Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Piney Hills Harmony wishes you an 'A Cappella Christmas'

Hello, all,

Here's the news release that was sent out regarding our upcoming Christmas show. I'm including a shot from last week's rehearsal that WON'T be in the newspaper, but thought this would be a good forum for it.

Anyone who is reading this who is not a PHH member: We'd love to see you Saturday night. The show will be great fun, family entertainment. Lots of ear candy, plus lots of laughs and also very meaningful moments.

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'A Cappella Christmas' to spread holiday cheer

An award-winning North Louisiana group has wrapped a gift in sequins and song and will offer it to the region Dec. 1 -- as a Christmas show.

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International will present "A Cappella Christmas" at 7 p.m. in the Dixie Center for the Arts in downtown Ruston. It's the first winter production by the group, which has presented fall shows for the public since 1999. The chorus now boasts its largest membership ever, including 36 women from eight parishes.

In addition to the group's own a cappella numbers, a men's barbershop quartet from Clinton, Miss., will perform.

"We are fortunate to have such a quality quartet in Brick Street to entertain our audience," said Wanda McKaskle, Piney Hills Harmony director. "Their comedy will have you laughing uncontrollably. And not only that, they're great singers as well. It will be a wonderful night of family entertainment for our area."

Brick Street was featured on Piney Hills Harmony's 2003 show and was so well liked, the chorus is bringing them back for an encore. The quartet's members have amassed nearly 50 years of combined barbershop experience.

Two quartets from within Piney Hills Harmony will also be spotlighted that night:
• Masquerade – made up of McKaskle, Mary Jo Brister of Quitman, and Jennifer Patterson and Sheila Stepp of Ruston; and
• Sweet Harmony – composed of Donna Fike, Carol Ogle and Judy Sisson of Monroe, and Lea Rutherford of West Monroe.

The two-hour show will include traditional Christmas music such as "Carol of the Bells," "Silent Night" and "Mary, Did You Know" plus other fun selections such as "Santa Baby," "Dancin' in the Street" and "(NaNaNaNa) Kiss Her Goodbye."

New members who will take the stage with Piney Hills Harmony for the first time on "A Cappella Christmas" are Kathy Hightower and Charles Etta Johnson, Homer; Sarah Hollis, Haughton; Ginny Kimbrough and Rebecca McNeill, Eros; Caroline Leung, Ruston; and Belinda Reid, Farmerville.

Piney Hills Harmony has won first place in its regional Sweet Adeline competition, as well as having claimed two third places.

Curtain time is at 7 p.m. in Ruston's Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N. Vienna St. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and $10 for children 12 and under. They are available from chorus members, at the Dixie Center and at the door.

For more information, call McKaskle at (318) 614-0206. More information about the chorus can also be found at http://pineyhillsharmony.tripod.com and www.pineyhillsharmony.blogspot.com.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here's what a sing-in looks like -- feel the harmony, warmth and love!

For those of you who might be reading this and have never witnessed a Sweet Adeline "sing in," where new members are officially welcomed into the chorus, here are a few photos that will allow you to experience it vicariously.

These pix show Piney Hills Harmony singing in our newest member, tenor Caroline Leung of Ruston. This brings our roster to 36 members at the moment. Wow, are we smokin' or what?!? We're so proud and pleased to have all our new members, and we also value our older (er, I mean "veteran") members tremendously! This is such a great group of ladies.

Quite frankly, we've never before had this many close-ups of someone being sung in (guess that's one of the perks of being sung-in solo). But there's such great emotion being shown, we thought we'd share them all with you! Thanks to Wanda for the photos! And thanks to Teresa for providing the photos from International in the post below.

During the ceremony, the chorus sings the Sweet Adeline theme song, "Harmonize the World," and the soon-to-be member is brought into the center of the circle. As the established members continue to sing, the new member is "pinned" with an angel pin. Then, all the veterans take turns welcoming her into the circle of song and the sisterhood of Sweet Adelines -- with hugs and smiles and sometimes even tears!

