Friday, December 05, 2008

Change of time and meeting place for Dec. 6 caroling

There has been a change of time and place since the last post concerning where to meet for Christmas caroling tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 6) in Monroe.

Here is the latest from Carol (hey, Carol is organizing the caroling -- neat!):

We will meet at Azalea Estates (off 165 North) a little before 10 a.m. (This is where Judy Sisson's mom lives and also where the former caregiver to Sallie Rose's mom lives). We have four great places to go sing and will end up in West Monroe. Bring some snacks for lunch because we won't be finished until about 2 p.m. Then whoever wants to can go to lunch.

Wear your Sweet Adeline logo denim shirt with a white, green or red T-shirt underneath. If you don't have a denim shirt, then improvise! Jeans and comfy shoes are fine.

I am very exited that we will have the opportunity to share our music and our love with these assisted living residents and especially with the war veterans. I know it's a sacrifice to give up half a Saturday at this busy time of year - but the reward of sharing will be well worth it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony sings in Darlene Futch


Another new member has been sung into Piney Hills Harmony -- Darlene Futch of Monroe. Hugs -- and a few tears -- were in order as the chorus sang the Sweet Adelines theme song, "Harmonize the World."

Darlene is the third member from the '08 Singers Wanted vocal lessons to join the chorus. And don't touch that dial: There are more to come, I'm sure!

Darlene, we're glad to have you as a new Sister in Song!

Shown at the sing-in with Darlene (above) is assistant director and a lead section leader Teresa White, also of Monroe, who invited Darlene to visit the chorus. Shown below that, issuing hugs, are Donna Fike and Jean Dunham.

We're so proud of all our new members! :-D

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dates to mark on your PHH calendar

Here is a calendar of upcoming events, according to lists compiled by Lisa, Carol and Sallie Rose. Let us know if anything else needs to be added, and we'll update as we go along.

Thursday, Nov. 20:

o 1st taping to qualify for ballad.

Thursday, December 4:

o Chorus Christmas Party – regular rehearsal hall (not in Monroe as previously announced)
o Nadine will be cooking for us (as Carol says, "Yum!"). We are asking each member to donate $5 toward food costs; please give to Janet as soon as you can.
o Bring an “angel”-themed gift (at a cost of about $10) for our gift-exchange game.

Saturday, Dec. 6 :
o Caroling in Monroe; everyone is invited. (See latest post above for update on this caroling info.)
o We will go to a couple of assisted living centers and the Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home. Meet at the Veterans Home (on Hwy. 165 North) at 2 p.m.; we'll go to the other places from there. Afterward, onward to Fox's Pizza for dinner and then to Carol's house for dessert and more singing!
o Try to wear "Sweet Adeline" denim shirts with a green, white or red T-shirt underneath - and jeans.

Friday, Dec. 12:

o Performance at the city's Christmas lighting ceremony; 6:30 p.m.; those who are participating need to be practicing the songs that have been announced; details of meeting time and place to follow.

Thursday, Jan. 8:

o Goal -- our last taping for the contest ballad (before our guest coach arrives; see below).

Saturday, Jan. 17:

o Coaching Day with guest coach Holly Beck; 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at regular rehearsal hall
o Wear a chorus shirt and be prepared to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!
o We’ll divide up breakfast and lunch responsibilities later.

March 26-29:
o Region 25 Chorus/Quartet Competition – Richardson, Texas
o Details later, but be prepared for a wonderful experience!
o New gals – you will be amazed!

Chris Brady joins Piney Hills Harmony

The second member of this year's Singers Wanted participants to join Piney Hills Harmony was -- ta da! -- lead Chris Brady of Homer. She and director Wanda McKaskle are shown to the left.

In the photos below:

* During the sing-in ceremony, a smiling Chris is hugged by Janet Philbrook as President Judy Sisson waits her turn.

* And, of course, everyone wants to get in on the action, as another another hug is issued by Carolyn James, with vice president and membership chair Mary Stark grinning in the background.

Congratulations, Chris -- and a hearty Piney Hills Harmony welcome!

