The Pitch Pipe January 2024

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The | January 2024 | Volume 77 — No.3

Pitch Pipe THE




2024 International Champion Quartet

Lady A Cappella


2024 Harmony Classic Division A Champion Chorus REGION #34, Canberra, AUS


Pitch Pipe January 2024 | Volume 77 — No.3

In Every Issue

Events and Competition

3 5 50 63 64

14 24

2023 International Convention Recap

Top 10 International Quartets

International Updates

26 28 31 34



2024 Harmony Classic Division AA Champion Melodeers Chorus

38 41

2024 Harmony Classic

From Our President From Our CEO Harmony Roundup In Memory Accolades

2023 IBOD Election Results


40 44 49 58

Chapter Longevity Awards 50- and 60-Year Member Awards Harmony Across Oceans Ignite the Sound Volume 2

42 43 46

2024 International Champion Quartet, Lady A Cappella 2024 International Champion Lions Gate Chorus Top 10 International Choruses 2024 Harmony Classic Division A Champion Brindabella Chorus

President's Lifetime Achievement Award: Toula Oberlies 2023 Ann Gooch Award: Annika Christensen 2023 Music Educator Award: Lauren Fladland The Coronet Club Show



8 12 54 56 60

10 48

Education. Community. Connection. The Benefits of Competition Why DEI? Membership Momentum, Part 1 Roadmap to a Great Rehearsal

"Camaraderie Wherever You Go": Von Roberts "Pure Joy and Enthusiasm": Melodee Wright

On the Cover: 2024 International Champion Quartet, Lady A Cappella

January 2024 | 1


Anytime. Anywhere. Read The Pitch Pipe on ISSUU! P Pitcchh Pipe EE IC IC OO E E VV TH TH



Quad City Sound l Champion

iona 2024 Internat


January 2024 | Volume 77 — No.3 |

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

_____________________________________ INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS Tammy Talbot Chief Executive Officer Kim Berrey Editor-in-Chief Stacy Pratt Staff Writer Ben Larscheid Graphic Designer Joey Bertsch Staff Photographer

INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS 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

77 — No.3 Volume 77 — No.2 2024 | |Volume October 2023 agazine.comm| |January pitchpipem

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Pitch Pipe


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EDUCATION DIRECTION COMMITTEE Marcia Pinvidic, Chair Joan Boutilier Jenny Harris Betty Clipman Valerie Taylor EDITORIAL REVIEW BOARD Alyson Chaney Mary Rhea Betty Clipman Kate Towne Michelle Neller ______________________________________ 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.

Access each issue on the Sweet Adelines website or at Enjoy an enhanced reading experience! • Interactive flip pages • Active URLs • Embedded videos within content • Article Highlights


Find us at

2 | January 2024


@SweetAdelinesIntl @SweetAdelines

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.

From Our President


ach new year brings with it hope and opportunity, and those thoughts are at the heart of this issue of The Pitch Pipe. For many of us, much of our focus will turn now to competition preparations. As we prepare, we can gain insight into the experience from articles in this issue about how to get the most out of both the competitive and noncompetitive aspects of our upcoming Regional Convention experiences. Rest assured that our Regional Management Teams and volunteers along with the participants of our Judging Program have their preparations in full swing too, and we won’t want to miss any of the great opportunities that they have waiting for us! For all of us, the quality of our membership experience will remain the highest priority in 2024. With Ignite the Sound Volume 2 off to a thrilling start, we keep adding valuable tools that help ensure our new members know how much they are welcomed and appreciated. We’ll be including highlights and tips in this issue, and future issues, on how to capitalize on the momentum of this exciting program and keep building to continue keeping the flame alive! All of this makes it an ideal time to explore how our efforts in the area of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) provide essential support for organizational growth that aligns perfectly with our Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles. This issue includes perspectives on how the intentional integration of DEI principles can help us to strengthen our Culture of Belonging and contribute in meaningful ways to both membership attraction and membership retention. We are united in our love of our music and performance opportunities; through the diverse experiences, thoughts, talents, and perspectives that our individual members bring, our organization, and all of our lives, will continue to be enriched. We are here, together, and I am so happy to share membership in Sweet Adelines with each of you at this moment in time. I wish you all the happiest of New Years and look forward to the time we will share together in the exciting year ahead. Thank you (for everything you do),

Thérèse Antonini

January 2024 | 3


2024 Kansas City Registration Now Open! Registration Type

Early Bird


(ends June 7)

(begins June 8)

International Competitor



Volunteer (served the previous year)









Youth (25 and under)



All prices listed in USD.

4 | January 2024

From Our CEO What is the role of the Membership Department in Ignite the Sound?

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 Membership Department via a Q&A with Membership Manager Laura Crockett.

Who makes up the Membership Department?

Laura Crockett, Membership Manager

Keisha Gansen, Membership Coordinator /Quartet Registrar

Donna Fleming, Receptionist

Along with Marketing, Membership has created our Ignite the Sound resources. The Membership department is constantly on the lookout for chorus initiatives that have helped a chorus grow and maintain their membership. We interview choruses and quartets about what they did that worked and create the resources you can find online that help other choruses or quartets implement similar initiatives. We also brainstorm ideas for what choruses and quartets might need (for example, we noticed strong choruses are fiscally sound – so we created a fundraising resource) and work on creating those materials. We also track membership numbers and work with the regions to make sure they’re on track. We also come up with the micro-contest ideas and implement those as well, as well as going through the submissions and helping the winners claim their prizes.

What are some of the fun and/or meaningful parts of working with Sweet Adelines in this capacity? In general, we love getting to work with our passionate and talented members each day in an organization they so clearly love. We all have favorite parts, though. I work with our 50/60 year members to celebrate their milestones with the organization. These members are so passionate, and they were key to driving Sweet Adelines into the 21st century. Keisha loves getting to talk to our members every day. She loves to hear their stories about how they found Sweet Adelines, the journeys Sweet Adelines has taken them on, and what it has meant to them personally. It is so much bigger than just singing! She also wants to let you know that if you talk to her on the phone, she’d love for you to share your own story! As the first point of contact for anyone who calls Sweet Adelines Headquarters, Donna enjoys the privilege of speaking to members who call. She loves to hear their unique stories and getting to know many of them by name. She says their passion for Sweet Adelines inspires her to live a more passionate life herself!

In harmony,

What are your main responsibilities? The Membership Department assists our members, chapters, and regions and focuses on membership growth and retention. Daily tasks can include assisting with chapter roster changes like transfers, dual members, member invoices, and resignations. We process member longevity and help with chorus administration such as region changes, chapter name changes, and chapter officer education. Choruses or individual members can come to us for assistance in conflict resolution and policy adherence. We also work with prospective choruses and choruses in Revitalization.

Tammy Talbot

January 2024 | 5

2024 International Board of Directors Election Results


he election to fill three expiring terms on the International Board of Directors (IBOD) concluded on November 29, 2023, at 3 p.m. CST (9 p.m. GMT). Elected to a three-year term were Sharon Cartwright, Vocalescence Chorus, Region 34, Elaine Hamilton, Forth Valley Chorus, Region 31, and Janice McKenna, Chapter-at-Large, Region 13. The term runs May 1, 2024, through April 30, 2027. The Board also appointed one member to serve a one-year term beginning on the same day. The

appointee is Mary Teed, Alberta Northern Lights Chorus, Region 26. Sweet Adelines International President Thérèse Antonini said that participation in the 2023 election stood at 90.3 percent, lower than the 94 percent participation recorded in the 2022 election. This year, six regions achieved 100 percent chapter vote participation: Midwest Harmony Region 3, Greater NY/ NJ Region 15, Lake Ontario Region 16, Quartet of Nations Region 31, Southern Cross Region 34, and New Zealand Region 35.

Sharon Cartwright

Elaine Hamilton

Janice McKenna

Mary Teed

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.

6 | January 2024

Directors & Visual Leaders, Imagine If… Let your imagination run free at the Directors and Visual Leaders Seminar (DVLS)! Thursday: Ignite your ideas. Directors & Visual Leaders Seminar

Friday: Innovate! Saturday: Imagine the possibilities…

Registration Opens January 2024

Directors and Visual Leaders Seminar Tulsa, Oklahoma • July 25-27, 2024 Hyatt Regency Downtown

January 2024 | 7

Education. Community. Connection. Getting the Most Out of Your Regional Convention Experience


s preparations for our 2024 regional conventions kick into high gear, many of us set the focus of rehearsals on the goals for which we strive and the

quality of performances we put on stage. Sweet Adelines International is an educational orga-

nization, and education is certainly the primary reason behind our competition model. We recognize the educational value of competition right in our Mission Statement! The evaluations we receive from our judges provide encouragement to continue our work and guidance on our road maps to achieving even more exciting and excellent performances. (To learn more about getting the most from evaluations, see Paula Davis’s article on page 12 of this issue!)

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Education One of the wonderful things about our regional conventions, though, is that the educational value includes much more than our own experience on the stage. In addition to what we can learn simply by watching the rest of our regional performers, most regions include additional formal educational opportunities for their attendees that provide us with access to an element of education that goes far beyond the day-to-day scope available to us in our individual choruses and quartets. In my travels as a Panel Secretary, I have observed innovation and creativity designed to enhance the educational value of regional conventions. Be sure to check your regional convention schedule carefully to make sure you can take advantage of all your region has to offer. Consider attending classes, signing up for personal vocal sessions if they are available, and participating in discussion forums that enable you to tap into the knowledge and shared experiences of others in the region.

Community While we recognize education as a primary aspect of Sweet

Adelines, we know that our membership also offers a strong sense of community from the many stories that our members share. Many speak of their choruses and quartets in terms of deep friendship and even family. Through our regions, that community is expanded. There are great opportunities for outreach and connection that come with the regional convention experience. One of the best ways to strengthen the sense of belonging in any community is by volunteering, and volunteers are critical to the success of any regional convention. When you volunteer in any way, you contribute to the experience of every competitor – including yourself! You can explore areas of interest – you may prefer pre-convention tasks like helping with the convention program or on-site tasks like helping in the traffic pattern. Any task you do as a volunteer is important, and if you are interested in pursuing a leadership role in Sweet Adelines, volunteering for regional convention is an excellent way to get started!

Connection When it comes to connection that builds community, the

opportunities for connection that regional conventions offer are almost limitless. Regional convention is like a big reunion! There are people we see only at this time of year and people we are meeting for the first time. During the competition session, and unrelated to the ultimate outcome of the contest, there is a shared joy and celebration in cheering on a perennial favorite performer or welcoming a novice group to the stage, an ability to provide encouragement and support to a group that is struggling or rebuilding, and the thrill of being a performer on the receiving end of audience appreciation! Outside of the competition sessions, there are opportunities to connect in groups large and small. From sets of roommates who share traditions and stories year after year to groups who host party venues where we just keep singing, to the establishment of brand-new friendships, we are all a part of a community that continues to build and strengthen year after year. An awareness of how few and far between these opportunities are can help us develop an appreciation for how important they are to our convention experience. When you attend your regional convention this year, think about the uniqueness of the moments that are yours. If you’ve ever tried to explain your experience to someone outside of Sweet Adelines, you know there is something to living the experience that goes beyond explanation. Enjoy every minute of your regional convention fully, and if this year is a year you will not be attending, please hurry back – you are an important part of us and we will miss you!

Thérèse Antonini is Sweet Adelines International President and sings with North Metro Chorus. She has served in a wide variety of administrative roles, from chorus administration to Regional Management Team involvement to the International Board of Directors, where she is a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.

