky to have their dedication to this effort.”

To find out more about the Sweet Adelines International Judging Program (IJP), Visit the certification programs page on the Sweet Adelines website

If you would like to include Sweet Adelines International in your estate planning, please contact Susan Smith, Chief Philanthropy and Administrative Officer at or visit

10 | April 2024

Register by April 19 for your chance to win one of two prizes!

1. One of a limited number of reserved seats to each General Session and both the Rising Star & Diamond Division Contests.

2. One of a limited number of 15 minute Personal Leadership Instruction sessions with a DVLS faculty member.

When you think of great barbershop education, what do you imagine? Whatever you dream, make it a reality when you attend the 2024 Director & Visual Leaders Seminar July 25–27, 2024 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, (USA).

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Imagine had the opportunity to re-ignite your passion for barbershop and put that passion right back into your chorus rehearsals.

Meet the Co-Chairs!

Thursday: Ignite!


Our opening session is designed to ignite (or re-ignite!) your passion for the art form and for our incredible organization. The class will be led by members of our international faculty: current directors of choruses in our organization, master faculty members, certified judges, international quartet champions, past presidents, the current international president, master directors, and a Master 700 director! We can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend and get our brains thinking out of the box!


April 2024 | 15
to right, from top: Jamy Claire Archer; International President Thérèse Antonini; Karen Breidert, Caitlin Castelino, Kathleen Hansen, Erin Howden, and International President-Elect Mary Rhea. Anne Downton & Joan Boutilier
on photo to read full bio

Friday: Innovate!

Imagine could gain new tools for your toolbox to use with all of the different styles of music within your repertoire.

The focus of the day is “innovation.” We want you to leave with new ideas and techniques that will help you re-imagine your rehearsals and tools to improve all of your repertoire — from classic barbershop to widely-recognized popular music!

To use our new skills in a practical setting, the Seminar Chorus will rehearse briefly using Joey Minshall's arrangement of Believe (Shawn Mendes) and then be coached live by guest faculty Ben Bram. If you do not wish to participate in the chorus, an alternate class option will be available during the rehearsal time, or you may want to watch the Seminar Chorus being coached. There will be lots of time for Q&A. Our hope is that everyone leaves with new ideas for how to run rehearsals and take arrangements from the page to the stage while staying true to the style of music and your ensemble's style.

Finally, there will be opportunities to network in smaller groups with musical leaders from choruses at your level (directors and visual leaders will have their own, separate groups). In addition to networking, we hope you can use this time to plan how to successfully implement what you’ve learned in when you return to your own chorus.

Learn from Ben Bram, a pioneer and leader!

Who better to help us innovate than our guest faculty, Ben Bram, a two-time Grammy and Emmy Award-winning vocal arranger, producer, engineer, and educator from Los Angeles,

On Friday, Ben will teach a general session tion-driven classes in smaller groups to offer tips and tricks for working with a diverse musical repertoire.

Pentatonix, R&B girl group Citizen Queen, summer vocal program A Cappella Academy, Ben also has extensive experience in film and TV, working behind the scenes on NBC’s The Sing-Off, Glee, Pitch Perfect 1 and 2, and on commercials for Super Bowl LVII, Honda, Covergirl, Lifetime, and more. To learn more

Saturday: Imagine!

Imagine could spend an entire weekend learning and networking with other leaders of choruses at your level.

About the writer: Imagine...watching

The final day will fly by and leave you imagining new possibilities for your ensemble!

Nine international faculty members will spend the day teaching. In every session, there will be an opportunity to choose a class from five areas:

• Vocal Skills

• Leadership

• Visual

• Elective

• DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).

The best part? Almost every class is brand new, designed solely for the current needs of our directors and visual leaders.

We'll end the day with more networking opportunities. We know that catching up with other directors and visual leaders can be just as beneficial as the classes, and we're giving several opportunities to do so throughout the weekend.

Anne Downton is a co-chair of DVLS 2024 (with Joan Boutilier). The Master Director of Westcoast Harmony Chorus (#26), she sings baritone with 2017 International Champion Quartet Frenzy. Anne is a member of the International Faculty of Sweet Adelines and has served Region 26 as Education Coordinator and on the Regional Education Faculty. She has also served on the International Music Sales & Marketability Committee and as Chair of the Directors’ Resource Task Force.

Admission to both contests is included in your DVLS registration! Diamond

April 2024 | 17
quartet contests!
Division Quartet Contest
July 27, 2024 Rising
Quartet Contest
July 26, 2024

Imagine if…This all took place in the home town of Sweet Adelines International!

Head to Headquarters! Tulsa, Oklahoma is where Sweet Adelines International was founded – and we’re still here! Hop in a car for an approximately 20-minute drive across town to visit Sweet Adelines Headquarters. See dolls representing chorus and quartet champions in the Hughes Gehrke Champion Showcases, and test out the acoustics by singing a tag in the foyer. Stay tuned for information about an open house on Thursday.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. The Hyatt is in the heart of downtown Tulsa, near restaurants, shopping, and other amenities. Right inside the hotel, you’ll find a branch of locally-owned (and oh so good) Topeca Coffee. Just outside is Williams Green, an inviting park perfect for getting a little fresh air in between classes.

Guthrie Green Area

A 10-minute walk (or VERY short drive) brings you to Guthrie Green and, well, just about everything you might want: Magic City Books and other local shops and galleries, high-end restaurants like Amelie’s and more casual ones like the tiny and amazing Que Gusto Ecuadorian cafe or Lone Wolf Bahn Mi. All of these are on the same block as two of Tulsa’s coolest spots for people interested in music: The Bob Dylan Center and The Woody Guthrie Center, both with extensive archives and well-curated permanent and traveling exhibitions about these influential musicians.

Also in that area, you’ll find Chimera Cafe for great coffee, local beers, and vegan options – and it’s across the street from Antoinette Baking Co., in case you need something sweet. Next door to Chimera is Ida Red’s souvenir shop, for discerning t-shirt buyers. All are locallyowned.

Greenwood District

Just a bit farther, you’ll find the historic Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street. There, you will find a variety of local restaurants and businesses as well as the lovely and moving green space that is John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park. The park is a memorialization and historic tribute to those affected in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. To learn more about the history of Greenwood, visit the newly-opened Greenwood Rising museum.

Cherry Street, Brookside, Kendall-Whittier

If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, downtown is near three other walkable areas with local restaurants and shops: Cherry Street, Brookside, and Kendall-Whittier (near Oklahoma’s first food hall Mother Road

Imagine if…We see you there!

To learn more about Tulsa, visit For all things DVLS, from schedules to faculty information, visit

Singing on the Sea!