Here is the ID for these pix:
#1) Mary hugs Caroline while Sallie Rose sings "Harmonize." Or is it the other way around? Is Caroline hugging Mary? OR: All of the above????
#2) President JudySis hugs Caroline while Karen and Faith look on.
#3) Frances hugs Caroline, and there's Miss Jules lurking in the background!
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President Judy summed up things well in an e-mail that she just distributed to chorus members:

Congratulations to Caroline Leung! Caroline is our newest "Sister in Song", our newest tenor, and member number 36!!! We welcome her as a member of PHHC, even though she's been faithful to attend our rehearsals for several months, including Summer Music Camp and has been like our sister already. We admire Caroline for her zeal, diligence, determination, and love of music. Again, welcome Caroline!!!
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Back from Canada, they represented us well







As we've mentioned before (of course!), six members of Piney Hills Harmony Chorus traveled to Calgary, Canada, this past weekend to attend the Sweet Adeline International 2007 competition. Five of them competed as dual members of Little Rock's Top of the Rock Chorus. Those who competed on that grand international stage are (from left in Photo 1) Carol Ogle, Donna Fike, Wanda McKaskle, Sheila Stepp and Teresa Hendrix. While there, they traveled to visit the beautiful Lake Louise (Photo 2). Piney Hills Harmony president Judy Sisson (far right, Photo 3) accompanied them. Photo 4 shows more great scenery, and Photo 5 shows them out for a night on the town.

Here are some e-mail comments concerning how their PHH sisters feel about these traveling singers ("lifted" by the PHH Blogger; hope that's OK!).

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* WOW! is the only thing I can say about the magnificent Web cast we were able to watch. The quality of the Web cast was wonderful...so improved since watching it for the first time 2 years ago.

I absolutely OD'd on barbershop this weekend listening to the magnificent quartets and choruses...they took my breath! But, as you can see, I managed to get it back...lol...and, did you not see all our sisters up there singing their hearts out? They all looked so beautiful and the closeup shots were great!

I saw all of you and you absolutely gorgeous! Even saw our beloved Sue (PHH's former assistant director) singing her heart out with her Florida chorus. The commentators kept mentioning how beautiful and striking your red outfits were. They were impressed.

We are so proud of all of you for making such a commitment and look what a great opportunity it was...a trip to Calgary to sing on the International stage. WOW! that must be awesome! I'm sure all of you need to rest. Rest well, dah-h-hlings...you deserve it! I'm already socking away all those pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, & bills I can lay my hands on so I can go to Hawaii----can hardly wait! Aloha Oi!!!!"

Hugs 'n Harmony,
Jerri

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* I was very proud of all our Piney Hills Harmony folk who sang their hearts out up in Canada. Several of my office mates watched the performance and were very impressed.

To the Canada Crew: You all sang with tremendous emotion (yes, it came across during the Web cast!), and as Jerri said, you all looked loverly. I know all of you learned lots of great things that you want to bring back to share with PHH, as Sheila said in the recent newspaper article about the trip, "to make us even better than we are now."

Looking forward to lots of post-Canada hugs Thursday night! :-)

Love to all,
-- Sallie Rose

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* My chest is "busting" (get the double meaning here?) with PRIDE for ALL of you who went to Calgary. Proud of who represented us there and proud to be a part of PHHC myself ... I'm SOOO lucky to be a part of your chorus and to KNOW you all. What an awesome group of singers ... and ladies ... I thank you for allowing me to be a part of this group of special people. I can only imagine how awestriking the experience was for each of you. You should be busting with pride too!!! A job WELL DONE!!!

Love all of ya,

Ginger

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* DITTO...DITTO...DITTO...DITTO...ETC...

-- Karen (aka "Sparkles")

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Anyone else feel free to add a comment here, either those of us who remained in the U.S. or those of you who made the great journey.

Once more, we're terribly proud of all of you. In a phrase: You done good!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Piney Hills Harmony sends singers to worldwide contest

Five members of Piney Hills Harmony will compete at the global level this coming week during the Sweet Adelines International annual convention.