January 2024 | 9

“Camaraderie Wherever You Go” Sweet Adelines International Donor Von Roberts


s a child, Von Roberts was told just to mouth the words, not actually sing, in programs and other performances. “You don’t know how to use your voice,” she was told. It’s no surprise, then, that she didn’t sing in school choirs or anywhere else. She thought she couldn’t sing. Many years later, she found herself living in Alaska. One year, she joined a bus tour to see Christmas lights. In between destinations, a group of women led carol singing on the bus. You didn’t have to sing in harmony. Everyone was just having a good time. “Our bus must have been full of leads and tenors, because they were starting all the Christmas carols high,” recalls Von. “I started singing an octave down, then more people started singing. Pretty soon, I get this tap on my shoulder and a lovely woman whispers in my ear, ‘How would you like to sing at Carnegie Hall?’ Now, that is something I never thought I would hear!” That woman was from the local Sweet Adelines chorus, now called Alaska Sound Celebration. She invited Von to chorus rehearsal in December. Von sang with them at regional competition in the spring, and in the summer, the little girl who was told to mouth the words instead of singing found herself singing at Carnegie Hall! “As people often say about Sweet Adelines, it was life-changing,” says Von. Today, Von sings bass (of course!) with Pride of Portland Chorus, where she also serves as finance director, assisted by her sister, Barbara Bach. Both are Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in their professional lives, and they are proud to bring their knowledge and experience to an organization they love. Having an inside perspective on the financial aspect of Sweet Adelines International, Von has made several contributions to the organization, including through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), also known as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Rollover. (See box for more information.) “As a finance director, one of my goals has been to share information with our chorus about where their money goes – paying the director, rehearsal space rent, things like that,” she says. “Beyond that, we consider what is important to us and make sure we are doing things to support that.” For example, Von’s chorus has a Helping Hand fund to assist members who need financial help to continue singing with the chorus. This money is separate from the chorus budget, so it does not come out of dues but from giving. She said it has especially helped the chorus attract and retain younger members who may be

10 | January 2024

raising children or going to university on a tight budget. Another advantage is that it has clearly shown members the value of giving. “As I was planning my will, I was talking budget matters with a financial advisor friend who said most people like to leave something to an organization or a place to which they have a spiritual connection,” says Von. “For me, that is Sweet Adelines. I have a heart and soul connection here.” Not only does giving help the organization, says Von, but it gives satisfaction to the giver. “Not everyone has been raised in a culture of giving or with the ability to give,” she says. “I want to impart to our members that giving is something that not only does an organization good, but it can do them good. No matter the amount you are able to contribute, it can make them feel good.” Sweet Adelines continues to make this wonderful singer feel good. “For me, there's a feeling of safety in Sweet Adelines,” Von says. “I know I can go so many places and find a Sweet Adeline, be welcomed in a group, have something in common, sing the songs. There is camaraderie wherever you go.”

What are Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)? QCDs, also known as IRA Charitable Rollovers, are special donations from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) directly to a qualified nonprofit organization like Sweet Adelines. These donations don't count as taxable income.

Who can do this? If you're 70½ years old

or older and have a Traditional IRA, you can make a QCD to Sweet Adelines. An IRA is a tax-deferred investment to provide financial security for U.S. citizens when they retire. Please contact Susan Smith, chief administrative and philanthropy officer, at to learn more about making an IRA charitable rollover gift this year.

Make this your quartet’s year to shine! Contest Entry Opens January 2024

For more information, visit

Who will be Next?

Diamond •D I V I S I O N• January 2024 | 11

The Benefits of Competition More than just a score! H

ave you ever wondered why Sweet Adelines International has competition requirements for choruses? While it does take effort, focus, and commitment to get our choruses to the competition stage, the benefits we receive from the experience are abundant! Too often we focus on the placement, the trophy, and the medals. Certainly, those are exciting and rewarding. However, the biggest benefits of competition are not the awards and accolades. The greatest benefit of participating in a competition is sharing the experience with so many people who enjoy singing and harmonizing. At their core, Sweet Adelines competitions are celebrations, and our conventions are where that happens! Along with the fun and joy of being together, there are many other advantages that we can derive from participating in our competitions and conventions. Check out the outstanding benefits available to every member and ensemble when they participate in competition.

Competition helps us discover and bring out our best. • Provides focus and faster learning • Inspires purpose, challenge, and opportunities for individual and chorus growth • Stirs drive and positive intent • Builds stamina • Offers feedback to affirm and guide you in your musical journeys

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Competition fosters a stronger community. • Offers a unified vision and helps build common goals • Promotes bonding and a sense of belonging • Provides a safe community to try new things • Builds relationships and boosts friendships • Extends your community as you interact and get to know other singers

Competition can teach life lessons. • Provides opportunities for personal and group growth in life skills inside the safety net of the chorus family e.g., how to recover from mistakes, expectation management, conquering stage fright and performance pressure • Offers teamwork and leadership opportunities • Builds resilience

Convention reunites and reignites “family.” • Enlivens connections and friendships • Offers growth and new ideas through education classes • Connects us to the world through international interactions • Inspires us when we see others share their gifts of music, entertainment, and education

Competition ignites our imaginations and our hopes, and it helps us uncover and develop our best performance skills. It inspires us to believe in ourselves and trust others more as we grow together. Our hearts and minds merge together into an amazing cohort of performers who reach out beyond our own communities to the world at large in order to connect with their hearts and minds. Competitions, at their best, are not about us as individual performers. They are about opportunities to share our music and our hearts with our friends and fellow musicians while we all learn and celebrate together what exciting things await us in our further growth. As fellow performers, we celebrate each and every group and individual who performs and shares their musical gifts. Competition is a cel-

ebration and recognition of all we’ve accomplished. Convention is the host that brings us all together and adds to the fun with education, community, and recognition for the amazing people we are and how we make a difference in our world. Why wait to get all of these benefits? Join your friends and singing family at your next convention/competition!! Paula Davis is Past International President (2016-2018). She is an Judge Specialists Moderator, Certified Expression Judge, and former member of the International Board of Directors. She has sung with and been assistant director of several choruses. Currently, she directs Sound of Seattle Chorus (Region 13).

January 2024 | 13

2023 International Convention Highlights Click on the play button icon throughout this issue to relive the wonderful performances and experiences from Louisville!

In-person Attendees: 4100+ Webcast Subscribers: 4700+ Singers On Stage: 2400+ 14 | January 2024

Monday Funday Over 125 people attended the Monday Fun-Day chorus retreat, where they had the opportunity to receive instruction from Vickie Maybury, Joan Boutilier, Jenny Harris, Mary Rhea, Betty Clipman, and Renée Porzel.

Monday's Crown Reveal made the whole place shimmer!

January 2024 | 15

Most Entertaining

(Above) Lions Gate, #26 (Below) Lady A Cappella, #4 (Right) Voices In Harmony, #17

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January 2024 | 17

Novice Quartet Award Firefly, #16

Harmony Achievement Award Vocal Standard, #5

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Diamond Division Champion Quartet Quad City Sound

Rising Star Champion Quartet Cosmic

January 2024 | 19

Family Chorus Captivating. Wholesome. Delightful. And good! The Family Chorus took the stage on Saturday night following the chorus finals. Directed by mother-daughter Queens Michelle Hunget (Zing!, 2010) and Mary Duncan (ClassRing, 2019), the chorus sang Love In Any Language and led the audience in One Song At A Time.

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Chorus Competition! On Thursday night, we shared a video commemorating our first chorus competition, held 50 years ago in Washington, D.C.!

January 2024 | 21

Ignite the Sound – and Dance! We celebrated the success of our Ignite the Sound Membership Initiative with a glow stick dance led by hometown chorus, Pride of Kentucky! Learn more about Ignite the Sound on page 58 of this issue.

Shoutout to our Webcast Anchors and Correspondents Anchors:


• Sharon Cartwright

• Maggie Ryan

• Annika Dellås

• Lori Crouter

• Karen Breidert

• Glenda Lloyd

• Renée Porzel

• Katie Blackwood • Lindsay Chartier • Anne Downton

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Because of Sweet Adelines

Sweet Adelines International appreciates the donors whose generous

gifts help keep our organization thriving! In Louisville, we celebrated them at several special events — Major Donor Luncheon, Visionary Voices Reception and Toast of Celebration. We enjoyed seeing everyone in our lively Donor Suite!

January 2024 | 23

2024 International Champion Quartet

Sharing the Joy

L ady A Cappella

Region #4 Score: 2840 Semifinals songs: If I Love Again (R. Hopkins), Strike Up the Band (M. Hine) Finals songs: Sing, Sing, Sing (P. McAlexander), If I Loved You (K. Kitzmiller) The Hopes And Dreams Of An Opera Queen (D. Wright)

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he singers of Lady A Cappella are no strangers to the stage. Lead Deidra Ronfeldt (formerly Ekins, but she is a newlywed!) is a first-generation barbershopper who joined Sweet Adelines twenty years ago and never looked back. In addition to singing with TuneTown Show Chorus for several years, she was also part of Last Minute, who placed second in the 2007 Rising Star Quartet Contest. The other three members have crowns as members of previous international champion quartets: tenor Stacey St. John and bass Gretchen Holloway with Moxie Ladies (2009) and baritone Kerry Denino with SPOTLIGHT (2006). Kerry’s mother, Char Gurney, founded and directed the chorus that Kerry directs now, Scioto Valley Chorus, where Gretchen is a member. Stacey is a third-generation barbershopper, and her mother-in-law was Queen of Harmony Judy St. John (Sounds of Music, 1974). With all that experience guiding them, music matters to this quartet – who also won Most Entertaining Quartet in 2022 and again this year. “One of the things that Gretchen said, which I still remember to this day, is ‘Our music is going to define us,’” recalls Stacey. “It's always stuck with me that every song choice that we make is how people will remember us. I am super proud that we sing different genres and we provide different things for people to experience and relate to because, at the end of the day, that's how they'll remember us.” Certainly, nobody can forget Lady A Cappella’s amazing “Peggy Grammys” packages from 2022 and 2023, with hilarious fake commercials (“Gas-B-Gone!”), ingratiating presenters, and, of course, Deidra’s incredible country opera singing! “Deidra has just been a light to all of our lives,” says Gretchen. “She's a wonderful human being, and Lady A Cappella has been a blast with her.” The love and respect these singers have for each other is a key reason they work so well together. They say their close friendship gives

them the courage to take creative ideas all the way. “Our goal leading into international was really to share our joy, share our friendship, and have all that shine out to our audience,” says Deidra. “Just like anyone, we're humans and we make mistakes, but we understand that about each other and we give ourselves grace. We're not trying to be perfect. We understand the importance of having an amazing time together and bringing joy to other people through our music. There are so many little nuances in the package that just came organically because we love each other and have so much fun during rehearsal. Fortunately, I think that was conveyed on stage.” Stacey says the audience's reaction at the end of their set in Louisville made them feel they had succeeded. “After we got done singing the entire package, Deidra and I grabbed hands, and we just stood,” she recalls. “That is the best feeling in the world. It's not just about somebody cheering for us, it’s the fact that we brought joy to somebody. It was so rewarding. It gives me goosebumps to think about it even now.” All of them say Sweet Adelines means a lot to them. “We are beyond proud to be a part of an organization that supports women in growth and learning,” says Gretchen. “I just can't even say enough about what I have gotten from Sweet Adelines. It has shaped me as a human being. It has literally given me confidence when I didn't have confidence. We are very proud to be Sweet Adelines.” In addition to the performances and other duties that come with winning the international championship, they have other plans to use their platform in their reigning year. “It’s very important to each one of us that we have a mission this year to do good during our reign, not only for ourselves, not just for our organization, but for people in need,” says Gretchen. “More details will be coming soon, and we're really, really excited about it.” So are we!

Stacey St. John (tenor)

Deidra Ronfeldt (lead)

Kerry Denino (baritone)

Gretchen Holloway (bass)

Follow Lady A Cappella: @ladyacappellaqt

January 2024 | 25

Top 10 Quartets Dynasty • 2nd Place Sarah Lindvall (t) Toast of Tampa Show Chorus Debbie Cleveland (l) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus ' Michaela Slamka-Johnston (bt) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus Jenny Cutlip (bs) Chapter-at-Large #17

Region: #9, Fort Myers, Fla. Score: 2789 Songs: Dynasty Family Band (C. Hine), I'm My Own Grandma (D. Cleveland), In My Daughter's Eyes (M. Hine), Love In A Home (C. Hine)

Sirens • 3rd Place Gina Baker (t) Toast of Tampa Show Chorus Angie Love (l) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus Deanna Kastler (bt) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus Joanie Jacques (bs) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus

Region: #9, Wesley Chapel, Fla. Score: 2682 Songs: Oz Medley: We're Off To See The Wizard/One Short Day (Steve Tramack),

Ease On Down The Road (J. Minshall), If I Were King Of The Forest (parody) (J. Meyer), Somewhere Over The Rainbow (D. Harrington/S. Tramack)

Duly Noted • 4th Place Raegan Stauffer (t) Toast of Tampa Show Chorus Madison Riviere (l) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus KaleyAnna Raabe (bt) Toast of Tampa Show Chorus Emily Hitt (bs) Spirit of the Gulf Chorus

Region: #9, Spring Hill, Fla. Score: 2657 Songs: You Can Fly (C. Hine), A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (J. Minshall), Every Girl Can Be A Princess (C. Hine), If You Can Dream (A. Bock)

Tenacious • 5th Place Shannon Lange (t) Scioto Valley Chorus Chelsea Selvaggio (l) Scioto Valley Chorus Tracy Marcarello (bt) Scioto Valley Chorus Karen Johns (bs) Gem City Chorus

Region: #4, Powell, Ohio Score: 2641 Songs: Try Everything (C. Selvaggio/S. Lange), What Kind Of Fool (K. Keller),

Defying Gravity (J. Minshall), Row Row Row Your Boat/They Just Keep Moving That Line (C. Selvaggio), Try Everything Reprise (C. Selvaggio/S. Lange)