Stay tuned ... more new member announcements to come .... :-D


Caitlyn Carpenter becomes newest Piney Hills Harmony member


As the photos in this post show, members of Piney Hills Harmony were delighted recently when a new member joined their ranks, lead Caitlyn Carpenter of Eros.

But there was one member who was even happier than the rest -- her mother, Rebecca McNeil of Winnfield, who is shown above, far right (the one with the huge smile!). Tricia Sticklen is the PHH member bestowing the hug.

The pic to the left shows Caitlyn and her mom together after the sing-in.

Vice President and membership chair Mary Stark, of Shreveport, presented Caitlyn with her goodie bag during the sing-in activities (see photo below).

Caitlyn attended the 2008 Singers Wanted free vocal lessons offered in August and September and was the first from that group to join the PHH Rookie Class of 2008-2009. She and Rebecca are one of several mother-daughter duos that have graced our chorus through the years.

Cheers all around!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In Loving Memory of Randall Hudson Reid


We were saddened to hear of the passing of Randy Reid, the husband of chorus member Belinda Reid, of Farmerville. Belinda, please know that we love you very much, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Belinda became an enthusiastic member of the chorus last fall after our "Singers Wanted" lessons and was one of the most vibrant performers on our Christmas show in December. Randy supported her new-found hobby with gusto. Unfortunately, Randy got sick soon after that, and Belinda has been on a leave of absence for several months.

Belinda, we have missed you during this time, and our hearts are reaching out to you.

-- Your Piney Hills Harmony/Sweet Adeline Sisters

This photo was from the After-Glo following the Christmas show, "A Cappella Christmas."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Performance Night 2008 photos



Did you miss us? It's been a while since the ol' PHH Blogger was able to post here. We missed seeing you in this digital world! Hope you missed us, too! :-D

Actually, we had planned to post, but stuff happened. You know how it is ....

The PHH Blogger was out of town on business and vacation-related travels. And, frankly, she tried to take digital items along to post on the trip, but her new flash drive somehow didn't work with her new laptop ... hence, this long hiatus.

Even so, we've been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to proudly present photos from our recent Performance Night, which featured a group from our '08 Singers Wanted free vocal lessons. We're thrilled that several members of this group have decided to pursue membership in Sweet Adelines. Yea!

Which leads us to say: If you missed the lessons and would still like the partake in an organization that can help you grow musically, the doors are still open. This year, Piney Hills Harmony was named the fastest-growing mid-size chorus in our region. We'd love to have you visit with us sometime. Remember: There is the possibility of carpooling. See sidebar for contact details.

Performance Night, held Sept. 4 at the Northside Church of Christ, featured Piney Hills Harmony in an informal, free concert. But the highlight of the evening was when the voice lesson participants -- plus regular chorus members -- presented a song that we recently learned together, "Kickin' It up a Notch." It even featured choreography!

The first shot above (courtesy of our own Caroline) is of the Singers Wanted participants who took part in Performance Night. Aren't they a cool-looking bunch? They hail from Ruston, West Monroe, Monroe, Homer, Farmerville and Eros. The second shows both the vocal lesson participants and the chorus.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Location change announced for chorus Performance Night

A change in location has been announced for Piney Hills Harmony's Performance Night, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4.

Originally to be held in the chorus's regular rehearsal hall at 212 N. Bonner, the presentation will now be at the Northside Church of Christ, 1804 N. Trenton (U.S. 167 North). The building is on the right about one-half mile from the interstate.

As announced earlier, Performance Night will feature the chorus's ’08 Singers Wanted participants, along with its regular chorus members, in a free mini-concert. The goal: to spotlight area women who have gone through this year’s free group vocal lessons, offered annually by the Ruston-based Sweet Adelines group. Approximately 20 women have taken advantage of the lessons since Aug. 21, including residents of Lincoln, Claiborne, Ouachita, Union and Webster parishes.

Chorus members and vocal lesson participants will present a new song that they have learned together, "Kickin’ It Up a Notch."

The chorus itself will also perform other numbers from its repertoire, such as "Anything Goes," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Dancing in the Street," "Alexander’s Ragtime Band" and "I Believe." The quartet Sweet Harmony from within the chorus will sing as well.

Refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vocal lesson participants, chorus to present program



The photos above show scenes from our second "Singers Wanted" night of free group vocal lessons. The top one shows our member Ginger (back row in turquoise) asking a question. The bottom shot features the left side of the chorus, where nine of the vocal lesson participants can be seen (at least partially, that is!) Thanks to Caroline for the photos. Will get additional ones from Lisa H. later on. Check back later, OK?

Meanwhile, the story below has been posted to the News-Star and Times blogs, and also sent to area newspapers.

****************

Piney Hills Harmony chorus will feature its ’08 Singers Wanted participants, along with its regular chorus members, in a Performance Night at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4.

The mini-concert will spotlight area women who have gone through this year’s free group vocal lessons for women, offered annually by the Ruston-based Sweet Adelines group. Approximately 20 women have taken advantage of the lessons since Aug. 21, including residents of Lincoln, Claiborne, Ouachita, Union and Webster parishes.

Chorus members and vocal lesson participants will present a new song that they have learned together, “Kickin’ It Up a Notch.”

Chorus President Judy Sisson, of Monroe, said attending the presentation is a perfect opportunity for participants’ friends and family to observe what the singers have learned.

“We have had some wonderful ladies attend the vocal lessons, and they were great singers, too,” Sisson said. Women who missed the first two lessons can use this night as a chance to see what they missed and also to see what the chorus is all about, she added.

The chorus itself will also perform other numbers from its repertoire, such as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Dancing in the Street,” Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “I Believe.” Quartets from within the chorus will sing as well.

The Singers Wanted Performance Night ’08 will be held in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. Enter through the door adjacent to the back breezeway. Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony voice lessons resume tonight - cue the applause sign!


OK, I figure an update is in order. I mean, after all, the previous post talks about "tomorrow night." Well, the next Piney Hills Harmony free vocal lesson is now ... tonight!

So here's your official, final posting concerning this session of the lessons.

Take a cue from the woman in our graphic: What a great idea!

Be there or be square. :^D

BTW, did you see our director on KTVE Region 10 at 5:45 this morning? The PHH Blogger did. Wanda did great, even though the show host kept asking her to sing (a request she denied!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't forget about Phase Two: Kick it up a notch!

This is just a quick reminder that Vocal Lesson #2 is set for tomorrow night, Thursday, Aug. 28, from 6-8 p.m. at the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner.

Everyone is welcome to these free group vocal lessons for women! All voice types and ranges. All levels of musical experience. And actually, NO musical experience is necessary, nor is the ability to READ music. It's all very user-friendly.

Hope to see you there. We had a nice crowd of lovely, talented women last week and are looking forward to seeing them again (we hope!) and even more this week.

Then, after the lesson, "Singers Wanted" participants will have the chance to work on a new song with us, "Kickin' It Up a Notch." It's got great harmony -- and it's great fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2nd installment of photos from '08 'Singers Wanted'

The PHH Blogger and four other members of Piney Hills Harmony journeyed to Dallas -- well, OK, Richardson -- Texas, this weekend for the annual summer show put on by the Rich-Tone chorus of Sweet Adelines. We were also privileged to have a guest from Ruston accompany us on the trip (she was a "Singers Wanted" participant last year), as well as another friend of a chorus member. The PHH Blogger is pretty sure that a good time was had by all! :-D Photos to come.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of other pix from the first night of vocal lessons. These were provided by chorus member Caroline Leung, who wields a pretty mean camera. She has been taking some great pix for us during the last year. She joined PHH last fall.

These pictures show:
1) part of the "Singers Wanted" participants taking part in the first lesson and
2) the chorus and the vocal participants learning choreography to a new song. It seems that Teresa and Sallie Rose gave different directions to their respective sides of the chorus concerning how to exit this particular move. OK, we're gonna work on that for the future! ;-}


Friday, August 22, 2008

Sharing some pix of Piney Hills Harmony's 1st '08 'Singers Wanted' lesson

As promised in an earlier post, here are some photos from the first night of Piney Hills Harmony's "Singers Wanted" free vocal lessons.