Ahoy, singing enthusiasts! Set sail with the Rich-Tone Chorus as we look back at our unforgettable voyage into the new year aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Picture this: 60 members of six-time International Champion Rich-Tone Chorus, accompanied by over 150 other Sweet Adelines and guests from across the United States and Canada, casting off from Galveston, Texas (USA), and charting a course for fun and harmony in the sun-soaked ports of Costa Maya and Cozumel (Mexico).

From the moment the ship left port, the air was abuzz with anticipation. Singers from all walks of life came together to revel in the scenic beauty of the Caribbean and to prepare for a crowd-pleasing performance on board. Rehearsal time was rocking—and not just from the swaying of the ship! Under the expert guidance of Master Director 700 Dale Syverson, our guest singers experienced the thrill of honing their vocal talents and performing with newfound confidence.

The week culminated in a spellbinding performance in the ship’s Royal Theater. The Rich-Tone Chorus dazzled passengers with a repertoire of favorites like Sweet Child O’ Mine and Memories. We were then joined by our fellow Sweet Adelines for Change the World, Time and Tide, and Joy. The show received rave reviews, with passengers lauding it as the “best entertainment on the ship,” saying there was

“so much energy pouring off the stage.” For many, it was their first encounter with barbershop music, igniting a newfound appreciation for our art form.

After the performance, Sweet Adelines and guests enjoyed a delightful cocktail hour, camaraderie, and connection -- the perfect finale of our work together. From impromptu tag singing sessions to serenading fellow passengers under the starlit sky in the hot tub, the spirit of harmony was always present. We heard many exclamations of, “I want to do that! I need that in my life!” from passengers.

Indeed, the ship felt like one big Ignite the Sound event, where every interaction was an opportunity to spark the love of making music together! The Sweet Adelines, along with our family and friends, eagerly pointed curious souls toward choruses across the world, inviting them to join the barbershop family.

Even now, the spirit of the Rich-Tone Cruise lives on — a testament to the power of music to unite, inspire, and transform. We are so grateful we were able to embark on a journey of a lifetime with so many friends in song, both old and new. We hope to see you there next time. Until then, bon voyage!

April 2024 | 21
Kelli Hinton is management team leader of six-time International Champion Rich-Tone Chorus.
22 | April 2024

We've gained 1633 new members, and we introduce more every day!

Follow Sweet Adelines International social media to keep up with the latest – and remember to use the hashtag #IgniteTheSound so we can find your news!

Song of Welcome

In 2019, Coachella Acappella was started by Artistic Director Alan Scott, who had a vision to create an a capella chorus, focused mostly on the barbershop style and intent on women’s empowerment. Alan had been working for months with Adelina Dudda, the then current Regional Management Team coordinator for Region 21. And on July 1, a handful of singers began meeting in the choir room at Rancho Mirage High School. By January of 2020, growth was apparent, and the ball began rolling more swiftly toward chartering with Sweet Adelines International. We decided to charter with Sweet Adelines International for the education and networking opportunities it would bring. We had the sense that there had been some changes made within the organization to embody Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and noted the efforts of the organization to grow through the less savory aspects in its past. We wanted to be a part of the change, raising the bar, and “strutting our stuff”, musically speaking. At that time, some of the fundamental administrative were already being worked on, such as Bylaws and Standing Rules, and the group had made some significant gains on a few pieces of standing repertoire.

few members and gained a few others, we were ready to resume the work of building a chorus and completing the chartering process. Undoubtedly, the time apart was the most challenging part of the chartering process.

Our mission statement is: “Coachella Acappella is committed to

As we all know too well, things came to a halt in March of 2020, when COVID-19 forced worldwide closures. After a few weeks of not being able to meet in-person, the group began hosting happy hour on Zoom to try and keep the camaraderie we had built together from fizzling out. As time went on, the Management Team decided to offer Zoom rehearsals. Although we could not sing together, we felt Alan could still have something of value to impart to the membership to keep us together and learning music. Fast-forward to 2022, and we were back in-person, having lost a

opportunities. We create a safe, inclusive atmosphere of community and supportive sisterhood, friendship, and mutual respect for all women singers.” We believe all singers who can sing in our range(s) and can sing our style of music have a place with us. From our early days, we decided as a group that we value musical excellence, community, and building a legacy that will continue long after we are gone. We have local year-round members and snowbird members who are here part of the year. While away, they still join us on Zoom, and every rehearsal is recorded so that members can watch at any time if they are absent, or review something for a refresher. We take July off every year, and generally 2-3 weeks over the winter holidays as well.

A part of our chorus we are most proud of is the development of our outreach program called Acachella, led by our Outreach Director, Karen Blinkinsop. We have chorus volunteers who go into local public high schools, supported by the high school choir directors, and work with youth who are interested in our style of

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music. We brought our first quartet to the Stars of the West contest in June 2023 as a part of our pilot program at Palm Springs High School. We now have more than 10 singers at PSHS, are starting a program at Cathedral City High School, and hope to also begin at Rancho Mirage High School soon. Our plan is to expand into each area public high school over the next couple of years!

Now that we have been through the chartering process, we would recommend any new chorus to not get bogged down in the paperwork and logistics. Keep the ball rolling, and keep your eye on who your chorus has decided to be. Network with your regional management and other choruses you admire, and use ideas and resources from those around you to help you create your documents. Don’t wait for charter completion to begin participating in regional and international educational offerings. It is a fantastic way to put faces with names and build relationships. If anyone is thinking of starting their own chorus,

we say go for it! Get a few singers together and just get started. Choose and purchase some music and start singing. Realize that you don’t have to be a huge stage-full of singers to sound amazing and have fun singing.

Now, with 22 members and growing, we do two shows every year in our local area — one in spring and another in the winter. Last year we were able to do a reboot of our sold-out April show, “Hooked on a Feeling” in June, at the Agua Caliente Palm Springs Cascade Lounge. That is where we held our Winter show as well, entitled “Text Me Merry Christmas.” We have developed a good relationship with Take Five Entertainment, a production and booking company, and hope they continue to book us at the Casino Lounge among other venues in our area and beyond. Keep an eye out, and you might see us competing on the Region 21 stage in 2025!

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Building Chorus Community Through Inclusivity

If you have any questions, would like support for your DEI efforts, or would like to share your challenges and success stories, we would love to hear from you at

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Sweet Adelines rehearsals go beyond ringing chords and learning choreography. For many, they’re also a “home away from home” where members can make memories together and build lasting friendships. The stronger your chorus’s sense of community, and the more people feel like they are seen and that their experiences matter to the group, the easier it is to get members to return week after week and ultimately perform at a higher level.

Some choruses are intentionally learning more about their broader communities and the diversity of racial, age-based, economic, and accessibility factors of the people in their area. Thanks to efforts to build relationships, these choruses most often find that the voices and experiences of others help them know how to make new people feel like they belong on their risers or in their audiences.