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Clever Girl • 6th Place Neyla Pekarek (t) Velvet Hills Chorus Ashley Wright Tabares (l) Chapter-at-Large Region #4 Holly Janda (bt) Rich-Tone Chorus Taylor Daniels (bs) Metro Nashville Chorus

Region: #4, Cedar Park, Texas Score: 2608 Songs: This Could Be The Start Of Something Big (S. Kitzmiller), You Hit The Spot (L. Wright), Train (D. Wright), Listen To My Heart (L. Wright)

Lucille • 7th Place Erin Cardin (t) Scottsdale Chorus Jennifer Recker (l) Chapter-at-Large #17 Emily O'Brien (bt) Harborlites Chorus Loren Vaughn (bs) Chapter-at-Large #15

Region: #17, Burbank, Calif. Score: 2570 Songs: Lucille (D. Wessler), I Told Them All About You (E. Wasche), Bright Was The Night (D. Wright), Better Place (M. Hine)

Endeavour • 8th Place Amanda Kaufmann (t) Scioto Valley Chorus Laura Kitchel (l) Chapter-at-Large #4 Amy Leacock (bt) Scioto Valley Chorus Natalie Berdahl (bs) Rich-Tone Chorus

Region: #4, Columbus, Ohio Score: 2570 Songs: Here And Now (J. Minshall), As Long As I'm Singing (L. Wright), That's Life (Barbershop Harmony Society), Come On Get Happy (A. Dale)

VOCE • 9th Place Deanna Sargent (t) Millennium Magic Chorus Cheryl Brusket (l) Chapter-at-Large #1 Angie Kunasek (bt) Millennium Magic Chorus Beth Paul (bs) Millennium Magic Chorus

Region: #1, Agawam, Mass. Score: 2569 Songs: Ex-Wives (L. Strielkauskas), Hell On Heels (A. Kunasek), Next Time I Love (intro) (L. Wright), When I Fall In Love (D. Wright), Let's Live It Up (A. Dale), Ex-Wives Reprise (L. Strielkauskas)

Gusto! • 10th Place Dana Entrikin (t) Chapter-at-Large #12 Stephanie Beard (l) Chapter-at-Large #12 Martha Segura (bt) Chapter-at-Large #12 Susan Smith (bs) Diablo Vista Chorus

Region: #12, Manteca, Calif. Score: 2545 Songs: A Wink And A Smile (K. Brittain), That's Life (D. Harrington/H. Harrington), Love Of My Life (D. Wright), Let's Live It Up (A. Dale)

January 2024 | 27

28 | January 2024

An Impossible Dream Come True

Lions Gate Chorus

Founded in 1954 Based in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) Current number of members: 107 Directed by Sandy Marron


ince 2007, Lions Gate Chorus has been in the Top 10 at international competition. Most recently, they came in second in 2019, when they also tied for Most Entertaining with that year’s champion, Ronninge Show Chorus. In Louisville, Lions Gate Chorus once again brought an astonishing, entertaining show to the international stage – and this time, they came away with the blue ribbons for the first time in their 70-year history. “I buckled when I heard we’d won,” says team coordinator Shannon Harris. “ I just couldn't believe it. It's still shocking to me. I have to look at my medal from time to time and remind myself, ‘Oh yeah! I really am a champion.” Shannon and Lions Gate Director Sandy Marron have been Sweet Adelines – and in this chorus – for over thirty years, with Sandy directing since 1991. “Lions Gate Chorus has a really strong community of people who love each other dearly,” says Sandy. “We love to hang out, we love to socialize, and we also clearly love to work hard, but I don't think that makes us unique. I think that's one of the things that makes Sweet Adelines so special: Every ensemble around the world has that unique bond, but we all feel the same way about our Sweet Adelines chosen families.” It took the entire Lions Gate village to design this year’s amazing show, which centered on the nightmares of a Sweet Adelines chorus director. As always, they gathered a few months after their last international competition for a full-chorus brainstorming session to determine the next show. “We break into groups, and we get probably a couple hundred ideas at that point,” Sandy explains. “Then a team (usually the artistic team or music team) whittle them down to 50 or 60 ideas. The idea list keeps getting smaller, and then it comes down to Jan Carley, the internal artistic director for our finals packages, and Carol Waldmann, our script writer. The three of us take the ideas and decide which direction we're going to go. Jan and I usually work together for well over a year on determining the direction of the package, and it changes very frequently.” They also had a “massive team” of people working on

Lions Gate Thanks...

Choreographer: Jan Alexandersson Arrangers: Clay Hine, Joey Minshall, Liz Garnett and Melody Hine Coaches: Marcia Pinvidic, Justin Miller, Erin Howden, Lori Lyford, Jim Arns, Ryan Heller, David McEachern and Tim Marron

costuming, says Sandy. “We call them the Sew Sisters. Bonnie Lavallee and Judy Taylor are magicians. Along with Shelly Alt, our visual team leader, they designed all of these costume pieces. Another team called the Snap Sisters spent months sewing snaps on all the tearaways. The day of the finals, we had a whole team of helpers, including my brother-in-law and his husband and a bunch of former Lions Gate members steam-ironing all the robes and pajamas in the room while we rehearsed. It was just amazing.” If the “nightmares” in their finals package seemed awfully realistic, that’s because they were. Singers added their actual chorus nightmares to a shared online document, followed a social media conversation about barbershop nightmares, and talked amongst themselves. The “nightmares” onstage came from that research, and the audience responded with enthusiasm. “We really deliberately focused on not the result of the contest, but on what we could do to get the biggest audience response,” says Sandy. “We've won the most entertaining chorus award four times, and that's always our goal more than anything else. We've always wanted to win, but we like to win the audience more than anything.” Still, they believed it was possible to come away as champions. “A development for Lions Gate this year is that we had a strong sense of belief,” Sandy says. “We used the whole idea of believing that it's possible to win…that we could be the best chorus in this contest. We just have to keep believing. It was just a really strong thread through our whole preparation up until literally the day of the finals.” That thread even changed their plans. “If we won, our acceptance song was going to be a song that we learned during COVID called I Believe,” says Sandy. “It's a Canadian song written for the 2010 Olympics, which were here in Vancouver, but the morning of the finals, we decided to do The Impossible Dream, should the impossible dream become the possible dream.” And it did. Lions Gate’s impossible dream came true.

January 2024 | 29

Lions Gate Chorus Members on Stage

Alice Benson Alice Wu Alison Skoda Allison Young Amber Tarling Amy Rose Anvita Akkur Autumn Scraper Barbara Vonas Bonnie J. Simpson Bonnie Lavallee Britt-Heléne Bonnedahl* Brenda Birch Cammi MacKinlay Carmen Chow Carol Mooney Carol Waldmann Carol Ward Caroline Cavers Carollyne Conlinn Christina (Tina) Fai Cindy Brown Connie Johnston Dale Syverson* Deb Swain

30 | January 2024

Diane Weinrath Dionielynn de la Fuente Dyanne Sharp Eileen Jensen Elaine Cotton Elizabeth Minish Elizabeth Petrie Elvera Collier Emily Wright Evelyn Elgie Glenda Bisig Heather Bomben Hilary Meredith Holly-Kate Collinson-Shield India Neville Jan Carley Janine Roberts Jennifer Bilawka Jennifer Champagne Jenny Chou Joyce K Bruce Judith Taylor Judy Knauf Julia O'Dwyer Julie Terpenning

Karin Christensen Karin Van Eck Karri Quan Kathryn Kordyback Kathryn Webster Kelly Payne Kelly Stuart Klara Sztopa Laura Wong Leah Christian Leigh Fadden Leila Msadek Lori Holtorf Lorraine Barr Lucinda Long Margaret Tayler Marilyn Henrichsen Marissa Ho Meghan Fell Melissa Bomben Melissa Grandbois Melissa Harding Michele L. Maurer Nancy Fulton Natalie Cotton

Nicole Rahiman Patricia Larre Penny Miller Quita Holm Rachel Smith Roxane Carlisle Ruth Saefkow Sandy Marron Sarah Martin Sarah Vuong Shannon Harris Shelley Jantzen Shelly Alt Sher Taylor Sofia de Rama Stacey Rose Stephanie Ball Stephanie Halber Sue Halsey-Brandt Susan Dumas Susan Elder Susan Forbes Tara Newell Tatiana Laboda *Cameo Appearance

Top 10 Choruses

Scottsdale • 2nd Place Region: #21, Scottsdale, Ariz. Director: Lori Lyford Score: 2987 Songs: Before The Parade Passes By (A. Dale), Everybody Says Don't (A. Dale), Waiting On A Miracle (A. Dale), Ripple (A. Dale)

Harbor City Music Company • 3rd Place Region: #19, Baltimore, Md. Director: Michael Gellert Score: 2906 Songs: Singin' In The Rain (L. Wright), Yesterday I Heard The Rain (B. Graham), Rain (M. Gellert), Singin' In The Rain (M. Gellert)

Rönninge Show • 4th Place Region: #32, Rönninge, Sweden Director: Anna Alvring Score: 2834 Songs: I Want You Back (Short Intro), Mirror Mirror Upon The Wall (D. Wright), I Want You Back (Short Intro), No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (D. Wright),

I Want You Back Intro, If You Leave Me Now (P. Cetera), I Want You Back Intro Disco Medley (Blame It On The Boogie, I Will Survive, Stayin' Alive, I'm So Excited) (D. Wright)

January 2024 | 31

Top 10 Choruses

Toast of Tampa • 5th Place Region: #9, Tampa, Fla. Director: Tony DeRosa Score: 2805 Songs: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (C. Hine), Nowhere To Go But Up/Let's Fly A Kite Medley (C. Hine), Can You Imagine That (C. Hine), Anything Can Happen If You Let It (G.Lewis), Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (C. Hine)

Forth Valley • 6th Place Region: #31, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK Director: David Sangster Score: 2711 Songs: Will Ye Go (D. Sangster/R. Johnson), Black Horse And The Cherry Tree (D. Sangster), You'll Never Walk Alone (D. Sangster/R. Johnson), Will Ye Go Medley (Wild Mountain Thyme, Skye Boat Song, Suddenly I See, Island Spinning Song, Mairi's Wedding) (1. D. Sangster & R. Johnson 2. Traditional 3. D. Sangster & R. Johnson 4. Traditional 5. Traditional)

Scioto Valley • 7th Place Region: #4, Dublin, Ohio Director: Kerry Denino Score: 2680 Songs: Can't Help Falling In Love (J. Arns), The Greatest Love Of All (A. Bock), Footloose (K. Kitzmiller)

32 | January 2024

Diablo Vista • 8th Place Region: #12, Walnut Creek, Calif. Director: Caitlin Castelino Score: 2655 Songs: The Schoolful of Sugar (A. Bartholomew), Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (A. Bartholomew), Adapted by (C. Castelino and C. E. Johnson), Yesterday I Heard The Rain (B. Graham), Step In Time (D. Wright)

OK City • 9th Place Region: #25, Oklahoma City, Okla. Director: Mary Rhea Score: 2648 Songs: Shiver Me Timbers (C. Prietto), Wellerman (K. Ivana), How Deep Is The Ocean (B. Hopkins), Go The Distance (A. Dale)

Vocal Standard • 10th Place Region: #5, Kansas City, Mo. Director: Rob Mance Score: 2648 Songs: Reflection (J. Whittick), You Will Be Found (M. Hine), Our Time (D. Wright), Try Everything (R. Krigstrom)

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Harmony Classic A

Brindabella Alison Davies Amanda Meli Amy Young Avril Hughes B Lynne Atyeo Caitlin Launt Casey Mazzarella Cherry Perron Christine Barnes Clodagh Wylie Elizabeth (Libby) Colvin

Erin Le Nevez Geesje van de Linde Georgina Spencer Glenda Lloyd Helen Armstrong Joanne Oosterhoff Joyce Liang-Ridley Julia Mandziy Julia Woodruff Justine Cox Karen Phillips

Members on Stage

Kate Brookes Katherine Rae Kirsten Richardson Kylie Shanley Lea Baker Louise Geraghty Lyndal Thorburn Lynn McKee Meganne Wyatt Melissa Quinn Michele Dunscombe

Michelle Owen Prue Pickering Rachael Williams Sandra Middleton Sarah Matthews Shannon O'Donnell Sharon Stewart Sophie Davey Tanya Kavanagh

Region #34 Score: 1291 Performance Songs: Brindabella Paradise (G. Lloyd), How Deep is the Ocean (B. Hopkins), Weird Science (G. Lloyd), Rescue Medley (Message in a Bottle/SOS/Rescue Me/We Gotta Get Out of this Place (G. Lloyd), Rescue Medley Reprise (G. Lloyd)