If you were one of the participants, please know that we in PHH loved having you visit with and sing with us!

If you weren't able to make the first night's lesson, but would like to attend Lesson #2 or #3, please do. We'd really like for you to participate in the voice lessons, too!

More photos to come in a few days. Stayed tuned! BTW, isn't that a nice-looking crowd?

Photo captions, from top to bottom:

Close-up of tenor section.

Close-up of baritone section and partial view of lead section.

Close-up of baritone section and partial view of lead section.

Overview of chorus and "Singers Wanted" participants as they learn "Kickin' It Up a Notch." Director Wanda McKaskle is in the foreground.




Thursday, August 21, 2008

First night of vocal lessons '08: It was great!

Just wanted to post a brief note to let all the vocal lesson participants know how much we enjoyed your attending tonight's session. It was really a nice group.

We enjoyed getting to meet you and loved having you sing on the risers with us. The PHH Blogger could tell: There are excellent singers in this group. "Singers Wanted"? The answer is ... "yes"!

We hope to see you back next week, Thursday, Aug. 28. Several of you said you had other friends and/or family members who wanted to attend as well. That's great!

Hopefully, by tomorrow night, I'll have some photos posted, both to this blog and to the ones on The News-Star and The Times. Stay tuned.

What do you think, ladies? I think we "Kicked It Up a Notch"!

OK, now it's official: Piney Hills Harmony's free voice lessons start today!


Hope to see you tonight!

Please read previous posts for details.

(Is that you I hear warming up????)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Free group voice lessons start tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 21 -- yay!!!


The photos below show sessions of previous years' "Singers Wanted" classes (top from '07; bottom from '06). Article adapted from previous PHH post.



"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!"

"I heard a Sweet Adelines group perform and had to join. Bam! Now I am hooked. I LOVE it so much."

"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.

This is the 16th year the chorus has offered the lessons, and more than 300 people from across North Louisiana have participated -- from Shreveport to Monroe. Last year 31 women took part.

Chorus director Wanda McKaskle backed up the above 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 36 people from eight 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. 21 and 28 and Sept. 4 at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. A new aspect added during the 2007 lessons will be repeated this year: 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 614-0206 or wbeckham@mlsji.com.

Monday, August 18, 2008

'Kick It Up a Notch' with Piney Hills Harmony!

If you're contemplating being a participant in our "Singers Wanted" free group voice lessons for women, here's a way to get a leg up on the process.

Vocal lesson participants will have a chance to learn a new song at the same time as regular chorus members. Each night of the lessons, after the "Singers Wanted" class has concluded, attendees will have an opportunity to get on the risers with Piney Hills Harmony as the PHH members learn "Kickin' It Up a Notch." (Note: This is not a requirement, but rather a fun opportunity for additional singing experience.)

The third week, after the lesson, both "Singers Wanted" participants and Piney Hills Harmony members will put on a Friends and Family performance of the new song.

Here's the "secret hint": If you would like to hear the song ahead of time, you can request that an mp3 sample be e-mailed to you. If you're interested, please e-mail Sallie Rose Hollis at srh0116@hotmail.com.

This is just to get you acquainted with the song. Additional coaching and learning aids will be provided during the lessons. And never fear: Even if you can't read music, the process will be laid out for you in simple, user-friendly fashion.

So, if you're thinking about making the plunge and coming to the lessons, remember what our director, Wanda McKaskle, said: "It will be an evening that you won't forget."

Let's Kick It Up a Notch!!!

Read more details about our "Singers Wanted" free vocal lessons for women in earlier posts on this blog. You can also make use of the contact info provided above or in the profile column to the right. Hope to see -- and hear! -- you!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What propels 24 women to drive 30 or more miles to chorus rehearsal?

Listen to "Lagniappe" on KEDM radio (90.3) at 8:30 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, to find out the answer to this intriguing question:

What propels 24 women drive 30 or more miles (one way) to Piney Hills Harmony/Sweet Adelines rehearsal in Ruston each week -- even with today's high gas prices? What gives?