Often, small adjustments can have a strong positive effect on individual members, increasing their buy-in and contributing to overall growth. For example, one member reported that their chorus’s costume included a bias cut and flutter-hemmed tunic, which made the member uncomfortable because the femininity of the details did not align with their gender expression. The chorus allowed this member to alter the tunic to be a straight hem. It was a simple adjustment that helped this member feel more genuine on stage and therefore able to focus on the performance rather than their attire. Rest assured that the Sweet Adelines Judging Program completely supports this kind of adjustment in its pursuit of more authentic performances!

"Small adjustments can have a strong positive effect..."

Another opportunity for building a culture of belonging is engaging members in decision-making processes. Many choruses ensure that members have input in visioning, goal setting, and strategic planning exercises. Involving the entire chorus in activities like these can highlight strengths and areas of growth that might not otherwise be explored, inspire new ways for chorus members to contribute to common goals, and ultimately help more people see themselves reflected in Sweet Adelines.

Choruses may be able to increase the longevity of their members and more effectively recruit from underrepresented groups if they prioritize accessibility to full participation by all members on stage. For example, choruses that have singers with mobility aids like scooters or wheelchairs may consider how to incorporate these members in choreography throughout the performance, rather than having them stationary, to show how every member is important.

Many regions have formed or are forming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committees to help more members feel included within their region. One member reported that their Regional Management Team has representation from a DEI Committee which participates in planning and reviewing all communication (including internal and external messages, education plans, marketing, and membership activity highlights) to identify statements that might not align with the Sweet Adelines International Guiding Principles. This practice can contribute to a regional culture where members feel seen, respected, and valued as singers and chorus members.

Sweet Adelines International leadership has developed The Chorus Toolkit to support regions, choruses, and quartets in examining their individual cultures and to take steps towards building an organization-wide culture of belonging. The “Chapter Choices” document can help choruses find opportunities to make their environments more inclusive by thinking through everything from accessibility of the rehearsal space to song lyrics and costuming. The “Glossary” can support creating an inclusive culture by working from a common understanding of vocabulary and terminology, and the Leadership Self-Assessment Survey can help leaders privately think through their strengths and potential areas of growth in building a culture that feels welcoming and comfortable to a wide variety of people.

Additionally, Ignite the Sound is a membership growth initiative coordinated by Sweet Adelines in which an annual goal is set for new member recruitment, whereby resources are shared online, and particularly successful choruses are highlighted. The online resource library contains examples and support for rebranding your chorus, hosting a Guest Night, designing graphics for your next event, and more. The choruses and regions that have the greatest net percentage growth can win cash prizes and virtual coaching sessions to accelerate their musical growth as well. (For more on Ignite the Sound, see page # of this issue!)

The choruses that are most successful in increasing their membership have a two-pronged approach. First, they use resources like Ignite The Sound to welcome diverse new groups into their chorus, and secondly, they leverage information like The Chorus Toolkit to ensure that the environment they provide is inclusive to as many singers as possible.

Gretchen Streett sings baritone with Melodeers Chorus (#3) and serves on the Sweet Adelines International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council (DEIC).

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Harmony Roundup is a place to share your adventures and achievements!

Let us know what your chorus or quartet has been doing in your community. Email your submissions and photos to

Where We Sang:

Several Sweet Adelines sang national anthems at sporting events: Alaska Sound Celebration Chorus (#13) sang Alaska Flag Song at the University of Alaska-Anchorage/University of AlaskaFairbanks hockey game; singing the U.S. national anthem were Toast of Champaign Chorus (#3) at a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign basketball game; Cranberry Shores Chorus (#1) at a Hyannis Harbor Hawks baseball game; Post Road Chorus (#1) at a Holy Cross Bravehearts baseball game; and High Desert Harmony Chorus (#12) at a University of Nevada-Reno basketball game. Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus (#25) performed at the Tulsa Women’s Expo.

How We Sang:

Heart of the Valley (#1) received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Small Projects Grant to fund community performances. Royal River Chorus (#1) performed at the Battle of the Blends, a sold-out a cappella concert hosted by the Maine Music Society. Mayflower A Cappella Chorus (#31) achieved a commendation in the Choirs category and a distinction in the

Barbershop Chorus category at the Saltash Music Festival. Valley Forge Chorus (#19) received the Creative Sector Flex Fund from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. #SweetAdelines.

Why We Sang:

Harmony Central Chorus (#5) performed at a Habitat for Humanity celebration, and members also raised $500 USD for the Food Bank of Central Iowa. Members of Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus (#9) awarded their most recent Harmony Bridge Scholarship, which they founded along with Barbergators Chorus (Barbershop Harmony Society). The Harmony Bridge Scholarship for is for military veterans attending a local college. Gateway Chorus (#17) was represented in the Sing With Love Choir, an event in Edmonton, Alberta (CAN) at which singers from 96 choirs and choruses came together to sing in support of the trans community. Members of Battlefords Blend Chorus (#26) raised $4,724.55 (CAN) at a performance fundraiser for TeleMiracle 48, a charitable drive in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon (CAN).

In October, Minnesota Valley Chorus (#6) sang backup harmonies onstage with the rock band, Foreigner.

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Circular Keys Chorus (#34) performed at The Governor’s Christmas Reception at Government House for Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales (Australia) and her husband Mr. Wilson.

Harmony Fusion Chorus (#12) performed the pre-show for the Valley Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker ballet in Livermore, California (USA). They also sang the famous “ahh’s” during the ballet’s “Dance of the Snowflakes.”

Baton Rouge Chorus (#10) won an award for “Best Live Portrayal” at The Kenilworth Luminary Night. In this neighborhood event, the chorus sang Christmas songs as neighbors strolled or drove by. They are shown here with members of the family who hosted their performance.

Abby Twigger, tenor from Aberdeen Chorus (#31), wrote a beautiful carol and recorded it with members of Aberdeen. The carol, The Lamb, was a Making Music Classic FM Carol Competition winner and was played on the air on Friday, Dec. 22 during The Drive radio show. The chorus debuted the song at their holiday concert.

holiday season.

Alamo Metro Chorus (#10) won first place at the Boerne Retail & Restaurant Owners Association Caroling Contest -- all for the good cause of supporting Boerne Performing Arts.

Vocal Vibes Chorus (#34) loved performing for the Dementia Australia Memory Lane Cafe in Mulgrave, Victoria.They wrote, “We had some very fine voices in the audience joining us for a round and some of the carols.”

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Sacramento Valley (#12) performed at the California Capitol Rotunda in Sacramento during the

In December, members of Kawartha Music Company Chorus (#16) made a $500 CAN donation to Crossroads Shelter for women affected by gender-based violence. They earned the money working at a local bingo center.

