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November 1, 2004

Sweet Adelines convention sings a swan song

Indianapolis Star:

Sweet Adelines -- those fun-loving ladies of four-part harmony who descended on Indianapolis this week for their annual international competition -- are a pretty easy-going bunch. That is, until you call one of their a cappella singing groups a choir. That's liable to get the women, who've spent the past four days singing, shopping, making new friends and taking in the sights of Indianapolis, pretty riled up. "We always call it a chorus," explained Patti Cole, 39, London, Ontario. "Choirs are too stuffy."

There's nothing stuffy about the 12,000 visiting Sweet Adelines, who wind up their stay here today with chorus finals from noon to 6 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center. "We sing with full-body involvement," Cole said. "In addition to the music, there's a lot of waving and carrying on." That was evident Friday during a lunch-hour mass sing on the RCA Dome steps. Hundreds of women -- from across the United States and Canada, as well as Europe, Australia and New Zealand -- bobbed and swayed and threw their hands into the air as their voices joined in fluid chords of tight barbershop harmonies. When they weren't singing, the women were laughing.

"Up there on the steps, there were people from all over the world who know and enjoy the same music. You just feel a real connection," Cole said. "It's a real sisterhood." And that sisterhood -- as well as the singing and carrying on -- has spilled out of the Convention Center, Cole said, "to wherever four or more of us get together." When Sweet Adelines converge, she explained, singing is a given. It doesn't matter if they're in a concert hall, hotel room, elevator or restaurant.

"We sang at Cracker Barrel for our waiter the other day," said Tammy-Lyn Yungblut, 28, also with the London (Ontario) Chorus. The 58-year-old group is dedicated to advancing the art of barbershop harmony through performance and education. Some members have spent most of their lives steeped in the unique musical style, while others, like Yungblut, are newcomers. "I got started two years ago. I went to an open house with a friend and saw how much fun people were having," she said. "I love to sing, and I love having fun, so here I am."

Posted by acapnews at November 1, 2004 10:21 PM