Thirty-four choruses and 52 quartets will gather Oct. 9-13 for the international contest in Calgary, Canada.

Those from Piney Hills Harmony will compete as dual members of the Top of the Rock chorus in Little Rock. They are Sheila Stepp, of Ruston; Wanda McKaskle, of Bernice; and Donna Fike, Teresa Hendrix and Carol Ogle, of Monroe.

When Sheila thinks about performing on the international stage, she sums it up with one word: "Wow."

"I can't describe how excited, nervous and honored I am to be a part of such an event," Sheila said. "To me, competing onstage at International is like competing at the Olympics: You're pitting yourself against the world's best singers, vying for a gold medal, trying to bring home the win for your chorus and your region."

Piney Hills Harmony is in Region 25 of the Sweet Adelines organization, which includes North Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, southwest Missouri and north Texas.

Carol said the Piney Hills Harmony contingent began rehearsing with Top of the Rock in January and since then has made the three-hour trip approximately twice a month.

In explaining that kind of commitment, Carol said, "It's just so much fun – even the three-hour drive and the hours of rehearsing. It's a great opportunity."

Actually, it's not the first time Piney Hills Harmony members will have been at international. Wanda and former PHH member Sue Moore of Calhoun sang with Top of the Rock when the international contest was held in Detroit in 2005. And Wanda, Carol, Sheila, Teresa and seven other Piney Hills members attended international as spectators last year when it was held in Las Vegas.

"Last year when we went to Las Vegas, I thought: 'I can do that,'" Carol said. "It's just really exciting to see the great accomplishments people can make. It's a great synergy – the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, working together toward a common goal."

Both Carol and Sheila say that the experience is providing skills they can take back to other areas of their musical lives, such as their local chorus or quartet.

"Going to this kind of competition takes your skills to a higher level," Carol said. "It's like taking a graduate course in barbershop."

Sheila agreed: "I've been so fortunate, not only to have wonderful training from the director of my local chorus [Wanda], but to have had outstanding coaching and direction from internationally recognized leaders of barbershop music."

Top of the Rock coaches during 2007 included several directors whose choruses have won international gold, such as those from Dallas, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Sweden.

"I've become a much more effective singer from this experience," Sheila said, "and as assistant director of Piney Hills Harmony, I hope to share what I've learned with my chorus so that we can grow as a group and become even better than we are now."

Former assistant director of Piney Hills Harmony, Sue Holder, will also perform in Calgary -- with the Jacksonville Harmony Show Chorus. Sue retired from Louisiana Tech last year and moved to Jacksonville, Fla., and is now a member of that award-winning chorus.

Piney Hills Harmony President Judy Sisson of Monroe, who also attended last year's convention in Las Vegas, will accompany the group to Canada.

Top of the Rock is scheduled to perform at 4:05 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. A Web cast of the event will be available at this address: www.sweetadelineintl.org/webcast.cfm.

More info on TOTR can be found at www.topoftherockchorus.com.

The six members of Piney Hills Harmony who will travel to Canada for this year's Sweet Adeline International convention are (from left) Sheila Stepp, Wanda McKaskle, Carol Ogle, Teresa Hendrix, Judy Sisson and Donna Fike.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Meet Piney Hills Harmony's newest members...


... part of a newly minted, continuous chain.

As promised, here are some photos of our 2007 Piney Hills Harmony rookies. We got a group shot Thursday night of everyone except Holly, and we hope to get her in a pic this coming Thursday. (We missed you at rehearsal, Holly! :-)

We also captured an action shot of Belinda's being sung in and present it here for your viewing pleasure. Isn't that a great smile? Oh, BTW, that's one of Belinda's new sisters in song hugging her, Jean Dunham.

In the group shot, the IDs are as follows:
Bottom row, from left: Rebecca, Kathy
Top row: Charles Etta, Ginny and Belinda.