34 | January 2024

The Journey Continues… 2024 Harmony Classic Division A Champion Brindabella Chorus


Chartered in 1996 Based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia Current number of members: 49 Directed by Glenda Lloyd Website:

rindabella Master Director Glenda Lloyd received the 2020 Ann Gooch Award in recognition of her support of choruses in Australia and beyond. In an interview from that time, she recalled coming in “dead last” in Brindabella’s first-ever Sweet Adelines International regional competition. Twenty-one years later, they took home the Harmony Classic gold at the 2017 competition in Las Vegas. “To have gone from last in my region to winning Harmony Classic is just amazing to me,” she said. “And I don’t feel like we’re done.” They certainly weren’t done in 2017. Brindabella qualified for the 2020 Harmony Classic then waited out two years of COVID cancellations. In 2022, Australia’s travel restrictions kept them home. But in 2023, the chorus was able to travel to Louisville to win its second Harmony Classic Division A championship – with a sequel to their award-winning 2017 package. The 2017 package was a humorous one based on a turbulent flight to Las Vegas. This year, the flight attendants and chorus passengers returned for a sequel in which the chorus was stranded on a desert island. With the exception of the contest ballad, both packages were written and/or arranged by their director. “We planned the story of the sequel while we were still in Las Vegas after winning in 2017!” Glenda wrote in a recent email interview. “We used a lot of the same costume pieces – the flight attendant costumes and the polo shirts were the same, but instead of nice dark blue jeans, as we had in Vegas, we had scruffy worn light blue ones, implying that we'd been wearing them for six years!” Their fun performance had a lot of hard work behind it, but Brindabella is no stranger to that. “Brindabella Chorus likes to work hard and get into the nittygritty details of the music, because to us, that's a lot of fun!” Glenda writes. “As a director who is also a coach and an arranger, I often talk about how the music works – such as chord balancing and how chord progressions work to enhance the music, etc. and the chorus really gets into it.” Coaches and supporters are also part of Brindabella’s success. “Gail Jencik has provided perceptive insights and feedback tailored to the needs of our own chorus for the specific purpose of performing our package at international competition,” writes chorus member Luigi Geraghty. “We have also had some fantastic coaching from Steve Scott and Rob Mance to support improvements in vocal

technique and tension-free singing.” Glenda adds, “We also drew on the expertise of international faculty members Lea Baker and Jo Oosterhoff, who sang with us as out-of-town members in Louisville.” Brindabella’s international experience took a turn when many members tested positive for COVID shortly after their championship performance. Unwell members watched the webcast from their hotel rooms while fellow singers dropped off necessities at their doors. It was not the week anyone would wish for, but Glenda and Luigi say the overall international experience was still inspiring. “It's an amazing feeling being on the international stage,” Luigi writes. “We thoroughly enjoyed watching the performances of other quartets and choruses from around the world. Performances not only provided a masterclass education in barbershop but also delivered fun, humour, and breathtaking sound.” The audience's reaction to their performance was especially satisfying. “We really enjoyed hearing the audience laugh,” writes Glenda. “When you've been so close to a performance for a long time, you think the things you’ve written might be funny, but after a while you kind of get immune to itg. Onstage, the audience feedback was terrific!” Also terrific was the competition. “I was genuinely surprised and thrilled when we won!” recalls Glenda. “There's a great photo of me onstage with my mouth open in surprise, which was actually a reaction to the score. Just one point between us and Vocal Dimension! I was also really pleased with the scores for the midsized contest. It shows that Harmony Classic is a legitimate contest with quality barbershop and well worth watching and participating in.” But Brindabella isn’t resting on their laurels. They’ve added two assistant directors, planned a membership drive for February, and have started writing their next package – which may tell more about their journey. “Having a growth mindset and a positive learning culture is at least as important as teaching good vocal skills and learning the right notes and words,” writes Glenda. “They go hand in hand and you need both to succeed. We are keen to continue to succeed!” And we are keen to watch it happen!

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Harmony Classic AA

Melodeers Alexandra Criner Allie Noffke Amy Schwartz Barb Godwin Beth Bosak Beth Schroeder Betsy Nickerson Carol Thompson Cathy Konczyk Cindy Ahlgrim Cindy Slowik Cori Albrecht Dawn Stern Dawn Sylvester DeAnne Haugen Deb Walter Debbie Pfennig

Debi Batchelor Donna Ramon Donna Weinstock Dori Ellinger Dorothy Schilling Emily Wertanen Emma Wagner Gretchen Streett Jan Berland Jane Baines Jenelle Lambert Joyce Kozlowski Julie Barnett Karen Leet Karen Niederkorn Karen Studemann Kathie Messmer

Members on Stage Kathy Gildea Kim Alexander Kimberly L. Alexander Linda Butler Linda Gross Linda O'Connell Lisa Cole Lisa Mundo Liz Canova Margaret Kraft Mary Ann Neuman Nancy Chung Nancy Moreno Niki Stopoulos Pam Sheldon Piali Roy Reath Schooley

Renée Porzel Renee Rieboldt Rita Bertrand Roxanne Smith Sally Young Sandra Recker Shelly Hughes Sherry Berkley Sue Carey Sue Hollar Sue Montgomery Sue Swan Teresa Balon Tori Hicks Vanessa Tulley

Region #3 Score: 1356 Performance Songs: Mom (M. Hine), Pal of My Cradle Days Medley (That Wonderful Mother of Mine/ Pal of My Cradle Days) (J. Arns), Good Job (M. Hine), Hungarian Rhapsody (parody) (J. Arns)

36 | January 2024

“Absolutely Gratifying” 2024 Harmony Classic Division AA Champion Melodeers Chorus


Chartered in 1960 Based in Wheeling, Ill., USA Current number of members: 88 Directed by Renée Porzel Website:

he mighty Melodeers Chorus is legendary. They have won SEVEN international championships – in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2014. They are known in the barbershop world for amazingly clean singing, classic barbershop, and innovative performance packages. Like all choruses, the Melodeers were affected by the pandemic. They persevered with creativity and dedication, but by the time in-person competition returned, they found themselves with around half their previous number of singers. “The chorus had this phenomenal conversation about the possibility of accepting the invitation to compete in the Harmony Classic because we wanted the members who participated through the shutdown, and the new members, to do something totally new together. We wanted to celebrate our incredible history and create our new future by taking on this challenge,” says director Renée Porzel. “We had a blast!” As a chorus that included a core of seven-time champion singers alongside 13 members who had never competed with the Melodeers on the international stage, the Melodeers voted to compete in Harmony Classic after their Region 3 Championship in 2022. In May 2023, their long-time director, Jim Arns, retired from directing. During that summer they also had to move to a new rehearsal space. Faced with these challenges, the mighty Melodeers looked to their risers to find their next leader: Choreographer and Associate Director Renée Porzel was asked to step into the musical director role. With 65 members, the chorus brought a very moving, fun package about motherhood in all its forms to the Harmony Classic stage – and won. “I loved the experience of creating something with our chorus,” says Renée. “We thought this would be a really cool way to do a reset. We love doing show packages, and we had a great time working on these songs all summer. Our foundation is a focus on high-level singing, so our rehearsals were always musically focused. We didn't let other things distract us from that work.” Melodeers Team Coordinator Sue Montgomery agrees. “We work hard and play hard, and we've always been a chorus with ‘positive peer pressure,’” she says. “We come for musical reasons, and we're here to have a lot of fun doing it. We take great pride in being able to put a great product on stage. For so many choruses that have gone through what we've gone through, there is

a whole new pride of just feeling good about where we are and who we are right now as a mid-size chorus.” As first-time Harmony Classics competitors, the Melodeers discovered that competing on Tuesday brings several rewards they hadn’t considered. “Our chorus has never competed as a group on Tuesday, so the international week schedule for our veterans was totally new,” says Renée. “We rehearsed twice on Monday, which we haven't done in 30 years. We got up on Tuesday morning, had a great early rehearsal, did the whole makeup and hair thing, and then competed and won! The rest of the week, we were all discovering the flow and feeling of the convention week together. If you place in the Top 10 In the international division, you get your medal on Saturday and then you go home the next morning. People outside of Sweet Adelines look at your medal and say, ‘Oh, congratulations,’ but they don’t really understand.” But the people at international convention do! “I had an absolute blast watching my members walk around all week long with their medals, being approached by people in elevators, talked to in food lines, approached in restaurants…They got so many compliments. They were told that the songs brought the audience members to tears. After everything we went through to be there, it was absolutely gratifying to get to visit with the audience for the few days after we competed.” Sue agrees that it was a special experience. “I have seven of the previous gold medals, and I am proud of every one of them,” she says. “There's something so special about this one because of everything that we went through. As Renée was saying, especially for our members who had never even won an international medal, there was just a joy with this.” Of course, winning is great, but a great performance is its own reward. “I had a director from Region 17, Nathan Ogg, come up to me Saturday morning,” recalls Renée. “He said, ‘I just wanted to tell you that when your set was over, I called my mother and told her I love her.’ Another person told me, ‘I immediately texted my mother.’ There were so many stories like that. I don't think I've ever had such a gratifying experience as a performer. We connected with so many people in the audience with our music.” And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.

January 2024 | 37

Harmony Classic Division A

(Featuring choruses with 30 or fewer singers)

Vocal Dimension 2nd Place Region: #31, Redhill, Surrey, UK Director: Valerie Taylor Score: 1290 Songs: What's Inside? (F. Carter), All The Things You Are (J. Minshall), I Will Survive (L. Wright), One Day Like This (L. Garnett)

Voices in Harmony 3rd Place Region: #17, Ypsilanti, Mich. Director: Jennifer Jones Score: 1127 Songs: The All American Girls League Song (J. Flinn & B. Niemi), Smile Darn Ya Smile, Powder Your Face with Sunshine (C. Hine), Surface Pressure (C. Prietto), From Now On (K. Bromert)

Vocal Harmonix 4th Place Region: #19, Lancaster, Pa. Director: Lori Jo Whitehaus Score: 1101 Songs: Escape Room (Glenda Lloyd),

Mission Impossible (Theme) (Glenda Lloyd), As Long As I'm Singing My Song (Elaine Gain), Harmonix Medley (Help!, ABC, Rock Around the Clock), (G. Lloyd), Mission Impossible (Theme) (G.Lloyd), Sweet Caroline (G.Lloyd)

Diamond Jubilee 5th Place Region: #4, Middletown, Ohio Director: Jean Barford Score: 1091 Songs: Harmony (D. Wright),

It's A Brand New Day (R. Disney and J. Liles), One of Those Songs (D. Gray), Georgia May (A. Dale), Harmony Reprise (D. Wright)

38 | January 2024

Harmony Classic Division AA (Featuring choruses with 31 or More singers)

Malmö Limelight 2nd Place Region: #32, Malmö, Sweden Director: Sofia Feuer Score: 1313 Songs: Into the Deep (S. Feuer),

Changes (S. Feuer) Next Time I Love (L. Wright), Life on Mars (S. Feuer), Go the Distance (A. Dale)

Greater Cleveland 3rd Place Region: #17, Independence, Ohio Director: Nathan Ogg Score: 1199 Songs: Holding Out For A Hero (J. Arns),

Respect (L. Wright) Proud Mary (D. Wright), What I Did For Love (D. Wright), Sing For Myself (N. Ogg, G. Schweizer), Go The Distance (A. Dale)

Vocal Matrix 4th Place Region: #14, Greenville, S.C. Director: Kim Graham Score: 1095 Songs: Runnin' Wild (N. Bergman),

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (J. Arns), This Joint Is Jumpin' (N. Bergman), This Is Me (K. Bromert)

TuneTown Show 5th Place Region: #4, Nashville, Tenn. Director: Rick Spencer Score: 1083 Songs: Also Sprach Zarathustra

(aka 2001 Space Odyssey) (R. Spencer), When I Lift Up My Head (D. Wright), Side By Side (B. Graham), Ain't No Mountain High Enough (W. Grimmer)

January 2024 | 39

Chapter Longevity Awards Chapters listed in order of anniversary date.