Sea Breeze Harmony Chorus (#12) was honored to sing at a fundraiser for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an organization that supports, promotes, and trains volunteer courtappointed advocates for children who are abused or neglected.

On Australia Day, Region #34 choruses Endeavour Harmony (left) and Wollongong Harmony performed at citizenship ceremonies in their communities.

Sweet Adelines Are Forever


Katy Vocal Express had the honor of being asked to sing for Juanita McVay, a former Sweet Adeline who was now in hospice care. We went to her residence and sang a variety of songs, including a few we thought she might know.

Her family said she was generally non-responsive, and as we arrived, she was. But when we started singing, she perked up and started smiling. When we got to a song she knew, Goodnight, Sweetheart, she was singing bass. She knew the bass part to the Rock ‘n’ Roll tag and sang along with us there, too. Her family was ecstatic at her response. We were all crying, of course. We sang a few Christmas carols, and she sang along. As we were leaving, she was happy, her family was happy, and we were happy.

Six months later, we got a call again.

Juanita was not expected to live much longer and they wanted us to come sing for her one more time. So, we loaded up and again came to sing for her. We began singing some hymns and there was no response, but as we continued, her face softened and she became more relaxed. She did not wake, but her mouth was moving as we sang Amazing Grace. The following morning, we received word that Juanita had passed away peacefully. We are so thankful that Katy Vocal Express was honored to be a small part of her journey. Music can touch parts of the mind that nothing else can. When all other memories seem lost, the music is still there just waiting to inspire.

Beth Watkins is the director of Katy Vocal Express (#25).

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Raise the Roof, a quartet from Mayflower Acappella Chorus (#31) recieved The Mary Brown Award for Outstanding Barbershop Singing at the Saltash Music Festival. The award was donated by the chorus in memory of the quartet's late lead.

A Gift of Song as a Thank You

Nelson Bays Harmony Chorus, #35

“I hear you’re a singer?” the nurse said.

“Yes.,” I replied. “I sing with Nelson Bays Harmony Chorus.”

“We’d love to hear you sing sometime.”

That got me thinking.

My husband had a nasty fall and after almost eight weeks in hospital, was due to be discharged. Perhaps a singing performance would be a special and unique way to say thank you and show appreciation to the staff who had helped with his recovery.

Our day singers group, Bays Harmony, was extremely positive, and we put together a programme of happy, upbeat songs.

On the day, the sixteen of us walked to the hospital. We gathered on the grass outside the opened sliding glass doors of the lounge, and the performance began. The lounge was full with patients, the nursing staff plus the physiotherapists who worked on that ward. It was only a brief performance – five songs, and a finale of the doo wop version of Happy Birthday for a family member of a patient, who happened to be having his birthday that day.

At the conclusion, we were told we would be very welcome to return again, so plans are in the pipeline!

June Savage is a member of Nelson Bays Harmony Chorus (#35).

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Redland Rhapsody Chorus (#34) Musical Director Louise Brannon was named a finalist for a Cultural Award in the Redlands Coast Australia Day Awards 2024.

JSmall Choruses, Big Impacts

Sweet Adelines Donor

Meg Mahoney

A long-time donor to Sweet Adelines International, Meg Mahoney recently made a generous gift to help fund the Scholarship for Directors of Small and Midsize Choruses. It’s an area that is near to her heart.

Meg grew up in Minot, North Dakota (USA), a small town with a small Sweet Adelines chorus. Her mother chose to sing in a church choir instead, but she had friends in Minot Chorus, so she always attended their shows, taking young Meg along with her. That’s where Meg learned about barbershop music and knew someday she wanted to be part of Sweet Adelines.

In 1988, Meg made it happen. Now a wife and mother, she moved to Minneapolis, where she left her career as a sportswear buyer for a large department store to raise her children. Right away, she “went on a hunt” for a local Sweet Adelines chorus. She found an advertisement for a men’s barbershop chorus in a local paper, so she called and asked if they knew Sweet Adelines. Of course, they did!

“Connie Miller called me,” Meg recalls. “She was the tenor of 4-Star Collection, who would eventually become the 1997 Queens of Harmony. It turned out that she lived not far from me, so she came and picked me up and took me to a City of Lakes rehearsal, and there you have it.”

Meg never looked back. Since then, she has sung baritone with Pride of Baltimore, Buffalo Gateway, Spirit of the Gulf, and her current chorus, Toast of Tampa. She’s been active in all of them, serving on the music staff, as section leader, and, previously, as assistant director in Pride of Baltimore, Spirit of the Gulf, and Toast of Tampa. She even served as chorus president for one year and briefly directed a small chorus.

After all that experience, both on and in front of the risers, Meg knew she wanted to contribute to the education of directors of small choruses. After all, it was that small North Dakota chorus that first led her to Sweet Adelines!

“I always say to people, ‘Don't ever minimize what kind of a touching experience you might be giving your audience,’” she says. “The women in Minot Chorus gave me an experience that stayed with me for 16 years, and I decided to become a Sweet Adeline based on that. They had a very heartwarming presence that really stuck with me.”

Of course, many small and midsize choruses go on to great success in regional and international competition, but Meg knows firsthand the value of small and midsize choruses whose main focus is community performance. Whether competition or communityfocused or both, all deserve support. Meg says providing their

directors with time and resources for education through the Scholarship for Directors of Small and Midsize Choruses is one way to accomplish that.

“When I was directing, I was fortunate to get great education because in addition to directing, I was always singing in a chorus with really high-level directors,” she says. “A lot of directors don't have that advantage, and it made me realize the importance of education and one-on-one connections with other directors. Having people you can lean on and trust outside the chorus you’re directing is really valuable.”

In her regional roles, Meg also became aware that the majority of Sweet Adelines are in smaller choruses, so most of their education comes from their director at weekly rehearsals. Educating the directors, then, is one way to make sure that the high-level education that Sweet Adelines is known for reaches every member. That’s why Meg focused her recent gift on the Scholarship for Directors of Small and Midsize Choruses, and why she continues to give.

“One need only look at any Sweet Adelines chorus and analyze what it takes to make a rehearsal happen every week to realize how many hands are involved,” says Meg. “In my own experience, I value that feeling of contributing to the team and doing my part as I see all the people around me doing their part. But another reason I want to contribute is out of gratitude for the things that I have gained in my own life through Sweet Adelines – not only the musical training, but, just like everyone says, the wonderful relationships and friendships and the sense of community.”

Thanks to the small but mighty Minot Chorus touching her heart so many years ago, Meg is inspired to ensure that countless other singers have the opportunity to step on the risers and make a difference.