As President Judy said last week in one of her e-mails, "Hip, Hip, Hurray!" Indeed, we're entering into a new world for Piney Hills Harmony -- new, and very exciting. We're blessed to have all these wonderful new ladies and wonderful new voices to join our chorus.

Ooo, ooo, ooo -- almost forgot one of the newest, neatest things that I figured out: We now have members that span almost every age group in an unbroken chain. We've got a(n almost) teenager, we've got 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, 50-somethings, 60-somethings and 70-somethings. How cool is that?!?!?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gotta post this right now!

Hello again....

The PHH Blogger plans to post some photos of our new members this weekend. Got a group shot tonight that included everyone except Holly. (Holly, we missed you tonight and hope to get you in a pic next week! :-)

But the PHH Blogger can't wait till the weekend to post this news. Gotta do it right now. Right this very minute.....

We added another newbie tonight! In the past two rehearsals we have now sung in six -- count 'em, six -- new members. The previous post listed last week's additions. Tonight, Belinda Reid became our latest rookie, another new baritone. Yea! We're just a-growin' up a storm.

Another happy Thursday night for Piney Hills Harmony! Double :-D

For all of you who weren't able to attend rehearsal, we did miss you. Wanda, hope things go well with you and yours. There were also others out sick or on cruises, etc. etc. etc.

Sheila, great job tonight in Wanda's absence.

I'll sign off with Chica's cheer for this week:

Hey! Sisters,
We're back to sing with pride,
So step aside,
Yell - Go, Sing, Win,
Hey! Region 25,
We're back to attack!
We'll show no slack!
Hey, Sisters!
We're back to sing with all our might,
D-i-g-i-t....dig it! (clap clap)
That's the way, Sisters
Love it, you can't stop it!
We're to the top, We rock it!

YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!

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Thanks, Chica!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We're mid-size!

Let's face it: Most of the time we women don't like to admit it when we get bigger. But guess what? There are 30-something women in North Louisiana who are ecstatic about growing larger ... the members of Piney Hills Harmony Chorus!

Tonight, PHH sang in five new members, who will be added to our current roster of 29. That brings us to 34! Yea!!! That means we have been re-classified as a mid-size chorus, rather than a small chorus. We're very excited and, what's more, the newbies appear to be as well. :-)

Our newest members are as follows: Charles Etta Johnson, Ginny Kimbrough, Holly Gleiser, Kathy Hightower and Rebecca McNeill. Plus, a few additional new PHHers are lurking in the wings.

Hopefully in the next week or so, we'll get a nice group shot of all the new rookies to post here on the blog.

Till then, happy harmonizing! And Sweet (Adeline) dreams, girls!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tech to offer singing class as continuing ed; PHH director to instruct

Thought the membership of Piney Hills Harmony and/or new visitors to our site might like to read the following news release that was distributed by Louisiana Tech University.

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If you love to sing and would like to enhance your vocal abilities, Louisiana Tech has a continuing education class that might resonate with you.

"This class will appeal to someone who wants to become a better singer, who wants to take their singing to a new level," said instructor Wanda McKaskle.


The course is open to both men and women and will be taught Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 26 to Oct. 17. Ability to read music is not a requirement.

Judith Brown, administrative coordinator for Tech's Division of Continuing Education, said, "I'm really excited about this program and about Wanda as its instructor after going on the Web and reading about her."

McKaskle is a professional in her field, Brown said, and is acquainted with and has studied with professionals across the United States and Canada.

McKaskle's credentials include serving as director of Ruston-based Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International, a group that has won gold-medal honors in its regional five-state competition. In that capacity, McKaskle has traveled to numerous events such as the International Education Symposium, which brings together Sweet Adelines from across the globe to study with some of the world's top vocal instructors.

Brown said to her knowledge this is the first time Tech has offered a continuing education course with this theme.

McKaskle said her favorite part of the class is the kinesthetics of singing. "Singing is a mind thing," she explained. "Moving different parts of your body frees up your mind to let your voice be free and pure and natural."