75 Years Kansas City Chapter Raymore, Missouri, USA, #5

70 Years Seattle Shores Chapter Shoreline, Washington, USA, #13 Sound Celebration Chapter Springfield, Illinois, USA, #5

65 Years Dundalk Chapter Dundalk, Maryland, USA, #19 A Cappella Joy Chapter Woodinville, Washington, USA, #13 Lehigh Valley Chapter Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, #19 Magic City Chapter Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, #26 Mission Valley Chapter San Jose, California, USA, #12 Columbus Chapter Columbus, Ohio, USA, #4

60 Years Jersey Sound Chapter Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA, #19 Positively A Cappella Chapter Prescott, Arizona, USA, #21 Twin County Chapter Huntington, New York, USA, #15 Azalea City Harmony Chapter Mobile, Alabama, USA, #10 Grand Mesa A Cappella Chapter Austin, Colorado, USA, #8

55 Years Rich-Tone Chapter Farmers Branch, Texas, USA, #25 Hickory Tree Chapter Stirling, New Jersey, USA, #15 Lake Country Chapter White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA, #6 Texas Harmony Chapter Irving, Texas, USA, #10 Pride of Portland Chapter Portland, Oregon, USA, #13 Champlain Valley Chapter Plattsburgh, New York, USA, #1

50 Years Song of the Valley Chapter Chester, New York, USA, #15

40 | January 2024

Bakersfield Blend Chapter Bakersfield, California, USA, #11 Magic of Harmony Show Chorus Chapter Hampton, Virginia, USA, #14

45 Years Shoreline Sound Chapter Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, # 2 Voices in Harmony Chapter Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, #17 Sugar Land Sound Chapter Sugar Land, Texas, USA, #10 Sweet Georgia Sound Chapter Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, #14 River Blenders Chapter Ellisville, Missouri, USA, #5 Carolina Harmony Chapter Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, #14 Diamond State Chapter Wilmington, Delaware, USA, #19

40 Years Västerås Show Chapter Västerås, Västmanlands län, Sweden, #32 Seaway Sounds Chapter Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, #2 A Cappella Magic Chapter Angola, Indiana, USA, #17 Fenton Lakes Chapter Linden, Michigan, USA, #2 Vallee de Croix Chapter Stillwater, Minnesota, USA, #6 Melbourne Chapter Melbourne, Victoria, AUS, #34 Rönninge Show Chapter Rönninge , Sweden, #32 Harmony of the Gorge Chapter Hood River, Oregon, #13

35 Years Scioto Valley Chapter Dublin, Ohio, USA, #4 Foveaux Harmony Chapter Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand, #35 Crystal Chimes Chapter Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, USA, #25 Palz Pepper Chapter Kaiserslautern, Germany, #30 Alamo Metro Chapter San Antonio, Texas, USA, #10

30 Years Sounds of Hawkes Bay Chapter Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, #35

Sound of New England Chapter West Hartford, Connecticut, USA, #1

25 Years Southern Accord Chapter Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, USA, #26 Endeavour Harmony Chapter Sydney, NSW, AUS, #34 Taranaki Harmony Chapter New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, #35 Chesapeake Harmony Chapter Severna Park, Maryland, USA, #19 TuneTown Show Chapter Nashville, Tennessee, USA, #4 Circle of Harmony Chapter Oakville, Ontario, Canada, #16

20 Years Coffee Bean Show Chapter Gävle, Sweden, #32 Delmarva Chapter Ocean Pines, Maryland, USA, #19 Red Cedar Sounds Chapter Colfax, Wisconsin, USA, #6

15 Years Voices Northwest Chapter Snohomish, Washington, USA, #13 Stockholm Starlight Chapter Stockholm, Sweden, #32 Heartbeat UK Chapter Stockport, United Kingdom, #31 Saratoga Soundtrack Chapter Greenfield Center, New York, #15 A Cappella West Chapter Innaloo, Western Australia, AUS, #34 Bayou Blend Chapter Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, #10 Heart of Columbia Chapter West Columbia, South Carolina, USA, #14

10 Years Diamond Jubilee Chapter Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, #4 Sirens of Gotham Chapter Brooklyn New York, USA, #15 Indian Blue Chapter Ocean Reef, Western Australia , AUS, #34

5 Years One Voice Chapter Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, #4

“A Treasure and an Inspiration” 2023 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Toula Oberlies


he President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is chosen by the current International President to acknowledge a Sweet Adeline who possesses “our most valued qualities of service and leadership to Sweet Adelines International.” Sweet Adelines International President Thérèse Antonini called Toula Oberlies “a beloved example of those qualities.” Toula Oberlies was born in Egypt to a large, close Greek family and raised in a diverse community speaking Greek, French, and Arabic. She learned to speak English at the age of 11, when her family had to move to the United States after a political change in Egypt. Her extended family ended up living in several different countries. Toula told her good friend Jan Meyer (who accepted the award on Toula’s behalf in Louisville),“I love this organization. It’s the family I lost when we all had to leave Egypt.” Toula says music has always been a big part of her family’s life. In fact, her mother directed the choir at their family’s Greek Orthodox church. In a 2020 interview with The Pitch Pipe, Toula recalled the first time she saw the chorus that would become her family. She and her husband John were pushing their baby daughter around an Indianapolis mall to help her sleep when they stopped to watch a performance by Capital City Chorus. Toula had been a singer all her life, and she knew immediately that she had found her musical home. “They were wearing these long, white dresses with black lapels and a bowtie, and it was very Broadway-looking,” she said. “The front row had top hats and a canes, and they were dancing. I heard them sing and saw those lapels and the canes, and I had to do it.” Her husband likes to tell the story of how Toula spent their wedding anniversary at her second-ever chorus rehearsal! Her whole family has always supported her barbershop “hobby.” She says from a young age, her children knew she had a good time with

“the singing ladies.” Toula became a Sweet Adeline in 1974 and competed for the first time the following year. “It was very exciting because that was the year that the chorus from our region, Gem City, won the international contest,” she recalled. “The quartet winner was The Sounds of Music, which included the director and members of Gem City Chorus. To watch them and hear them sing, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was wonderful.” As many Sweet Adelines know, Toula seldom missed a convention after that. Countless singers have funny and poignant stories about singing and working with Toula at convention, especially at the auction she organized and held for many years to raise money for young singers programs. The day Toula joined was a great one for Capital City Chorus and Sweet Adelines. Since that fateful day at the mall, she has spent many years singing lead on the risers and enthusiastically serving in roles at the chapter, regional, and international levels. She is a founding member of The Overtone Society and was instrumental in starting and maintaining youth programs in the organization. Of her work with young singers, Thérèse said, “No one who encountered her in those efforts could deny the authenticity and depth of her commitment, and we were all drawn into the vision of the future that she shared with such openness and conviction.” When presenting the award to Toula in Louisville, Thérèse said, “She is a personal treasure to so many of us and an inspiration to all of us.” Toula received her award prior to the convention, as her health prevented her from attending in person. She was certainly there in spirit, however. As Toula watched the competition on the live webcast, Jan led the crowd in a warm and heartfelt message that echoes throughout Sweet Adelines International: “We love you, Toula!”

Toula Oberlies

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“It Really Is My Life” 2023 Sweet Adelines Ann Gooch Award Recipient Annika Christensen


hen Annika Christensen found Sweet Adelines, she found her musical home. In 1988, she was a new teacher. One of her colleagues was part of a quartet whose tenor had moved to the U.S., and she invited Annika to try out. Annika ended up joining that quartet, and they attended the Region 32 convention. “I heard a barbershop chorus for the first time,” says Annika. “I felt so much energy, so much joy, and I fell in love with overtones. I had goosebumps all over. I went,’Whoa! What is this?’ Rönninge Show Chorus was the first barbershop chorus I’d ever heard, and it was really lovely. I was totally hooked, and I decided that this is going to be the thing that I will be doing until I die.” After that experience, she co-founded the chorus she has been directing now for twenty years, Key Town Eskilstuna. Annika eventually sang with Rönninge (20102019) as well, winning three international championships with them. She served as Communication Coordinator and Directors Coordinator of Region 32 Nordic Light and is now the region’s Education Coordinator. Annika is also one of the founders of GoKeyVäst, a joint effort of three Sweet Adelines choruses – Gothia Show Chorus, Key Town Eskilstuna, and Västerås Show Chorus. “We have really good team building here in Region 32 among our directors,” she says. “We meet once a year, supporting and inspiring each other. Three of us started to talk about how fun it would be to make a big joint chorus. When the idea of the Japan trip came up, we knew it would be a fantastic journey.” The “Japan trip” was Friendship Week. The event included performances and workshops with the Japanese choruses, and, of course, lots of cultural and musical exchange! (Check out the article on Friendship Week in the April 2019 issue of The Pitch Pipe.) Since then, the chorus has performed and competed several times for Sweet Adelines International.

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When they started, each of the individual choruses of GoKeyVäst had around 50 members. When they combined, they became a large chorus. “It was so good for each member to have the experience of singing in a big chorus,” says Annika. “When we came back to our smaller choruses, we brought experience and the feeling of singing in a large chorus, so it really benefited us.” What advice does she have for other choruses who might want to try a similar collaboration? “Just start,” she says. “Find a project to work on. Start with something just to have fun and see what you can create. All the friendship and experiencing different chorus cultures and learning from each other is very exciting. And the directors need to cooperate very well, with no idea of prestige. Just take joy in it.” The Ann Gooch Award is presented to Sweet Adelines from outside North America who have contributed significantly to the furtherance of barbershop in the worldwide area. Annika has plans and goals to continue sharing the music she loves so much. GoKeyVäst is planning a trip to other parts of Europe, and Annika is eager to help new barbershop choruses and quartets form in the Nordic countries. “Now that I'm the Education Coordinator, I'm planning to reach out to Norway, Finland, and Denmark to bring barbershop to more singers,” she says. That’s the spirit of the Ann Gooch Award – sharing the joy of barbershop music far and wide. “It’s not just the singing that I love,” she says.”It's being part of a very big organization where I have been able to meet friends all over the world. When I visit choruses around the world, it's like visiting family. Everybody's so happy and welcoming. We share the same passion and the same great leadership education. I can’t imagine another organization where you could find all of this. I love being a Sweet Adeline. It really is my life.”

Annika Christensen

“Just Keep Singing” 2023 Sweet Adelines Music Educator Award Recipient Lauren Fladland


“ auren Fladland says, " I've always been the person who wants to try everything and be involved in everything, but I'm never really the best at anything. I just try it all, and honestly, that’s kind of how I've been living my whole life.” It’s that attitude that led her to do things like ride all the way across the state of Iowa in the RAGBRAI – Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. (The Register is an Iowa newspaper.) That attitude also led her to join Sweet Adelines International. Lauren, who sings bass, is a member of Metro Mix Chorus and a chapter quartet so new that they don’t have a name yet. She is also the first recipient of the Sweet Adelines International Music Educator Award. (Past music educator awards were presented in partnership with other music organizations.) It’s not that Lauren was unfamiliar with Sweet Adelines, but she initially got involved for her students, not for herself. Lauren’s music career was spent in traditional church choirs and bands (she played clarinet and French horn), but one of her grandmothers, Carolyn Fladland, is a long-time member of Minnesota Valley Chorus. “I was intrigued by the Young Women in Harmony (YWIH) program, and I thought, ‘If I'm going to send my students to this, I should probably know something about Sweet Adelines myself,’” she recalls. Lauren decided to check out her local chorus, Metro Mix. When she walked into her first rehearsal, Director Bev Hamilton knew who she was right away. Lauren’s reputation as a passionate music educator preceded her! “It was the first time that anyone knew who I was, and she was genuinely excited that I was there,” Lauren recalls. “It was really awesome to hear that. I remember that the music just messed with my brain. I was saying to myself, ‘I know I'm a good musician and

I can sight read and do these things, but I am actually going to have to work at this music!” And she did. She joined Metro Mix Chorus, brought her students into the YWIH activities, and eventually became very involved in chorus and regional YWIH programs. In fact, during the pandemic lockdowns, Lauren not only wrote parody tags for her own chorus but learned to create virtual choruses. Her YWIH virtual choruses provided young singers a way to interact and perform during lockdown – and brought some lovely music to barbershop audiences around the world. A self-proclaimed extrovert, Lauren deeply values her relationships with other singers. “I love the camaraderie of Sweet Adelines,” she says. “At any Sweet Adelines event I go to, I have a million friends, and even if I haven't seen them in years, we just pick up where we left off.” She also values the collaborative nature of barbershop singing. “Sweet Adelines is one of the few organizations – or hobbies – where you don't have to be the best to participate,” she explains. “It's truly a place where people can sing for the rest of their lives. As an educator, I want my students to know they don't have to be the best individual singers to sing. They can sing in a chorus and make wonderful music with other people. That's what keeps me coming back. Barbershop is something you can do for your whole lifetime.” That is her advice to singers of all ages: “Just keep singing. Especially after the pandemic, we have a lot of people worrying their voice is out of shape or saying they aren’t the vocalist they used to be, or maybe they need to sit on a stool to perform now or make other changes. But if it feeds your soul, just keep singing.”