The chorus includes 35 members from across the region: 10 from Ruston, 11 from Ouachita Parish, 4 from Union Parish, 4 from Shreveport and Bossier parishes, 3 from Claiborne Parish, and 1 each from Bienville, Jackson and Winn parishes. Singing must produce some powerful endorphins or something!

Find out what two of these women have to say about the situation in an interview with Sunny Meriwether on the local public radio station. Tune in to 90.3, and listen as Carol Ogle and Teresa White, both of Monroe, help explain what all the hubbub is about. Their pic above was taken while they were in Canada last year for International Convention/Competition.

The duo will also share some of their experiences of attending this year's International Education Symposium hosted by the worldwide Sweet Adelines organization in San Antonio, Texas. They are bringing home a wealth of information to share with their Sisters in Song -- and also with others who visit the chorus.

Indeed, Piney Hills Harmony is opening its doors to area visitors this coming Thursday, Aug. 21, as well as Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 as the chorus sponsors its annual free group vocal lessons for women. Sessions will be offered from 6-8 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. All voices welcome! A new aspect added during the 2007 lessons will be repeated this year: The third week will be a performance night so that vocal class attendees can sing with the chorus for their families.

For more information, listen on Monday to KEDM's Lagniappe as noted above, read other posts in this blog, visit pineyhillsharmony.tripod.com, or contact director Wanda McKaskle in Ruston at 614-0206 or wbeckham@mlsji.com.

You, too, can find the answer to the question: What propels a throng of women to drive 70 or more miles -- round trip -- to chorus rehearsal?

A program earlier this month on Red River Radio station in Shreveport explored the same question with two Shreveport members. That interview can be found at this link (look for "News With Kate Archer Kent, 08-05-08")

www.publicbroadcasting.net/rrr/.jukebox?action=featured

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Real Rewards: In women’s singing group, benefits reach beyond trophies

This is Part 3 of our "Real Women, Real Harmony, Real Fun" series. (Part 1 was titled "The Real Musical Thing: sweetly, harmoniously, melodiously"; Part II, “Real Women, Real Stories.” See previous posts for full details.)


As women, we tend to search for endeavors that will bring meaning and purpose to our lives. In keeping with that, the rewards of being a Sweet Adelines member go way beyond awards.

As a Sweet Adeline you become part of a well-respected family of women where your opinion matters and great friendships form. The organization becomes your own. Programs are planned by members for members. Sure, opportunities are bound to arise where you can earn great prizes, but more importantly the group offers a place for you to express your talent like never before. You’ll discover that opportunities available through Sweet Adelines International are unlimited. Here are just a few:

Thousands of Voices – If you join Sweet Adelines International – and Piney Hills Harmony -- you’ll become part of an organization of nearly 27,000 women from all over the world who enjoy singing in four-part a cappella harmony, barbershop style.

Quality Entertainment through Education
– You will learn music and vocal production, as well as choreography, stage production, costuming, makeup and much more. Training and certification programs are available in the areas of directing, arranging, judging, teaching (faculty), personal growth and leadership.

All the World’s a Stage – Hone your musical and performance skills at regional and/or international competitions. Each chorus rehearses regularly and is part of a region that holds educational events and chorus/quartet competitions each year. These events provide exciting opportunities to travel, perform and learn.

The Best of Barbershop – Thousands of members assemble annually to listen to the best quartets and choruses from each region compete in the international championships. Convention activities include education classes, a show of celebrity and top barbershop performers, and a show presented by our past international champion quartets. The International Convention is held in the fall each year at different locations throughout the world, carefully selected years in advance.

A Surge of Self-Confidence – Many members say the leadership and creative skills they develop as a Sweet Adelines member change their lives. Through meeting people and learning to work together for common goals, members improve their social skills and gain self-assurance.

Just for the Fun of It! Opportunities Abound – We all need time for pleasure and relaxation. As a member you’ll discover fun social activities, an enlarged circle of friends, and community service projects that benefit your hometown.

Other Perks – In addition to these significant benefits you are also offered discounts through the International Sales department on sheet music, CDs, videos, books, brochures, merchandise and International Convention registration. You will also receive the Sweet Adelines International quarterly publication of The Pitch Pipe magazine and other relevant newsletters filled with news, stories, letters, pictures and everything else you want to know about the wonderful world of Sweet Adelines.