Yet the most important and fundamental facet of vocal production is breathing, McKaskle said. She has labeled it "the fuel of singing."

"You've got to know how to breathe properly and how to have your 'instrument' aligned properly with correct posture," she said. "These are two basics, and everything else enhances your sound."

Other topics to be covered include "Breath Control – tension, capacity, management," "Embouchure – shaping your mouth for singing," "Articulation – creating words that communicate," "Phonation – creating the sounds of music," "Resonance – creating good vocal vibes," "Synchronization – creating unit sound for choral singing," "Vocal Warm-up Routines – awakening your vocal instrument," "Keeping a Healthy Voice – health tips and relaxation of the instrument," "Expression – communication of the musical product through the lyrics" and "Energy – Performance + Personality + Synergy."

McKaskle said the sessions will include both a classroom environment and vocal production as a group. "There won't be one-on-one singing, so no one is going to be put on the spot," she said.

"My goal is to show anyone interested how to become a better singer, to show ways to reach out and transport the audience to smiles, laughter or tears. The course can also give teachers more information to pass on to their students and show how music fills your soul with harmony and peace."

"Learn to Sing" will meet in Tech's Davison Hall, Room 105. The fee for the four three-hour sessions is $85. For more information about this or other fall CE classes, call (318) 257-4433 or visit www.latech.edu/ce.

Tech's Division of Continuing Education is committed to learning as a lifelong process. It offers courses that provide learning for personal enrichment, respond to business and workforce development efforts, support employer training needs, and form alliances with and deliver contract courses to business and industry.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

... And, oh, by the way ....

This is kind of a P.S. to the previous posting about upcoming events in Piney Hills Harmony.

We shared with you earlier that the chorus representing Region 25 (our region) in the 2007 Sweet Adelines International Competition will be Top of the Rock ... from Little Rock (where else?!?).

We also want to let you know that the outgoing 2006 International Champion is from Region 25 as well -- the Rich-Tones, from Richardson, Texas. You can find them in our "Links" section. They're the greatest ... better than Broadway!

Here are some pix so that you can get to know them better.


Also, it's worth mentioning that Region 25 has produced the new International President, Peggy Barnes Gram, co-director of Top of the Rock.

Why not pencil in these Piney Hills Harmony dates?

If you're reading this blog and aren't an official member of Piney Hills Harmony [ but obviously have an interest in the chorus! :-) ], you might want to mark a few dates on your calendar.

* Our first-ever really-big Christmas Show is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Dixie Center for the Arts (previously the Dixie Theater) in downtown Ruston. The two-hour show will feature Christmas songs by the chorus during the first half; the second half will spotlight the guest quartet Brick Street as well as the chorus in a round of exciting non-seasonal songs. See Brick Street photo below, and click on "Brick Street Quartet" in the "Links" section of this blog to find out more about this talented and very funny foursome.

* Five of our members will compete with the Little Rock chorus Oct. 9-13 in Calgary, Canada, during the 2007 Sweet Adelines International Competition. These PHH ladies are dual members with Top of the Rock and travel to rehearse with the Arkansas group at least twice a month. During the actual contest, we'll be able to tune in via the Web. As noted earlier, see below for a pic of TOTR, and click on the "Top of the Rock Chorus" link to find out more about our northern neighbors.

* Regional competition is set for April 24-28 in Richardson, Texas. No pressure -- but by then we hope to have several of the "Singers Wanted" ladies in our midst as our Sisters in Song! See "Region 25, Heart of America" link for more regional info ... Plus, PHH's pic from last year's regional contest is shown in the "About Me" section of this blog.

We'll add more dates and more details in the days to come. Till then, happy harmonizing, both in song and in life.



Saturday, September 01, 2007

Obviously, she's just gotta sing!

One of our guests in this week's rehearsal is a member of the Corpus Christi chapter, Frances Arnett. She plans to visit as much as she can these days while her husband is working in Shreveport. Frankly, we're glad she's addicted -- her presence is a welcome addition!