Lauren Fladland

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50- and 60-Year Member Awards

Class of 2023

50-YEAR MEMBER AWARDS Barbara Almli Motor City Blend Chapter, #2 Carol Anhalt Cedar Harmony Chapter, #5 Julie Brennan Sound Celebration Chapter, #5 Claudia Brothers City of Flags Chapter, #17 Lida Bush Heart of Michigan Chapter, #2 Sandra Calhoun Capital City Chapter, #4 Millie Camp TuneTown Show Chapter, #4 Nancy Cloeter Harbor City Music Company Chapter, #19 Laura Conners Member-at-Large Cinda Crews Rich-Tone Chapter, #25 Sharon Davis Fenton Lakes Chapter, #2 Marie Decker Greater Harrisburg Chapter, #19 Jo Forbus Member-at-Large Duane Gawler Twin Cities Show Chapter, #6 Gayle Geers Diamond Jubilee Chapter, #4 Dianne Gray Metro Mix Chapter, #5 Jeanne Guyse Zumbro Valley Chapter, #6 Sandra Halseth Battlefords Blend Chapter, #26 Carolyn Hay North Metro Chapter, #16 Janice Humphrey Cincinnati Sound Chapter, #4

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Bonnie Kerr Harbor City Music Company Chapter, #19 Laura Kirkpatrick Pride of West Texas Show Chapter, #25 Jean Knight Lake Ridge Legacy Chapter, #17 Celia Kraatz Danville Chapter, #3 Jody Little Toast of Tampa Show Chapter, #9 Kathy Littlefield Sparkling City Chapter, #10 Patricia Luebbers San Diego Chapter, #21 Edwina Martens Chapter-at-Large, #19 Patty Martin Olympia Chapter, #13 Kathy Matyger Chapter-at-Large, #19 Bonnie McKibben OC Sound Chapter, #21 Lisa Norton Pacific Empire Chapter, #12 Barbara O'Donnell Central Coast Harmony Chapter, #11 Suzanne Overcashier Pride of Toledo Chapter, #17 Mary Kay Parrish Altoona Chapter, #19 Nancy Peterson Choral-Aires Chapter, #3 Trina Pietz Hickory Tree Chapter, #15 Gwen Pullen Metro Nashville Chapter, #4 Sharon Putney Spirit of Syracuse Chapter, #15 Ann Reinman Shoreline Sound Chapter, #2

Viola Reko Kansas City Chapter, #5 Gayle Robinson Chapter-at-Large, #13 Carole Rosenbrook Choral-Aires Chapter, #3 Karen Rourke Chapter-at-Large, #1 Sidney Rudd Scottsdale Chapter, #21 Jane Schoenfeld Greater Cleveland Chapter, #17 Georgia Spaetti Spirit of Evansville Chapter, #4 Joanne Stolp Chapter-at-Large, #25 Karen Streit Chapter-at-Large, #3 Harriett Swartzmiller A Cappella Bay Show Chapter, #9 Patty Temesi Greater Cleveland Chapter, #17 Isabelle Timm Twin Cities Show Chapter, #6 Joan Treadwell Harmony on the Sound Chapter, #1 Sally Wallace Coeur d'Alene Chapter, #13 JoEllyn Welch Heart of Illinois Chapter, #3 Joyce Wheeler Member-at-Large Judith Wisner Jersey Sound Chapter, #19 Linda Wulf Helena Xpress Singers Chapter, #13 Marlene Zabel Crosstown Harmony Chapter, #3

60-YEAR MEMBER AWARDS Nancy Barclay Member-at-Large Linda Clements Motor City Blend Chapter, #2 Merriann Cree Sacramento Valley Chapter, #12 Bron Dixon Member-at-Large Sheila Earnshaw Chapter-at-Large, #16 Darlene Filla* Blue Mountain Chapter, #13 Barbara Gahr Member-at-Large Judy Gordon Harborlites Chapter, #21 Joyce Harvey Member-at-Large Carolyn Huber Voices Northwest Chapter, #13 Arlene Hupach Midwest Crossroad Chapter, #3

Jerrie Johns Chapter-at-Large, #10 Pat LeVezu Bay Area Showcase Chapter, #12 Barbara McKeon Island Hills Chapter, #15 Jeanne Mills Member-at-Large Marcy Newman Show-Me Harmony Chapter, #25 Kathleen Nici* Boston Skyline Chapter, #1 Ruth Ann Parker Rich-Tone Chapter, #25 Marlene Pence Member-at-Large Phyllis Richeson Spirit of Spokane Chapter, #13 Donna Robson Gem City Chapter, #4 Joanne Sipe Acapella Express Chapter, #6

Norita Skvarla Harborlites Chapter, #21 Lou Solberg Member-at-Large Joyce Stanbery Scenic City Chapter, #4 Dale Syverson Rich-Tone Chapter, #25 Wreatha Terry* Member-at-Large Maggie Ugen* Laurel Harmony Chapter, #17 Beverly Vanasek* Member-at-Large Esther Varga Houston Horizon Chapter, #10 Karen Whitted Chapter-at-Large, #6 Melodee Wright* Wichita Chapter, #25 Julie Zehnder Battle Creek Chapter, #17


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AN EVENING with the CHAMPIONS A recap of The Coronet Club Show


he Coronet Club Show in Louisville was the reunion we all wanted and didn’t know we needed. Yes, the Coronet Club members staged a show in Phoenix in 2022, but it was on a small scale. The setting there was intimate: a ballroom with limited space for the chorus of queens who dazzle us each year in their colorful outfits and glittering crowns. And during the COVID era, the Coronets had staged virtual shows – a far greater technical undertaking than viewers could ever imagine – to reach out, look after each other, and stay in touch. But then, on Friday night in Louisville in 2023, there they were amid big smiles and warm memories. Quartet champions, their crowns sparkling under the convention center lights, greeted audience members as they entered the hall. The happiness was genuine, the affection real and reciprocated. We were here to celebrate our champions and the thrilling competition we had just seen. The week of contests had been spectacular, with competitor after competitor raising the bar over and over again. Every year, viewers say they’re glad they didn’t have to judge this one, and they really meant it in Louisville. What a contest, we agreed, and whooshed out a breath as though we’d been the ones onstage. In the end, the winner of the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Contest was Lady A Cappella – Stacey St. John, Deidra Ronfeldt, Kerry Denino, and Gretchen Holloway – three past champions and a bright, shiny lead whose operatic chops brought down the house. As has become a Coronet Club tradition, Lady A Cappella entered the arena to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman and rhythmic applause from the audience. Next, the Coronet Club chorus took to the risers and An Evening with the Champions began. Anne Downton, baritone of the 2017 champion quartet Frenzy, directed

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the chorus of queens in their Broadway-inspired opening medley before giving way to “everyone’s favorite emcee,” Liz Hardcastle. The lead of 1986 Queens of Harmony Ambiance was met with a wave of delighted applause as once again, a warm feeling of nostalgia swept the arena. Liz’s hilarious, deadpan delivery had been a staple of Coronet Club shows for 20 years until her selfimposed retirement from the podium in 2018. But here she was again, just as funny and dry as ever, masterfully pacing the show from performer to performer. And what a lineup it was. With bass Ashley Rohvit stuck at home but participating on a cell phone via Facetime, The Ladies’ Quincie Snook, Caroline Hunt, and Kimberly Newcomb were welcomed into the Coronet Club as the chorus of queens performed Renee Craig’s Coronet Waltz. The Ladies didn’t let a little thing like “no bass” keep them off their first Coronet Club show as quartet champions. Guest basses Patti Britz-Stensaker (SPOTLIGHT, 2007 Queens of Harmony), Lindsay Chartier-Holdeman (Director of Note-ably North Texas, three-time Harmony Queen —1998, 2000, 2010), Kyle Snook (Trademark Quartet, Barbershop Harmony Society), and Candra Rice (Hot Pursuit, Harmony Queens, 2019) stepped on stage with The Ladies to perform. This was in addition to help from Debbie Cleveland (Queens of Harmony Showtime, 1994, and the BUZZ, 2005), Daniel Durrett (“not a barbershopper”...yet), and Melody Hine (Hot Pursuit, Harmony Queens, 2019), who subbed on their swan song set. Let that soak in. Seven different basses in two sets. What a wonderful roster of support! Classic Edition, sounding as strong as when they won in 1998, marked their 25th anniversary; Swinglish Mix, 2003 Queens of

Harmony, gave a nod to their 20th year with a video message; and Dale Syverson, baritone of the 1973 champions The Tiffanys, brought the house down with her reaction to club president Nancy Cloeter wishing the quartet “another 50 years.” But Marilyn Conlan topped them all. Marilyn, lead of the 1959 champion Yankee Misses, marked her 65th year with the Coronet Club. Liz hailed Marilyn’s leadership and support of the Coronets, practically from the day Renee Craig dreamed up the idea. As Liz pointed out, “Renee wanted the Coronet Club, and Marilyn made it happen.” The show also featured sets from Lustre (2018) Martini (2012), LoveNotes (2014), and Frenzy (2017). Guest performers Quorum, the 2022 BHS gold medalist quartet, kept the party swinging with a lively performance that showcased their skill and versatility. Sweet Adelines International’s glittering past met its dazzling present and astonishing future when The Starlettes took the stage. A glance across the chorus revealed crowns, gold medals from Sweet Adelines International and Harmony, Inc., and a slew of top-ten medals awarded that very afternoon. The chorus, directed by LoveNotes baritone Caitlin Castelino, is composed of winners of the Rising Star contest. “Directing the Starlettes is one of the things I look forward to most at the international convention,” Caitlin said. “We have minimal rehearsals together (typically one or two the week of convention), yet they are able to put together challenging music and make gorgeous art because of their drive, skill, hard work, and focus.” Rising Star, Sweet Adelines’ quartet contest for singers aged 25 and younger, has been an incubator for champions since it began in 1999. Winners who went on to capture International quartet gold medals include LoveNotes, who won in 2005 as UnderAge,

2019 Queens of Harmony ClassRing (Rising Star 2014), and 2023 Queens of Harmony The Ladies, who took home Rising Star gold in 2016. The 2018 champions Hot Pursuit won Harmony Inc. crowns in 2019. And that’s just counting hats. The Starlettes’ connections run deeper than competitive success. “Not only are they talented musicians, they are all wonderful people,” Caitlin said. “We finished up one rehearsal early and ended up sitting and chatting for the rest of the rehearsal time. We always have a great time catching up and reminiscing about our time in Rising Star.” Whether the Starlettes will perform on future Coronet Club shows is uncertain, Caitlin said. “We normally sing some time during the convention, but the schedule didn’t allow for that this year, so we reached out to the Coronet Club, and they were able to add us to the show lineup.” Smart move, Coronets. They’ll be among you sooner or later. As the queens returned to wrap up the show with the Champion Strut (directed by Caitlin) and Sing medley (led by Caitlin and Melody), they joined their young counterparts and members of Quorum for the annual group photo. It’s a fun moment among friends and shared with the audience they’ve come to treasure. Sure, they did shows when we were apart. But it’s so much better this way. Maggie Ryan is a member of Greater Harrisburg Chorus

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“Pure Joy and Enthusiasm”

Remembering Sweet Adelines International Donor Melodee Wright


elodee Wright was not capable of telling a joke. At least not in the traditional sense. “She tried but never got things in the right order, and by the time she attempted the punchline we were all collapsing with laughter,” recalls Lani Webb, her best friend of 43 years. Laughter, love, friendship…Melodee brought all of them to an incredible career in barbershop singing. Her legacy lives on in the many people whose lives she touched. Thanks to an estate gift that she left for Sweet Adelines International, many more singers can experience the support she gave so freely during her lifetime. Her gift will support the Young Singers Fund. Melodee, called “Melo,” was a third-generation barbershopper. Like her grandmother, Garee Rogers (Sweet Adelines International President 1962–64), and her mother, Ila Wright, she competed with Wichita Chorus. In 1969, at the age of 24, Melo became the first woman to direct Wichita Chorus. Current Wichita Chorus Director Melynnie Williams said in Melodee’s eulogy, “Melo was a true trailblazer, and if you had the pleasure of singing in the Wichita Chorus under her direction, you witnessed this over and over again due to her creativity and vision.” Melodee led the chorus to its very first international competition in 1976, while also competing as tenor of her quartet, The Shondells. The Shondells were the first quartet to be coached by “the Queenmaker,” Jean Barford. They earned their international championship in 1977 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Even before becoming Queens of Harmony, The Shondells delighted audiences and inspired singers around the world. In 1971 (with their first lead, Marion Davenport), the quartet was sponsored by the United Service Organizations (USO) to travel to Japan, the Philippines, and Guam to sing for U.S. military members in the hospitals. They were invited to return in 1972, traveling this time to Vietnam, flying in helicopters from camp to camp to perform and talk to the troops. As a performer, Melodee was electrifying. “Melodee was in her element when onstage with her chorus and quartet,” says Lani.” She radiated with pure joy and enthusiasm, and it was contagious.” As a leader, she was creative, innovative, and extremely convincing. “Melo was born to lead, inspired by her love of music, family and friends,” says Lani. “Her charisma, dedication, and attention to

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detail were a perfect fit to be a leader in an organization that allows women to learn and grow in so many ways.” Melynnie agrees. “Melo loved to entertain and have fun, but she was also a planner, always having a 5-year plan, and the chorus succeeded because of her organizational skills and her gifts as a master scheduler,” she says. “She was great at talking people into things!” Melo directed the Wichita Chorus for over 30 years, and after she retired, she continued to serve on the board and support the chorus in other ways. When the chorus needed a director, she came out of retirement to lead them until she encouraged Melynnie to step into the role in 2011. “She had the faith in me to do the job,” says Melynnie. “She offered to be my assistant director and promised me that she would be right there beside me every step of the way...and she was. It was such an honor to be entrusted with her beloved chorus.” Lani and Melynnie describe Melodee with great affection. “Melo was warm, accepting, and welcoming, making you feel important and always greeting you with a big smile and a hug,” recalls Melynnie. “She saw the potential in everyone, always encouraging them to be ‘more,’ to take a job or position she knew they would excel at…and she was right.” Shortly before her passing in April 2023, Melodee was an honored guest at the Wichita Chorus 71st Anniversary Show. In her last email to the chorus, following that show, she wrote, “Last Saturday night was the best I've had for many months. Hearing the solid sound, watching the smiling faces and precise choreography was quite a thrill. The quartets and the small ensemble added a special sparkle. I'm extremely proud to be a member of the Wichita Chorus. Barbershop music is the best in the world!” Thanks to her mentorship and her estate gift, generations of singers will feel the love that Melodee gave so generously to this organization and to barbershop music.