If you would like to contribute to the Small and Midsize Chorus Director Scholarships, please contact Susan Smith, chief philanthropy and adminisrative officer at

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J“Be Brave… You Deserve It.”

Jamy Claire Archer, 2022 Scholarship Recipient

amy Claire Archer was among the first cohort of directors to receive the Sweet Adelines International Scholarship for Directors of Small and Midsized Choruses. An almost 15-year member of the organization, Jamy Claire directs Heart of Columbia Chorus and sings with Song of Atlanta Chorus, both in Region 14. She says the education provided by the scholarship has far-reaching effects, as directors bring everything they learn to their choruses.

A clinical assistant professor in the Auditory-Verbal Therapy Program at the University of South Carolina, Jamy Claire had only lived in the area a short time when she joined Heart of Columbia.

“I joined the chorus in the fall of 2009 and I had some pretty significant illness right after I joined,” she says. “I didn't know anybody in the area except people at work and my chorus family. I was in the hospital here and in Charleston, which is two hours away. My chorus family came to sing, and they called me in the hospital and sang on the phone. Some people drove two hours to visit me – all this over a period of months. My chorus was there for me at a time when I literally didn't have anybody else.”

Jamy Claire recovered, and when Heart of Columbia needed a new director, she says, “I knew I had to step up and be there for my chorus in the way that they were there for me.”

At first, it was “terrifying and scary because I’m not a music major,” Jamy Claire says, but once again, Sweet Adelines stepped up to mentor and support her.

She recalls the mentorship she received from the late Sharon Babb, a fellow baritone and a huge influence. And she tells the story of meeting Song of Atlanta Director Becki Hine while waiting in line for score sheets. “We had probably said five words to each other, and the next thing I know, she invited me to come to observe at a coaching session and take notes – and spend the night at her house!” she says.

Jamy Claire took advantage of Sweet Adelines education throughout her career. Now, she is eager to continue the tradition of mentorship as a director, as a member of the Sweet Adelines International Faculty, and as the education coordinator for her region.

With the scholarship she received, she attended the 2023 International Education Symposium.

“It was the first international educational event after the pandemic, so it was really intimate and highly valuable,” she says. “As a small chorus coming out of a pandemic, we had tried to limit dues and make things more financially accessible for our chorus. Without this scholarship, a lot of choruses couldn't send their directors to training like IES without having to limit other experiences or musical education. It was so poignant to me as I was sitting there in this very

intimate environment, thinking about how many of us were soaking in every bit so that we could maximize the experience to infuse it in every chorus member and make it applicable to what we do.”

Jamy Claire says she is still using the copious notes she took at IES to find ideas for her chorus, and her singers are always excited to try them.

One of the joys of directing a small chorus is that she gets to fully connect with each singer, but she also notes the challenges specific to small choruses that are addressed by this scholarship.

“We have the same responsibilities as a large chorus, but we have fewer people to accomplish those things, so every member has more responsibility, on and off the risers,” Jamy Claire explains. “From a financial standpoint, we have to be extra financially conscious and fiscally responsible with everybody's money. Education is a pillar of Sweet Adelines, and the scholarship for directors of small and midsized choruses really does allow for members of small choruses to have access to high-quality education through their director.”

Jamy Claire encourages other directors to apply for the scholarship.

“The scholarship is an investment in each one of us and beyond us,” she says. “Be brave. You deserve it. Your chorus deserves it.”

The Small and Midsize Chorus Director Scholarship offers financial support to frontline directors leading choruses with up to 60 members. This scholarship facilitates their attendance at Sweet Adelines International-sponsored events that provide director education. Covering event registration, accommodation, and meals, the scholarship is made possible through donations from our generous donors. The goal is to assist dedicated directors in participating in Sweet Adelines education programs, including the Directors and Visual Leaders Seminar scheduled to take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA) in July 2024.

To find out more, visit

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Vowel Formation: The Basics

An explanation of vowels, “the connectors of our words”

produce many more vowels based on what region they are from and what accent they have.

Consonant pronunciation has much less variation than vowel pronunciation between different varieties of English (e.g. American, British, Australian). It is much easier to describe consonants because the articulators contact or approach other parts of the mouth. For instance, to produce the consonant “f,” the top teeth make contact with the lower lip, and air is moved between these two articulators. This constriction of air makes a specific sound, which we hear as an “f.” When producing vowels, the tongue is moving about freely in the mouth, so it is much harder to describe. Typically, we characterize vowels based on tongue position, lip rounding, tense vs. lax vowels, and monophthongs vs diphthongs.

Tongue Position

The shape and movement of the tongue play a large role in how vowels are produced. Small changes in tongue

vertical position of the tongue: high, mid, or low. The two vowels in the example above are both called “front vowels”--the most active part of the tongue is the front part of the tongue, and they are both “high” vowels. This contrasts from the “back vowels,” such as “oo” (“food”--a high back vowel) and “oh” (“go”--a mid back vowel), where the back part of the tongue is most active.

Lip Rounding

Lip rounding can alter vowel sounds. Try to sing “oo” without rounding your lips–it likely no longer has the characteristic sound you would normally think of. Now round your lips and notice the difference. Most back vowels have some degree of lip rounding, but the front vowels are unrounded. In fact, some front vowels (like “ee”) actually have spread lips, like a smile (that’s why people taking a picture say, “Cheese!”). When we are singing, we don’t want to spread our lips too wide to create the front vowels, as that can make our vowels sound “wide” or less resonant.

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Tense versus Lax Vowels “Tense” vowels typically have moreextreme tongue positions than the “lax” vowels, which are closer to the central position. Another distinction between the two is that tense vowels can occur in closed or open syllables, whereas lax vowels can occur in closed syllables but not in stressed open syllables. Closed syllables end in a consonant sound (e.g. “meet”); open syllables end with a vowel (e.g. “me”). Some examples of tense vowels include “ee” (“heat), “ey” (“cake”), “oo” (“food”), and “ah” (“hot”). Some examples of lax vowels include “ih” (“hit”), “eh” (“bed”), and “uh” (“above”).

Monophthongs versus Diphthongs

The final descriptors are based on how much tongue movement there is over the course of the vowel’s pronunciation. In monophthongs, the tongue position stays constant throughout the production of the vowel (e.g. “ah” as in “hot” or “eh” as in “bed”). However, in diphthongs, the tongue moves and the lip rounding may also change, making the vowel sound change from the beginning to the end. For example, the word “night” has a diphthong. The primary vowel is “ah” and the secondary vowel is “ee.” If you slowly pronounce the diphthong, you will feel the tongue move up and forward as you go from “ah” to “ee.”