Friday, August 31, 2007

... And the fun continues!

The PHH Blogger couldn't resist creating another post after last night's rehearsal.

We had 10 -- count 'em! -- 10 visitors last night. A big, hearty, warm Piney Hills Harmony welcome to all who joined us!!! We can't help it ... We get excited when we're able to share the joy of harmony like this. It's such great fun to have so many singers on the risers and to have so many voices blending in song.

Six of our guests last night were people who had attended our recent "Singers Wanted" sessions; four were folks who were visiting with a chorus-member friend or who were just new visitors, period.

What's more, four of our "Singers Wanted" participants weren't able to attend last night because of scheduling conflicts, but word has it that they plan to return next week. You know what that means, don't you? We'll soon have to start using our toes to help count the visitors! :-p

Stay tuned. Hopefully, we'll have some more pix and/or more comments and/or more interesting things to post in the days and weeks to come.

Till then, here's hoping for harmony in all aspects of your life .....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

'Singers Wanted' lessons, Epilogue

Our 'Singers Wanted' lessons are over. Sigh.

They were so much fun, at the moment we're kind of missing them.

But, thankfully, the good news remains that we announced in our first posts about the campaign ... This was a wonderful year for our vocal lessons! :-) We had more than 30 ladies from across North Louisiana participate.

And there's more good news ... our first-ever Performance Night to which the participants' friends and families were invited was a great success! :-D The chorus and our two quartets performed for about 45 minutes, and then both chorus and vocal lesson ladies sang "Na Na Na Na" and "Anything Goes." We even did an encore presentation of "Anything Goes," which featured some nifty choreography ... all learned in the span of two weeks. Wow. Told you these ladies were good!

And there's even more good news ... About 9 or so of the participants said they plan to come back next week for our regular rehearsal and are thinking about joining the chorus. Plus, after attending the Performance Night, a couple of friends of chorus members are thinking about joining as well. YEA!!!

Speaking of choreo, here are a few shots from the first week's session when we were initially learning the moves. (These photos were submitted after the first posting concerning "Singers Wanted.")

In the first photo are PHH members Sharon and Karen D. (in the blue T's) and "Singers Wanted" participants Colleen, Carolyn G. and Charles Etta. (We're obviously not learning moves here, but it was a good pic, so I still included it. So shoot me, beat me, make me sing off-key!)

In the 2nd photo are Pam, Kathy, Amanda, Rose Ann, an interloper among the newcomers - veteran PHH member Lisa, and Karen M.

The next 2 pix show the Travolta-like move from "Anything Goes" and also the muscle-man move from that number (front and center in the muscle-man pic is Courtney).

The bottom shot features Amanda.

Do any of these people hear the spotlights calling their names????




Piney Hills Harmony quartet presents anniversary serenade

One recent PHH sing-out featured four members in a quartet setting at the Russ House, an assisted living facility in Ruston.

Lea, Julie, Sallie Rose and Sheila serenaded a couple celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary on Aug. 15 (if the PHH blogger's memory serves her correctly). The couple -- Albert and Irma McKee -- were served up the treat at lunch time.

These photos show the quartet during the actual performance and also afterward with Mr. And Mrs. McKee. PHH members are (from left) Sallie Rose, Lea, Sheila and Julie. The selections were "He Was There (at the Mardi Gras)," "Tuxedo Junction," "Rockin' Robin" and "Happy Anniversary to You."

The quartet had a grand time during the gig -- and we hope that the McKees and the rest of the audience did as well! :-D


Friday, August 10, 2007

Continuing coverage of the wonderful PHH 'Singers Wanted' campaign

This is the final installment -- for now, anyway -- of the 2007 "Singers Wanted" campaign conducted by Piney Hills Harmony. Two other installments can be seen below. Skip down several posts if you want to read them in chronological order.