If you would like to include Sweet Adelines International in your estate planning, please contact Susan Smith, chief philanthropy and adminisrative officer at

Harmony Across Oceans LoveNotes Quartet Visits Australia and Japan


wenty-one years ago, we were four preteens learning to harmonize in our voice teacher's garage. Back then, we never imagined that we'd someday be four adults traveling the world, still making music together. Recently, LoveNotes had the amazing opportunity and honor to fly to Australia and Japan for a twoweek adventure filled with performing, coaching, teaching, and forging new friendships. This trip had been years in the making. It was initially planned for the summer of 2020, and, well, we all know how that turned out. We had to push it back, and then push it back again. At one point, we started to believe it might never happen, so when it finally became a reality in 2023, we were absolutely ecstatic.

Our Journey Begins in Australia Our very first trip "down under" was an absolute whirlwind of experiences, with performances, teaching, and flying all over the expansive country in the span of just a week. We kicked things off with a truly incredible educational weekend with Sweet Adelines Australia in Sydney. After that, we spread out, with Brittany in Sydney, Stephanie traveling to Geelong and Brisbane, Mia visiting Ballina before meeting back up with Stephanie in Brisbane, and Caitlin heading all the way to Tasmania before reuniting with Brittany in Sydney. We spent that time working with choruses, quartets, and individual singers. Our hosts also made time for us to have quintessential Australian experiences, like exotic bird watching and even feeding kangaroos! Although our stay in each city was short, we spent our entire Australian trip in homestays, where our remarkable Sweet Adelines hosts truly made us feel like family.

Our Time in Japan Our trip to Japan held an extraordinary place in our hearts, as it had been in the works for quite some time after we connected with Akiko “Susie” Inoue, director of Harmonix chorus, at an international convention back in 2018. The moment we landed in Japan, our wonderful hosts, Susie and Akiko “Maggy” Yoshikawa, helped us navigate to our hotel. They then treated us to delicious food at an izakaya, where Britt had the best mushroom skewer she’s ever tasted…and that was just the first of many incredible culinary experiences in Japan!

During our time in Japan, we had the opportunity to teach workshops, coach quartets, and perform in two incredible shows with Lemon Squeezy (2016 BHS International 2nd Place Quartet) from Sweden and the Harmonix Chorus. We sang alongside Lemon Squeezy at the Shibuya Cultural Center where the structure of the space allows the acoustics to ring in a truly magical way. We were featured on the Harmonix annual show – truly “The Greatest Show” – performing joint numbers with both the chorus and with Lemon Squeezy. The afterglow was unrivaled, filled to the brim with music, love, happy tears, and, of course, sushi. It was a profound reminder of the joy of being with our barbershop family, even if some were strangers just a few days ago. Our night continued with an epic karaoke session that lasted until 3 a.m., making it the latest night of our trip, which was a bit tricky considering we had plans to be up at 8 a.m. for a day at Tokyo DisneySea! Naturally, we extended our trip to spend more quality time together, and some of our loved ones joined us for the adventure. We explored Tokyo and Kyoto, enjoying our first Shinkansen (bullet train) ride, visiting breathtaking temples and shrines, befriending the deer in Nara, wandering through vibrant markets, and even making a stop at a mini-pig cafe! Some of us ventured to the lush paradise of Hakone, where we stayed in traditional ryokans with 24-hour spas and indulged in gourmet meals morning and night.

“Music Brought Us Together” Of all the beauty we got to take in during our travels, nothing could surpass the sense of community and connection through music that touched our hearts so deeply. During our keynote address in Australia, we used the phrase, "Music brought us together, community keeps us together," and we couldn’t have felt that more. Our love of harmony brings us together in an inexplicable way, even across oceans. If there is a moral to this story, it is that there are no limits to the power of music and people who want to accomplish something together. To Australia and Japan, thank you from the bottom of our hearts – we'll be back someday! LoveNotes is a popular performing and teaching quartet. They are the 2014 Sweet Adelines International Champion Quartet, and they also won the 2005 Rising Star Quartet Contest as UnderAge. They are Brittany Gilmore (tenor), Mia Wardell (lead), Caitlin Castelino (baritone), and Stephanie Worland (bass).

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y n o m r a H p u d n u o R

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: RiverSong Chorus (#5) at a St. Joseph Mustangs baseball game; Equilibrium Quartet (#12) at a Eugene Emeralds baseball game; Greater Cleveland Chorus (#17) at a Cleveland Guardians baseball game; Heart of Long Island Chorus (#17) at a Long Island Ducks baseball game; Masquerade Quartet (#4) at Tennessee Smokies and Chattanooga Lookouts baseball games; Region 6 singers from Acapella Express Chorus, Center Point Chorus, City of Lakes Chorus, Lake Country Chorus, Minnesota Valley Chorus, River Rhapsody Chorus, and Vallee de Croix Chorus at a Minnesota Twins baseball game; Sticky Notes Quartet (#17) at a West Michigan Whitecaps baseball game; Mission Valley Chorus (#12) at a San Jose Giants baseball game; Gem City Chorus (#4) at a Dayton Dragons baseball game; Idaho Falls A Cappella Chorus (#8) at an Idaho Falls Chukars baseball game; Queen Charlotte Chorus (#14) at a Charlotte Independence soccer match; and Crosstown Harmony Chorus (#3) at a Milwaukee Admirals hockey match. Circle of Harmony Chorus (#16) had a great time showcasing barbershop a cappella at Oakville Culture Days. Georgia Sensation Chorus (#14) sang at the Peach Tree Corners Festival. Song of Atlanta Chorus (#14) performed at the Candler Park Fall Fest. Baton Rouge Chorus (#10) sang the U.S. national anthem to open the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association convention. The “Extension Chords” ensemble of Metro Mix Chorus (#5) performed at the gravesite ceremony of United States’ 31st President Herbert Hoover in West Branch, Iowa at a ceremony to honor his life and legacy. Perth Harmony Chorus (#34) performed at Dunsborough SongFest, a three-day music festival.

How We Sang: Today's Special (#15) performed at the Medford Concert Extravaganza in Medford, New York (USA). High Desert Harmony (#12) performed at the Sierra Arts Festival in Reno, Nevada (USA). Vocal Vibes Chorus (#34) received a 500 AU$

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Small Equipment Grant from Maroondah City Council. JAZZ! Quartet (#25) got great comments from the judges when they performed at the Great Route 66 Talent Search in Springfield, Missouri (USA). Dogwood Blossoms Chorus (#17) performed at the Mount Vernon Music & Arts Festival in Ohio (USA). Heart & Soul Quartet (#10) won an award in the Parker University Summer Jam Fest Talent Show in Dallas, Texas (USA). Aurora Australis Chorus and Coastal a Cappella Chorus (both #34) performed at the Blackheath Choir Festival. Hunter Women of Note Chorus (#34) performed at the Festival of Choirs in Warners Bay, NSW (Australia). Blue Sky Harmony Chorus (#34) performed at Brisbane Sings.

Why We Sang: Motor City Blend Chorus (#2) volunteered at the Orchard Lake Fine Arts Festival in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan (USA). Alba Show Chorus (#32) "spread joy, pep, and power" to runners of Tjejmilen, a 10 km running event for women. Malmö Limelight Chorus (#32) sang at Midnattsloppet (Midnight Run). Magic City Chorus (#26) performed at The 2023 Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation on Canada's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The event is meant to demonstrate "a commitment to Reconciliation, honouring Residential School Survivors, and continuing work towards an inclusive community." Bay Area Showcase Chorus (#12) performed at a fundraiser for the Assistance League of Los Altos, California. Copper Town Harmony (#32) sang at a IOGT-NTO (International Organisation of Good TemplarsNationaltemplarorden) gathering in the Falu municipality to remember victims of drug abuse. Blue Sky Harmony (#34) performed at the Everton Volunteer Awards, hosted by Tim Mander MP (Member of Parliament), State Member for Everton (and former National Rugby League referee). Capitaland Chorus (#15) performed for the Schenectady Retired Teachers Association. Vocal Harmonix Chorus (#19) sang at their town’s Extra Give event, which benefited several community organizations. Members of Spirit of the Gulf (#9) prepared a meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Florida.

Gooooooaaaaaallllll...Waikato Rivertones Chorus (#35) helped out at FIFA World Cup to help raise money for their trip to Louisville.

Start your engines…Motor City Blend Chorus (#2) sang the U.S. national anthem at a NASCAR event at the Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR is the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

A Cappella Unlimited Chorus (#10) sang for the 7th annual Mermaid Festival in San Marcos, Texas (USA). San Marcos has been named the Mermaid Capital of Texas.

Country music star Trace Adkins was lucky to meet Up to Something Quartet (#13) when they sang the U.S. national anthem at the Clark County Fair in Ridgefield, Washington (USA)!

River Blenders Chorus (#5) sang the U.S. national anthem at a St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball game.

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Harmony up Round

Pearls of the Sound Chorus (#32) won their category (Choirs of Equal Voices – Difficulty Level II) at LISBON SINGS, an international choir festival held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Fran Carter of Vocal Dimension Chorus (#31) won Best Music Arranger for Treat People With Kindness at Making Music Awards 2023. Making Music is the UK’s membership organisation for leisure-time music, with around 3,850 groups representing around 228,000 music makers across the UK.

SouthCity Soundz Chorus (#35) placed first in their division at the South Auckland Performing Arts Competitions Festival.

Bathurst Panorama Chorus (#34) took first in Open Choral Championship, Open A Cappella Vocal Group, and Open Vocal Group at the Bathurst Eisteddfod.

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Whangarei Harmony Chorus (#35) joined three other community choirs at an informational event as part of the Whangarei District Silver Festival, a festival celebrating older adults. They write, "We each performed and answered questions and shared what a typical evening with each chorus is like...[It] was great to end with us all singing together.”

Magic City Chorus (#26) took part in Rock Your Roots Reconciliation Walk on Saturday, September 30.

"Singing for the arrival of Honor Flights is always a treat," wrote Riverport Chorus (#3). They sang for returning Honor Flight veterans at a local airport. Honor Flights is an organization that flies U.S. military veterans to visit war memorials and cemeteries.

According to its website, “The Elysian festival was created to promote the healing power of connection; to harness the idea of togetherness and provide a safe and open environment for all.” Orangeville Show Chorus (#16) was grateful to provide entertainment at the closing ceremonies of the Elysian Festival in Orangeville, Ontario (CAN)

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Why DEI?

The advantages of investing in DEI

Back row, left to right: Katie Fritz, Cheryl Chalk, Lori Britt Horvath, Gretchen Streett, Thérèse Antonini, Donnetta Hawkins. Front row, left to right: Jordan Sahlin, June Lenk, Victoria Junkins, Emma Riley, Tammy Talbot


o you want to increase creativity and innovation in your chorus and quartets? How about deepening connections among members to improve their experience and performances? Or recruiting incredible new talent to build the future of Sweet Adelines International? The above are just some of the benefits of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies. The three elements of DEI coexist to ensure that Sweet Adelines International validates different perspectives and backgrounds, treats every member equitably and without harmful prejudices, and fosters experiences where all voices are highly valued. Studies have shown that an investment in DEI fosters diverse recruitment, new ways of thinking, and increased engagement resulting in improved satisfaction and overall experience.