Harmonize the World
– Singing and performing barbershop harmony in a Sweet Adelines chorus near you – i.e., Piney Hills Harmony in Ruston, La. -- is a pleasure you deserve. Join now! Sweet Adelines is a hobby that brings joy and harmony into your life.

Contact us by calling our director, Wanda McKaskle of Bernice, at (318) 614-0206 or our president, Judy Sisson of Monroe, at (318) 237-9203 - or e-mail us at wbeckham@mlsji.com or jasisson@comcast.net.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Real women, real stories of how song has impacted their lives

The PHH Blogger hopes that our blogs are not becoming too repetitive, what with one blog in the Monroe paper, one in Shreveport, and then this overall chorus blog. If the top few posts on this site look familiar, please peruse some of the earlier posts here, and you'll undoubtedly find info that wasn't available elsewhere. Whatever the case, WELCOME!


This is Part 2 of our "Real Women, Real Harmony, Real Fun" series. (Part 1 was posted earlier this week, titled "The Real Musical Thing: sweetly, harmoniously, melodiously." See previous post for full details.)

Today's post focuses on what Sweet Adelines and its various chapters -- such as Piney Hills Harmony in Ruston -- can offer women who are interested in singing and/or performing. Here are a few samples of what women around the country had to say about finding their Sisters in Song. (And stay tuned to this blog because local testimontials are on the horizon.) If you're thinking about attending our upcoming free vocal lessons, dubbed "Singers Wanted," and are a bit doubtful, please ponder these statements, made by women just like you:

"Everyone is there for the love of singing and they embrace all those who want to share in that joy."
Kay Macrosson
Lion's Gate Chorus
Vancouver, British Columbia

"Music is a magical porthole that allows many people to liberate their emotions, and this to me is a great thing to be a part of."
Ginny Sojka
Center Point Chorus
Stevens Point, Wis.

"I'm a part of such an awesome group of ladies. Even though I've only been with the group for a few weeks, I really feel like I belong."
Patti Bade
Spirt of Harmony
Spirit Lake, Iowa

"From my first visit everyone was welcoming and friendly, which made me feel comfortable, even if my notes or words weren't correct."
Michelle Lepler
Twin County Chorus
Long Island, N.Y.

"There is nothing like those barbershop chords ringing and the goose bumps or hair standing on end when those chords lock in place."
Lynne Cyphers
Sound of the Heartland Chorus
Newton, Kan.

---------------

The Ruston chapter of Sweet Adelines International, Piney Hills Harmony, will offer its 16th session of free group vocal lessons for women Aug. 21, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4. Classes are scheduled from 6-8 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. See blog profile above for contact information; see additional Web sites listed in the column to the right.

We'd love to see you! We'll do our best to roll out the red carpet of welcome! Piney Hills Harmony is the fastest-growing mid-size chorus in a five-state area. Think about it: Catch the sound wave that is rolling across North Louisiana.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Real Musical Thing: sweetly, harmoniously, melodiously

Being passionate about singing is what this organization thrives on. Sweet Adelines are real women, singing real harmony, making real friendships and having real fun!

You can't imagine the thrills that await you if you are contemplating becoming a Sweet Adelines member. You will belong to a well-loved, worldwide family of women singers dedicated to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performance.

Sweet Adelines International has grown to be one of the world's largest nonprofit singing organizations for women, with more than 25,000 members throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Whether you think barbershop is your style or not, you will be surprised when you hear the variety of music that Sweet Adelines choruses and quartets sing. This four-part, a cappella style of music lends itself to songs from any era – today’s ballads, popular show tunes, even jazz. Members across the globe have also gained exciting opportunities performing for professional sporting events, Olympic ceremonies, with major symphonies, on several well-known television shows, and many others.

You may be wondering if you can actually sing barbershop music. Barbershop harmony is different from any other kind of choral or group singing because of the vocal harmony produced by four parts: tenor, lead, baritone and bass. Any woman of average singing ability, with or without vocal training, will find a part that fits her range. Finding the right part for your voice is the initial step. With the education and vocal lessons offered through your membership you are bound to be a barbershop sensation!