The pix in this post are group shots of the various vocal sections from the night of Thursday, Aug. 9. From the top, the sections are lead, bass, tenor and baritone. (Please, pay no attention to the woman sipping water in the background of the lead shot. That's just one of the current hams in our chapter trying to hog the spotlight. Get it? A "ham" "hogging" the spotlight?)

Note that in the photos, everyone looks so HAPPY. I think that says something, yes??? :-D

Can't wait till next week to see our new-found friends again -- and maybe to meet some new ones! Till then, keep singing ....




More wonderful scenes from our 1st 'Singers Wanted' night

Here are some more wonderful shots of our wonderful visitors during our wonderful first night of our wonderful "Singers Wanted" campaign, sponsored by the wonderful Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of the wonderful Sweet Adelines International. Ain't it wonderful?

The first pic shows quite a few of our visitors -- with our own wonderful youngest member, Faith, front and center. Faith is granddaughter of our director, Wanda the Wonderful, and great-granddaughter of Janet, our wonderful treasurer and Sweet Adeline of the Year for 2007.

The other shots show us -- are we wonderful, or what?!? -- doing various exercises that are designed to help our breathing, etc. There is also another small group shot -- wonderful, of course.




Piney Hills Harmony's 'Singers Wanted' session nets 26 participants

Last night's "Singers Wanted" free vocal lessons drew 26 participants from across North Louisiana, from Monroe to Shreveport. Both visitors and Piney Hills Harmony members had a grand time -- or at least that's the rumor that's going around! ;-D

Anyone who missed the first segment of the lessons can still take part in the next two, scheduled for Aug. 16 and 23, from 6-8 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. The third night will feature a performance by chorus and vocal lesson participants for the guests' families and friends.

Note: If 'Singers Wanted' participants wish, they can stay until 9:00 and rehearse with the chorus as we learn the new song, "Anything Goes." Many of the ladies did this last night, and we worked on not only the song, but some nifty new easy choreo as well.

The PHH Blogger wants to share some photos with you from last night. These pix come from one of our members, Teresa, who wields a pretty mean camera. We'll publish about four in each posting, hopefully about 12 pix in all. So ... stay tuned!

We'll begin with a full group photo from last night; a shot of the vocal lesson participants singing on their own (yea!!!); and shots of both the right and left side of the risers.




Monday, July 30, 2007

Congratulations to our Janet, Piney Hills Harmony's Sweet Adeline of the Year 2007













We'd like to again congratulate our treasurer and Woman of Many Hats, Janet Philbrook, who was named Piney Hills Harmony's 2007 Sweet Adeline of the Year.

Janet is a truly wonderful person and a tireless worker for PHH. She has countless times gone above and beyond the call of duty on many projects, such as costuming, fundraising, serving on the front row, etc. Her can-do personality is always joyful and positive. And last but not least, she's the reason we have our great director, Wanda ... Janet is her mother!

Above left is a photo after the announcement was made concerning Janet's award at this year's Chorus Breakfast at our regional competition in Dallas; her friend Eloise Dance is sitting beside her. The other pic shows Janet in a bit more formal attire. (For an explanation of Janet's PJs and the Chorus Breakfast, please see previous posts :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Count the ways that singing counts: Piney Hills Harmony sponsors 'Singers Wanted'


"I had never even sung a note, outside of my car, but then I got up on those risers and felt that harmony go right through me - I was hooked!"

"When I joined, I was just looking for a place to sing. I found a place I didn't know I'd been looking for ... I'm loved, I'm appreciated, I belong ... I found me."

"What other hobby allows a woman like me, of average abilities, the opportunity of performing on stage just like a professional? I love all the glitter and glamour of Show Biz!"

These are just a few of the comments that women from across the nation have made after they joined Sweet Adelines International. More can be gleaned from www.divaswanted.com.

The good news locally is that in August, the Ruston-based Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines will sponsor free group vocal lessons for women -- "Singers Wanted." Participants will have a chance to improve their singing skills as well as be introduced to a popular hobby.