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International President Thérèse Antonini, CEO Tammy Talbot, and Corporate Secretary Janell Mason

Diverse Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion

By demonstrating a commitment to DEI, choruses can enhance their credibility, build stronger relationships with diverse communities in which they operate, and ensure they are relevant and responsive to the needs of those communities, resulting in recruitment success.

We celebrate our differences as essential to the rich harmony that unites us. As we recognize barbershop’s African American origins and learn from our exclusionary past toward women of color, we reject discrimination and unwaveringly strive toward greater awareness, openness, and understanding of each other.

New ways of thinking and innovation

On August 12, 2023, the DEI Council held its first in-person meeting at headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA). The focus was on the 2023 objectives below:

Sweet Adelines are shaped by their backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and personalities. Embracing these differences and bringing together people who think differently can unlock better collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking.

Improved culture and member experience When members feel like they belong and are valued for who they are, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their choruses.

The Sweet Adelines DEI Council (DEIC)

1. Deeper integration of DEI principles and practices across the organization. 2. Evolving the DEI educational topics while maintaining balance, including communicating the benefits to the organization. 3. Increasing communications and awareness of the DEIC and subcommittees as resources available to all members and groups.

The DEI Council was launched in 2021 to support our members in realizing the benefits of executing DEI strategies. We emphasize two of the Sweet Adelines guiding principles:

Watch for exciting DEI success story examples in future editions of The Pitch Pipe! For further information, please contact the chair, Victoria Junkins, at

Culture of Belonging

Victoria Junkins is Chair of the Sweet Adelines International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. She sings bass with Lyric Quartet in Region 8.

We create harmony where every voice matters. We foster a culture that provides a joyful place to share our uniqueness within a global community united in song.

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MEMBERSHIP MOMENTUM: Engagement The first in a three-part series on membership recruitment and retention


n 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. Before we talk about membership retention, we have to talk about gaining members in the first place! How do you get singers in the door to a rehearsal experience – and once they are there, how do you make them feel welcome? In this Q&A, we discuss the importance of engagement.

Where or how do you market? Vickie: We’ve crafted a marketing message that aligns with our

culture. Our marketing team is active and effective, and we do a lot on Facebook and typically boost those posts. We are in a metro area that attracts young adults starting their careers who are looking for connection, so Meetup, Instagram, and Nextdoor have also been effective for us. When someone marks interest in an event, our social media team reaches out via private message. The membership manager contacts all guests who register and shares additional information about the chorus andthe director (me) and what guests can expect during their visit.

Kathy: Most of our success has come from Facebook, where

we create an event and boost it using keywords (singing, harmony, acappella, barbershop, chorus, etc.); anyone with those keywords in their Facebook profile will see our flyer. When someone marks their interest, we send a Facebook message; when they respond, we offer a Zoom chat to get acquainted, find out their singing experience, tell

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about our barbershop art form, share samples of our music, and decide what part they’ll sing. We follow up with an email that’s copied to the membership team with a screenshot from the Zoom so they know who to watch for. This proactive approach has resulted in guests having a very positive and comfortable experience on their first visit to Oregon Spirit because the intake process is seamless. The guest is greeted with a warm smile, given a music folder and a name badge, welcomed by me and the membership chair, and introduced to their chorus buddy who helps with the music and introduces them to others. This “Zooming to Membership Growth” process has resulted in guests feeling a connection to the chorus and therefore being more likely to return.

How do you plan and prepare for chorus guests? Vickie: There has been a big shift in how we interact with guests in recent years. The chorus is the membership team. We have a friendly greeter team that welcomes, prepares a nametag, shares a music folder, and generally helps people get settled. The membership manager keeps the chorus updated on registration numbers as the educational series unfolds. On the risers, we connect guests with a buddy who sings their part. Kathy: Our membership coordinator has built an efficient team that’s excited about their jobs! They prepare folders with information about the chorus, our current songs, a sheet titled How to Learn a Song Quickly, and a letter of welcome which the greeter provides to each guest. For open houses, each section stands in the four corners of the room, and after voice placement, the guest is escorted to her section to meet her new friends, establishing that

Vickie Maybury

Master 700 Director, Skyline Chorus

very important instant connection! The chorus buddy chair assigns someone to guide the guest through her first few months, and we always introduce the guest to the chorus (with wild applause).

How do you get started in engaging with potential new singers? Vickie: Our leadership team discussed the attributes and qualities of singers in our high-performance culture—what kept them engaged and committed. We then developed our three-week Sing Like a Champion education series, presented in a “lecture/ lab” approach. The “lecture” occurs in a classroom separate from the chorus, taught by the music team and me. These sessions are recorded on video in case a guest must miss one, and they are also shared with the chorus so they can also experience the lesson and have a sense of who the guests are. Our directing team keeps the chorus moving forward while I’m with the guests. The “lab” occurs with the chorus on the risers after the “lecture” when guests get to experience and apply what they’ve learned. Following each rehearsal, we send guests materials that include short educational videos created by our musical leaders and information about Skyline Chorus and Sweet Adelines International. This model is a great start to developing key relationships between our guests and our musical leaders. It also provides an opportunity to engage guests/new members in our culture that’s anchored in education, high expectations, and shared leadership. These educational workshops have also helped us fill learning gaps because singers are exposed to concepts, vocabulary, and other elements to help them move forward on their personal journeys and make more immediate contributions to Skyline’s collective journey.

Kathy Scheel

Master Director, Oregon Spirit Chorus

The series is organized as follows: Week 1: Vocal production, breathing/alignment, how barber shop is unique Week 2: Phonation/resonance, articulation, diphthongs, tuning Week 3: Performance, Storytelling

Kathy: We have three open houses each year: · January (Sing 2023) for those who want to add singing as one of their New Year’s resolutions; · July (Summer Singin’) for those who want to do something new for the summer, and; · October (Christmas Chorus) for those who just want a short-term commitment (a few always end up staying). The evening starts with a group voice lesson to teach basic vocal skills, followed by a simple tag in four-part harmony so they can get that buzz from hearing and feeling those chords. The chorus performs a couple of songs and then we go into sectionals to meet the new people and teach an easy song together. When we come back together on the risers, everyone hears the song in four-part harmony for the first time, and it’s great to see the reactions as they experience the thrill of being surrounded by the sound of singing great barbershop harmony. They are hooked! 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!

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We've gained 902 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!

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Valley Chords Chorus hit it out of the park with their entry for the Ignite the Sound Vol. 2 Webcast Watch Party Micro-Contest! They won $1,000 USD. Follow Sweet Adelines social media for information about upcoming micro-contests.

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Roadmap to a Great Rehearsal Keep your chorus members engaged! You’re driving home after a fun, fulfilling rehearsal, humming one of your latest new songs. You feel tired but energized, proud of what you accomplished and recalling the moments of laughter during the evening. You’re feeling hopeful and inspired about your chorus reaching the goals it has set for the next competition. All of these “feels” are by design – the design of a rehearsal that your director has planned. How do they do that? Rehearsal planning is one of the most important things a director does. Some directors can get away with a week-toweek focus, but directors who really want to see their choruses reach their goals put a lot more long-range planning into their rehearsals.

Know Where You Want to Go It starts with knowing where you want to go. George Harrison said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” and it’s true. But when you get “there,” will you be happy with where you are? Chorus goals determine your overall path – where you want to go. Milestone markers such as competition results and coaching feedback help determine if you’re still on course to reach your goals.

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The Yearly Roadmap Yearly rehearsal roadmaps that include times for coaching, performances, new songs, and introducing visual plans shape directors’ thinking. If all of these are in place, the director can turn their attention to short-range plans (1 to 2 months) focusing on the skills that need to be developed. The shortrange plans can also include development of musical leaders to help carry the load and strengthen the long-term viability of the chorus.

Rehearsal This Week And now it’s time to plan rehearsal for THIS week. Knowing where their chorus wants to go, seeing the general path they’ll need to follow, having a sense of the important things coming up in chorus life over the next year, and developing an overarching plan for the next month or two, directors now put the puzzle pieces together in a way that they hope provides variety, fun, and educational engagement.

Rehearsal plans typically include the following:

• Guest time: We all want to know who is joining us for the evening, and guests need to feel special and noticed before being thrown onto the risers! Often, the membership team sets them up for success at the very beginning. For example, many choruses provide buddies to help guests through the barrage of initial information. • Physical warmup time: Start with a physical warmup to get everyone physically loosened up, engage the muscles used in singing, and help everyone focus on following a leader. We don’t realize that this skill (following a leader) is not something that all of us practice every day; it needs to be reinforced. • Vocal warmup time: Our voices are typically “warm” from talking during the day, but are they stretched and focused for singing? We need to learn to phonate effectively and resonate well, to breathe for singing, and to hold ourselves in good singing alignment. Vocal warmups are a great time to teach or reinforce new vocal skills. Also, the whole ensemble needs to be reminded of how to sing TOGETHER, not as separate voices but as parts of a glorious whole. • Learning time: New music, new choreography, new skills… there’s always something to learn! When new skills can be previewed during vocal warmups, the learning gets reinforced. The learning goes even deeper when the director can use several learning modalities (visual, aural, kinesthetic) in teaching. • Review time: Everyone loves singing songs they already know. There’s a sense of mastery that each of us can reach, and when the director adds in reminders about performing all the time, the review of songs can be so much more

rewarding! Also, there may be portions of songs that have slipped, needing a little more intense review and reminder time or focus on the visual aspects. • Social time: We are social animals, and we crave variety, fun, and interaction. The smart director provides some ways to incorporate social interaction with the rest of the musical activities, like moving people around on the risers, breaking into sections, or having some discussion of new skills being experienced. When the director embraces a sense of fun and laughter in the rehearsal, what a delight! • Business time: Somewhere during the evening, some business reminders need to be dealt with. Administrative teams that can keep the business announcements moving along crisply are GREATLY appreciated by directors (and chorus members).

Planning and executing great rehearsals takes time, energy, and focus. Appreciate your directors who produce great rehearsals over and over and make you want to come back for more! To learn more about rehearsal planning, see the Director Certification Program Module 10: Rehearsal Planning. It’s not just for directors! Julie Starr is Master Director of Bay Area Showcase Chorus, former Region #12 Education Coordinator, chair of the Director Certification Program (DCP) Review Committee, and a member of the International Board of Directors (IBOD).

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Learn how you can honor a member, director, leader or any Sweet Adeline who has made an impact on your life.


Virtual Memorial Wall

Honor the memory of a Sweet Adeline by having their name added to the new 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 • October-December 2023

Dorthy Payne,


Kathie Edwards


Cathy Conley Chapter-at-Large, #8 Beverley Thorpe

Bonnie Bonnett

Mendo-Lake, #12

Patricia LeBel-Schaefer Chapter at Large, #1

Jane Sembera


Nancy Barclay


Kathleen Hamilton

Acapella Soundsations, #13 Teresa Hickey

Vocal Vibes, #34

Charla Sherman

Acappella Sounds, #1 Brenda Popovich

Memorial Gifts Valley Shore Acappella, #1

Barbara Rolison

South Florida Jubilee, #9

High Country, #8 Phyllis Brose Melodeers, #3

Former Sweet Adelines honored with a Memorial Gift

Barbara O'Donnell Central Coast Harmony

Deborah Collins Heart of the Blue Ridge

Suzy Buerer Pride of Portland

Betty Farrell Member at Large

Greta Somers Shoreline Sound

Kelly Deare RiverSong

Betty Mars Spirit of the Gulf

Marie Watts Southern Star

Brittany Chandler Pride of Portland

Cynthia Sieloff Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mildred (Millie) Miles Member at Large

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Accolades Accolades as of December, 2023

Advanced to Certified Director Sheila Donahue, Chisholm Trail, #10 Beverly Gooden, Lone Star, #10

Advanced to Approved Director Kelli Hinton, Rich-Tone, #25

Grand Rapids Chorus

is a thriving Sweet Adelines Chorus in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are looking for an enthusiastic, creative, and inspirational director that will take us to the next level. Our 60 singers love to perform in contests and in the local community. To learn more and apply, visit

Lone Star Chorus,

Need Ideas?

Visit the Ignite the Sound Resources Library!

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a Fort Worth-based Sweet Adelines Chorus is seeking a new director. We are looking for a dynamic director with the skills to take us to the next level. We look forward to hearing from you! If interested, contact us at


2024 Harmony Classic Division AA Champion Chorus REGION #3, Wheeling, Ill., USA

Lions Gate 2024 International Champion Chorus REGION #26, Vancouver, B.C., CAN

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