Singing puts a spring in your step

Published Jan 16, 2013 at 9:58 am (Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 10:12 am)

Good singers are not only great to listen to, but a blessing. It’s not just the vocals, but the individual’s feelings and expressions from the heart. Men and women have been singing for thousands of years in all cultures and from all walks of life. Singing is fun; it’s like laughter, offering physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Delightful new experiences can develop when singers join their voices with others. Harmonizing in groups develops teamwork and encourages discipline. It opens windows, breaks down barriers, builds cooperation and amicable relationships. The sound of collective voices is uplifting.

Since its founding in 1974, Sounds of Pittsburgh, a Sweet Adelines International women’s chorus, has won its annual Region 17 overall competition six times and mid-size competition seven times. “Sounds” has competed from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and placed 24th out of 600 in Nashville in 2009. Judged categories include music, sound, expression and showmanship.

Sounds of Pittsburgh and all Sweet Adelines choruses are starting this new year by holding global open houses Mondays Jan. 21 and 28, hoping to encourage women of all ages to experience a cappella singing in the barbershop style. Previous vocal training is not necessary. Come to hear the group sing, to add your voice to the chorus or to learn more.

“I’ve been a member of Sweet Adelines for 49 years,” said Lee McGuire of Bethel Park. “I started the Diamondhead chapter in Hawaii and sang with the Norfolk group before moving to Pittsburgh.”

More than 65 Sounds of Pittsburgh performing women, ages 20-82, are members. All walks of life are represented including teachers, florists, nurses, students, EMTs, sales reps, an exercise instructor, even a veterinarian.

Edna Mae Anderson founded Sweet Adelines in 1945 in Oklahoma after noticing the harmonizing fun her husband and his friends enjoyed in their barbershop group. She gathered a few wives of the barbershoppers and from then she grew the Sweet Adelines organization to more than 30,000 women in 600 choruses with the motto, “Harmonize the World.”

Although membership dues covers the group’s basic needs, contributions and fundraising helps to defray the cost of costumes, coaches and special performances. The sale of Scrip gift cards, candy, Entertainment Books, Singing Christmas Cards and iGive online shopping, helps with additional expenses.

For the past two years, David Wallace of Canton, Ohio, has been the “Sounds” group director and educator. His credits include a men’s international winner, singing lead in the quartet “Rapscallions.”

Show profits provide support to WTAE Bundle-Up, Genesis, McGuire Home for Children, Sweet Adelines New Orleans Katrina Relief and Fishers of Boys, naming a few.

Rehearsals begin at 7 p.m. Mondays at the Coraopolis U.M. Church. “Sounds” sponsors high school girls who form quartets in the Sweet Adelines International Young Women in Harmony program. Quartets from Peters Township High School have been regional winners and in the Johnny Appleseed men’s barbershop contest.

Sounds of Pittsburgh will send Singing Valentine phone calls for this year’s Valentine’s Day. To learn more, visit the website at or call 412-279-6062.

The 67th Annual Sweet Adelines International Convention is set for Nov. 4-9 in Hawaii.

Master Director

After only 11 weeks directing Sounds of Pittsburgh, David Wallace and “Sounds” placed first in the mid-size competition and second overall in regional. David is also a member of the men’s international winning quartet “Rapscallions” and his new quartet, “The Jones Boys.”

David began his Sweet Adelines career as director of the “City of Flags” chorus, taking the group to five regional championships and a top ten international finish. He was the first to become master director in the Lake Erie Region.

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