Regardless of which vowel is being sung, all vowel sounds should be produced on a steady stream of air that moves up from the lungs through the vocal folds, which vibrate to produce voice, and through the vocal tract without any structures or articulators constricting the airflow. If there is tension somewhere along the vocal tract (e.g. in the tongue or within the larynx, also known as the “voice box”), you will likely hear distortion of the vowel or tension within the sound. Too much jaw movement (typically seen as overextending or lowering the jaw) can also distort the vowel and it can be difficult to perceive which vowel is being sung.

When a quartet or chorus has members from different geographic regions, they may need to clarify which vowel sound is targeted in certain words so there is unity within the group. For instance, the vowel in “caught” can be pronounced as “aw” or “ah,” which can impact the clarity of the word (sometimes seen on score sheets as “internal synchronization”) if the singers are unsure which vowel to sing. If a group is learning a song in a language they do not speak, it can be helpful to write out the words phonetically to ensure the words are being sung correctly and with unity amongst all singers.

Vowels are what allow us to sing legato lines; they are the connectors of our words. We achieve overtones primarily on vowel sounds, and we can do so much more dynamically with vowels than with consonants. They help us to create the beauty that is a cappella.

Caitlin Castelino is the director of Diablo Vista Chorus (#12) and a Speech-Language Pathologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California (USA). She sings baritone in 2014 International Champion Quartet, LoveNotes, and she competed with Bay Area Showcase Chorus for many years.

Come to the Directors and Visual Leaders Seminar in July 2024 to learn more about the beauty of word sounds!

To learn more, watch these video resources.

• Articulation of some major English vowels

• Vocal Tract MRI Shows The Complexity of Speech

• MRI Vowels


Articulators: The physical attributes that affect the way a sound is pronounced, e.g. teeth, tongue, lips

Monophthongs: A sound in which the tongue position stays constant throughout the production of the vowel (e.g. “ah” as in “hot” or “eh” as in “bed”)

Diphthongs: A sound in which the tongue moves and the lip rounding may also change, making the vowel sound change from the beginning to the end. For example, the word “night” has a diphthong. The primary vowel is “ah” and the secondary vowel is “ee.”

April 2024 | 35
“I’m goin’ to Kansas City… Kansas City, here I come!”
-Fats Domino
36 | April 2024 202 4

(USA) is the birthplace of musicians of all types – and it’s one of the cities instrumental in the formation and innovation of jazz music. This October, Sweet Adelines from around the world bring barbershop a cappella singing to this vibrant arts city for our international convention and competition. Get ready…Kansas City, here we come!

Kansas City, Missouri is the only U.S. city to be named a “City of Music” by UNESCO, and we are proud that our convention will become part of its history.

April 2024 | 37
Charlie Parker. Burt Bacharach. Janelle Monáe. Puddle of Mudd. Tech N9ne. Kansas City, Missouri

Monday Funday!

We had a great time at Monday Funday last year, so let’s do it again! In Kansas City, we’ll have workshops taught by Sweet Adelines faculty and staff along with the Monday Funday Chorus.

Vocal Warm-ups:

Alyson Chaney

Physical Warm-ups:

Anna-Lisa Glad

Mental Prep for Performance: Nicholas Winterrowd

Early bird registration is open until June 7. Get the tweedly, deedly, deets at!

38 | April 2024

Monday Funday Chorus Leaders

Director: Lori Lyford

Tenor Section: Corinna Garriock

Lead Section: Lori Lyford

Baritone Section: Anne Downton

Bass Section: Kim Wonders

Coach: Betty Clipman

The chorus will perform on the international stage on Thursday night following the International Chorus Semifinals. Watch the Sweet Adelines website for additional information and to get your music for this fun event!

K.C.'s the town, home of the go-getters -Tech9ne

April 2024 | 39

Education All Week Long!

or a few hours!

Personal Vocal Instruction (PVI) Under Glass:

Peggy Gram, Patty Cobb Baker

Watch for more information on how to sign up for a chance to work with a coach to identify vocal strengths and opportunities for improvement. All PVI sessions are open for public observation.

Quartet Coaching Under Glass:

Dale Syverson, Betty Clipman, Nicky Salt, Renée Porzel

Any registered non-competing SA quartet is eligible to be drawn to receive a mini-coaching session. All sessions open to public observation.

Arranging Class • Kay Bromert

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Class

Join the DEI Council and Sweet Adelines International's DEI consultant Justice Waidner Smith for this highly interactive class on how to initiate and engage in powerful and productive conversations that will support us in advancing the Culture of Belonging in Sweet Adelines.

Regional Leadership Committee Networking Session

2024 International Champion Lions Gate Chorus

Chorus Education Class:

2024 International Champion Lions Gate Chorus

Master Director Sandy Marron and the singers of Lions Gate Chorus will share how to delegate aspects of performance (script, costuming, etc.) and encourage singers to step into leadership roles.

2023 International Champion The Ladies

Quartet Education Class:

2023 International Champion Quartet The Ladies

The Ladies will share what they’ve learned about how understanding individual members and quartet dynamics have taught them to work through differences and become stronger.

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2014 International Champion Quartet LoveNotes

Out and About in Kansas City

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City

Jazz and barbecue…Kansas City is known for them, and with good reason! But did you also know it’s the City of Fountains, with more fountains than any other city in the world besides Rome? Read on for suggestions about where to visit, what to eat, and where to go in vibrant, fun Kansas City, Missouri!


Jazz It Up!

The Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District is a short drive from the Convention happenings, but it’s worth a trip if you’re into jazz music. The American Jazz Museum brings history to life with interactive exhibits. Part of the museum, the historic Gem Theater is a performance space, and the Blue Room hosts regular jazz events, including free Monday night jam sessions. (This district is also home to the excellent Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.) Other options for hearing jazz are The Drum Room at the Hotel President and the Green Lady Lounge.

Kansas City Barbecue

“Barbecue” means different things in different regions of the U.S. In Kansas City, it means meat slow-smoked over hickory and oak with a complex dry rub that sometimes includes brown sugar. The tomato-based sauce is thick, and made with molasses and black

pepper. There are many, many local barbecue joints, but here are a few options: Gate’s BBQ, Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue Restaurant, Slap’s BBQ, Q39 (which also serves vegetarian dishes), Jack Stack BBQ, and Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue.

Power & Light

Not far from our convention area, the Power & Light District is a lively area of large restaurants and bars. The Yard House, BRGR Kitchen + Bar, and celebrity chef Guy Fieri's Dive & Taco Joint are a few of the many options there. Importantly for night owls, Insomnia Cookies is also in the P&L District. They offer cookies for delivery until 3 a.m…and we know some of you are still going strong at 3 a.m. during convention.

City Market, Country Club, Crossroads

A short trolley ride away is the City Market District, a walkable area where you can find local eateries, shops, and specialty grocers.