Chorus director Wanda McKaskle backed up comments from the Divas Wanted Web site. "Musical experience isn't necessary for either the lessons or to join the chorus," McKaskle said. "Any woman of average singing ability, with or without vocal training, will benefit from the lessons and can also find a part that fits her voice range if she eventually wants to join the chorus."

In addition to musical training, McKaskle said, the chorus promotes harmony and friendship among women. It also provides community service, offering its talent for entertainment at civic events and charitable functions. Currently, the membership in the award-winning chorus includes 29 people from seven parishes.

Celebrating more than 60 years of barbershop harmony, Sweet Adelines International has a membership of over 27,000 women around the world. The organization is dedicated to educating its members in the art of singing four-part harmony, barbershop style, and has as its motto "Harmonize the World."

McKaskle explained about the phrase "Divas Wanted": "It's not your grandmother's barbershop anymore. If you haven't heard the recent arrangements that we and other Sweet Adelines perform, you'll be pleasantly surprised -- and pleased -- at the up-to-date feel of the songs."

McKaskle said the organization also offers members a chance to grow in many realms other than music.

Another Divas Wanted entry reiterates that emotion: "I learned more from being a member of Sweet Adelines than I ever learned at work. Apart from the musical training, I gained useable skills in marketing, administration and leadership. My confidence and self-esteem have gone through the roof and I am more successful in all aspects of my life now."

The Ruston lessons will be offered from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 9, 16 and 23 at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. A new twist this year is that the third week will be a performance night so that vocal class attendees can sing with the chorus for their families.

For information about the lessons or chorus, contact McKaskle in Ruston at (318) 614-0206 or wbeckham@mlsji.com.

And we'll have fun, fun, fun ... at SMC


PHH participated with gusto in this year's Region 25 Summer Music Camp held in Denton, Texas. The annual event featured internationally acclaimed director and coach Jean Barford, the master director from Gem City Chorus in Dayton, Ohio.

Since 1972, Gem City has won five gold medals and four silver medals in international competition, a feat achieved by no other Sweet Adelines chorus. It was such an honor and a pleasure to soak up all the knowledge that this wonderful lady had to offer us June 22-23.

Here are a few scenes from our summer sojourn. From the top:

Teresa and Wanda share a hug and a meaningful moment.

Donna, JudySis, Lea and Karen pose at one of the many eating establishments that was visited during the trip.

Sharon, Lea, Teresa and Sheila toast to all the fun that's being experienced and the knowledge that's being gained.

Jennifer, JudySis, Sheila, Lea and Jean pause in front of one of the buildings where classes were held.

Jerri, Caroline and Mary share some cold treats.

The grungier the better!

The world may not be ready for this, but we're posting anyway, for posterity!

The 2007 PHH Competition Breakfast officially became a Grunge Fest again this year, after several years of other various themes. Translated: We gathered around 7:30 a.m., still sleepy, but ready to have fun and blow off some steam before the actual competition that afternoon.

As it has been for several years now, the regional competition was held in Dallas. At the breakfast, we had a grand time letting our hair down and letting it all hang out (sometimes literally!).

Here are but a few examples of that. There MAY be more to come in the future, especially if we get permission to post the winner of the 2007 Grunge Breakfast, who has previously mandated that her photo NOT be posted. ;-) Wonder why?

With that thought in mind, perhaps the names of those shown in the photos below should be omitted to protect the ... guilty. Clockwise from top left, here's the scoop:

* OK, these first two gals don't look so bad; that's why we're leading off with them! :-) But you can see that on one person's dress, that little hangy-uppy thing is visible. So, see? She really is grungy after all!
* In the 2nd pic, these folks are really in the spirit of things. Not only do they have on their cool sunglasses; they're also sporting Bubba teeth! But no fair -- they've got on matching shirts!! (Hint concerning that: They're in a quartet together.)
* The 3rd photo shows our absolutely MAH-valous Rookie 2007 class. Aren't they a wonderful crew?
* The final photo shows one of the "acts" during the Breakfast -- the Dream-On Girls. They are obviously appropriately named!



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