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Here, you’ll find foods from around the world, from Italian to Vietnamese, Brazilian and Filipino.

Bear with the Swifties a moment: If you’ve been following the Kansas City journey of mega-superstar singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, check out the Country Club Plaza, where you can try out the cinnamon roll she ordered at Rye or peruse the offerings at EB & Co., where the "Guy on the Chiefs'" mom bought her the “87” ring. Even if you’re not a Swiftie, you might enjoy the wide variety of national and local (more than 45!) shops and restaurants at the Plaza.

For local art galleries, restaurants, coffeehouses, breweries, shops, and more, visit Crossroads Art District. There you’ll also find Union Station, an indoor space housed in a historic train station. If it’s too hot or cold outside, Union Station is a nice place to visit traveling national exhibits, watch 3D movies, or explore the Science City interactive museum – or just have a bite to eat and walk around in comfort.

A few other local recommendations: Cosentino’s Market (a local grocer with a great deli), Messenger Coffee Co. & Ibis Bakery, and Christopher Elbow Chocolates. If you have some time, visit the

expansive Nelson Adkins Museum of Art (and get a selfie with the giant shuttlecock statue!) or Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. You can also find the excellent the National World War I Museum & Memorial. Kansas City is also home to Hallmark – yes, the greeting card and Christmas movie company – and they have a visitor’s center.

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Here we come!





April 2024 | 45 Division A 1. Carolina Style Chorus • Region #14 2. Sound of Sunshine Chorus • Region #9 3. Merrimack Valley Chorus • Region #1 4. Greater Auckland Chorus • Region #35 5. OC Sound Chorus • Region #21 Division AA 1. Alba Show Chorus • Region #32 2. Midwest Crossroad Chorus • Region #3 3. A Cappella Joy Chorus • Region #13 4. Bridges of Harmony Chorus • Region #9 5. Endeavour Harmony Chorus • Region #34 1. San Diego Chorus • Region #21 2. Pride of Portland Chorus • Region #13 3. Christchurch City Chorus • Region #35 4. Snowflake Singers Chorus • Region #32 5. Greater Harrisburg Chorus • Region #19 6. Velvet Hills Chorus • Region #8 7. Greater Harmony Chorus • Region #17 8. Westcoast Harmony Chorus • Region #26 9. Motor City Blend Chorus • Region #2 10. Pacific Empire Chorus • Region #12 11. River Blenders Chorus • Region #5 12. Skyline Chorus • Region #8 13. Harborlites Chorus• Region #21 14. Farmington Valley Chorus • Region #1 15. Melodeers Chorus • Region #3 16. Kansas City Chorus • Region #5 17. The Woodlands Show Chorus • Region #10 18. North Metro Chorus • Region #16 19. Santa Monica Chorus • Region #11 20. Aberdeen Chorus • Region #31 21. Spirit of the Gulf Chorus • Region #9 22. Pride of Kentucky Chorus • Region #4 23. Lace City Chorus • Region #31 24. Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus • Region #25 25. Song of Atlanta Chorus • Region #14 26. Spirit of Syracuse Chorus • Region #15 27. Metro Nashville Chorus • Region #4 28. City of Lakes Chorus • Region #6 29. Liberty Oak Chorus • Region #15 30. York Harmony Chorus • Region #16 31. Vienna-Falls Chorus • Region #14 32. Top of the Rock Chorus • Region #25
1. Region #19 2. Gusto! 3. Region #15 4. Region #12 5. Region #9 6. Region #32 7. Region #25 8. Region #5 9. Region #13 10. Region #35 11. Region #26 12. Wildcard 9 13. Wildcard 1 14. Region #6 15. Region #14 16. Wildcard 6 17. Wildcard 4 18. Region #31 19. Region #21 20. Lucille 21. Duly Noted 22. Region #1 23. Wildcard 7 24. Clever Girl 25. Wildcard 10 26. Fortuity 27. Presto! 28. VOCE 29. Region #11 30. Region #10 31. Region #2 32. Wildcard 3 33. Region #16 34. Region #17 35. Dynasty 36. Wildcard 5 37. Wildcard 8 38. Wildcard 2 39. All Fired Up 40. Region #3 41. Region #8 42. Region #34 43. Sirens 44. Region #4 45. Tenacious 46. First Class 47. Endeavour 48. PrimeTime
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The second in a three-part series on membership recruitment and retention

In this series of three Q&A articles, Vickie Maybury (Master 700 Director, Skyline Chorus) and Kathy Scheel (Master Director, Oregon Spirit Chorus) address questions about their philosophy and approach for keeping the momentum going through the natural attrition of chorus membership. Both directors have enjoyed success in building and maintaining members and are eager to share what worked for their choruses.

“It’s the music that brings us together, but it’s the friendships that make us stay,” says the popular song by Clay Hine. Connection — both musical and personal — is a key component of thriving choruses. What encourages these important connections between members and musical leaders, and how can we best share knowledge about each singer’s part in our global organization?

Why is connection important?

Vickie: We are a social species, and we need other people; our artform demands it. To truly create memorable and moving moments for our singers and our audiences, we must be connected to one another in authentic and meaningful ways. We also need connection to be healthy humans — to have balance, belief in self, and continual learning. If we neglect our need to connect, we put our health at risk.

Kathy: Each time we’ve done a survey to see how members feel about various chorus activities, one of the questions is to ask what

their favorite thing is about chorus. Every time, their number one answer is “friendships.” Connecting with others gives us happiness, creates new opportunities, improves our physical and mental health, reduces stress, and provides encouragement! And there’s something incredibly powerful and very intimate that comes from sharing your voice — other voices in harmony!

How do you plan and prepare for chorus guests?

Vickie: Our Membership Manager is a professional educator with an extensive background in educational programming, enculturation, and significant regional and international leadership experience. She has built a team of “connectors” who help new members connect in activities that allow them to engage in and contribute to the Skyline journey immediately, increasing their connection and “shrinking” the city of Skyline to neighborhoods of friends. This approach requires actively listening to why someone is interested in being part of this journey and what their backgrounds and interests are. It requires leaders to be knowledgeable about the many opportunities we have to contribute so they can connect new singers to those opportunities.

Kathy: Everyone in Oregon Spirit establishes connections with each other, starting with the assignment of a Chorus Buddy who helps answer questions about the music, makes introductions to others in the group, explains some of the new terminology, and

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Master 700 Director, Skyline Chorus

Master Director, Oregon Spirit Chorus

follows up with an email to offer further assistance. We make sure to invite people to afterglows, where we really get acquainted and learn about each other’s jobs, families, and interests, and laugh a lot — now THAT is a bonding experience! We invite new people to informal social gatherings like wine tastings, coffee outings, and pre-chorus dinners to strengthen those relationships.

How else do you help new people feel a part of the chorus?

Vickie: We live the Sweet Adelines International Culture of Belonging guiding principle. I connect with guests to get a sense of how they’re feeling about the chorus and their voice part. Our Rookie Coordinator pairs new members with mentors who are friendly and knowledgeable and help navigate all the firsts (show, regional competition, international competition, retreats, coaching, etc.). The cohort learning model makes it easier to keep track of where people are in their journey and to ensure we’re providing appropriate context for what’s happening.

We have a Rookie Facebook group where we share information and encourage conversations. New members build strong relationships that help them feel comfortable asking subsequent questions and contributing to conversations. Their opportunities to interact with the musical leaders facilitate ease and comfort, as well. Our Rookie Coordinator meets with new members on Zoom before competitions to convey how the experience will unfold and answer questions.

Also, our performances are scripted and staged in ways that make it easy for singers to move on/off, which encourages singers to participate even if they don’t know the entire repertoire. There is nothing like the applause to hook singers in!

Kathy: The Chorus Buddy makes sure guests are introduced to others; that’s how those important friendships begin. We also bring our guests up front and introduce them (with wild applause), and a picture is taken and posted on social media. We also invite our new members to join our Facebook group so we can tag them in pictures, which makes it fun for them to share. I check in with guests one-on-one and via email, too.

A couple of times a year, we do a VOX (Virtual Orientation Xtras, formerly known as Rookie Orientation) with Musical and Membership segments. Our awesome Membership Coordinator and I invite new people to a Zoom session where we talk about performances, shows, contest, costumes, the international organization, our region, and other topics.

From open houses to meetups to rebranding, social media strategies and more…

Find recruitment and retention ideas that worked for other Sweet Adelines in the Ignite the Sound Resource Library!

April 2024 | 47
Vickie Maybury Kathy Scheel

Song Evaluation Updates

These songs’ rating have changed since July 2023 to the rating listed below. For details on the new rating, visit the Song Assessment Tool (SAT) page on the Sweet Adelines website to log into the Song Evaluation Database (SED).


(song is admissible, but there is notable information regarding its history)

All I Do is Dream of You Aquarius

Are You Having Any Fun?

Be Careful, It's My Heart

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, A Feeling Good

Go the Distance

Happy Holiday

I Won't Say (I'm in Love)

Make 'Em Laugh


Runnin' Wild

Singin' in the Rain Sisters

Song is Ended, The Wonderful Day Like Today, A You Were Meant For Me


(song is admissible only with required change to lyrics)

Bewitched Theme Song

Errand Girl for Rhythm / Hit that Jive, Jack medley (Arns)

Jazz Came Up the River

America the Beautiful


(song is admissible only with required action)

All of these songs remain YES: CAUTION, but an additional action regarding choreography is now required.

Akaka Falls

Aloha 'Oe

Hawai'i Aloha

Hawai'i Pono'i

Hawaiian Lullaby

Honolulu City Lights

Mele Kalikimaka

Queen's Prayer

These Islands


What Aloha Means


Did you know?

Contest Scores & the SAT

1. The non-race “DEI Categories” listed in the Song Evaluation Database and the related notes in the “Additional Questions to Consider” section of song Research Documents and Arrangement Notes do not in any way affect admissibility and do not impact contest scores.

2. YES: Note does not in any way impact contest scores.

3. YES: Lyrics & YES: Caution may impact contest scores (and/or result in disqualification) only if the noted required actions are not followed.

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Virtual Memorial Wall

Honor the memory of a Sweet Adeline by having their name added to the Sweet Adelines International Virtual Memorial Wall. Memorial donations help continue the legacy of our beloved members by providing funds for the events, education, and other programs that keep our organization thriving.

To find out how to give a memorial gift in the name of a Sweet Adeline, visit or email Becky Duncan, Assistant Director of Philanthropy at

In Memory •

Barbara Hill, Mission Valley, #12

Phyllis Acre, Song of the Lakes, #2

Denise Benshish, Enchanted Mesa Show, #21

Shona Muir, Forth Valley, #31

Toula Oberlies, Capital City, #4

Marilyn Reno, Spirit of Harmony, #6

Joan Jones, Lady Luck Showtime, #11


Elizabeth (Betty) Haynie Shades of Harmony

Cynthia Sieloff Heart of the Blue Ridge

January-March 2024

Judy Biber, Buffalo Gateway, #17

Thelma Williams, Jet Cities, #13

Dawn Valois, Carolina Harmony, #14

Joy Baker, Vocal Matrix, #14

Marilyn Lewis, Upper Chesapeake, #19

A. LaDelle Brown, ChannelAire, #11

Cheryl Marsden, Vocal Harmonix, #19


Gunhild Olson Member-at-large

Anne M. Hoffa Member-at-large

Judy Meiner, Tucson Desert Harmony, #21

Patricia Holmes, Indi-Anna, #17

Annette Gauthier, Kansas City, #5

Lois Ament, Harborlites, #21

Muriel Freeman, Harborlites, #21

Barbara Cole, Gem City, #4

Former Sweet Adelines honored with a Memorial Gift

Betty Decker Port City Pearl Chapter

April 2024 | 49


Accolades as of March 2023

Advanced to Certified Director

Sara Barron, Mayflower A Cappella, #31

Susan Williams, Riverport, #3

Laurie Grani, Bytown Beat, #16

Grand Traverse Show Chorus Seeks New Director

Grand Traverse Show Chorus is seeking a new director! Our small chorus from Northern Michigan has competed at Harmony Classic - twice! Our goals are to grow our membership, perform more in our community and return to the international stage. Our sisterhood is strong! We meet on Tuesday evenings in Traverse City, Michigan. Visit html for more information.

City of Lakes Chorus Seeks New Director

City of Lakes Chorus, based in Minneapolis, MN seeks applicants for Chorus Director. We are the 2018 8th place International medalist. We’re seeking an experienced director for this paid position who has a passion for excellence and barbershop music!

Apply immediately to begin duties in late 2024. More info at

Ask about the Director Search Advertising Program!

Email for details. LOOKING FOR A NEW DIRECTOR?

Velvet Hills Chorus Seeks New Director

Velvet Hills Chorus in Colorado Springs, CO is looking for a dynamic experienced director committed to excellence to begin in January 2025. This Region 8 chorus has regularly placed first or second at the regional contest. We will compete in the 2024 International Competition as a top 10 chorus. Visit for more information. Applications due by June 30, 2024.

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April 11

Lady A Cappella 2024 International Champion Quartet Quad City Sound 2023 Diamond Division Champion Quartet Cosmic 2023RisingStarChampionQuartet
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