For more history and details of Sweet Adelines International and barbershop harmony see the "Who We Are Web" page at www.sweetadelineintl.org.

You can get started by joining Piney Hills Harmony chorus in Ruston. Be a part of something real!

(Adapted from "Real Harmony" newsletter published by Sweet Adelines International.)
---------------

To come:

* Membership Benefits:
Beyond Trophies and Plaques
* Notes of Interest:
The Basics of Barbershop
* Testimonials:
Real Women, Real Stories
(from local members and also from across the globe)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Catch Piney Hills Harmony chorus Tuesday, Aug. 5, on Red River Radio

Two Piney Hills Harmony members from Shreveport, Jerri Mahoney and Mary Stark, will be on Red River Radio 90.7 at 6:06, 7:06 and 8:06 a.m Tuesday, Aug. 5.

Kate Archer-Kent has interviewed the duo for a piece concerning the love and dedication that causes them and other members to drive to Ruston every week for rehearsal. Four Caddo-Bossier parish residents make the trek, as well as three from Claiborne Parish, 11 from Ouachita Parish, four from Union Parish, two from Jackson Parish and one from Bienville Parish. The remaining members come from Ruston itself.

Tune in and see what it is that lures these folks to the risers to sing a cappella harmony. Is it the music itself? Is it the friendship? Is it the emotional release that singing provides? What? Whaaaaat?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New bass from Monroe joins Piney Hills Harmony


Piney Hills Harmony has added another Sister in Song to our ranks. Alice Baggett, of Monroe, was recently sung into the chorus.

In the photo that accompanies this post, Mary Stark, of Shreveport, our membership chair, is presenting Alice with her "rookie goodie bag."

Alice joined our bass section, and we greet her with a warm, open-arms Piney Hills Harmony welcome!

No doubt others will soon join the 2008 Rookie Class since we will begin our annual free group vocal lessons this month. The classes, which are aimed at women in north Louisiana and south Arkansas, will be taught Aug. 21 and 28 and Sept. 4.

Last year more than 30 women participated in the lessons, and five of them later joined the chorus, though there is no obligation to do so. But, just remember: It’s great fun! And it's educational, too. (Hmmmm...sounds kinda like Vitameatvegamin: "It's so tasty, too! ... Just like candy!!!")

Our "Singers Wanted" sessions will be from 6-8 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. Contact our director or president for more information: director Wanda McKaskle of Bernice, at (318) 614-0206 or wbeckham@mlsji.com; or President Judy Sisson of Monroe, at (318) 237-9203 or jasisson@comcast.net.

Our membership now numbers 35. Member Cynthia Clark recently went Chapter at Large due to job, school and other responsibilities. In addition, assistant director Sheila Stepp just announced that she is going Chapter at Large as well because of obligations in relation to working on her doctorate (plus, she's engaged to be married in the near future ... best wishes! :-) We'll miss you two and hope you're back with us as soon as possible! Sheila will maintain her ties with Masquerade quartet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cool videos showing effects of sound waves on salt, corn starch mixtures

Why we get GOOSEBUMPS when we hear good barbershop harmony....

Here's an amazing video link sent to the chorus by our chorus director. And here's her intro to it:

"The link below is an interesting video. It has been scientifically proven that the chill bumps we get when listening to barbershop harmony is, indeed, a physical reaction to the sounds we hear. That would be classified as cymatics. And it all ties in with mathematics, which I love! Some of you may not be as "into this" as others. I find it fascinating.

Be sure and turn your speakers on VERY low then click on the link."

(PHH Blogger note: It's from the blog www.whatjamiefound.com.)




Salt Sound Waves - video powered by Metacafe


Also, on her own, the PHH Blogger found this related video that makes use of a corn starch and water mixture. This link is also from whatjamiefound.com; here is what Jamie said in his intro to the clip:

"Found this very interesting video of a non-newtonian fluid, and its reactions to the vibrations produced by sound. Reminded me a lot of the cymatics video I posted about last month. Non-Newtonian fluids are liquids that under some conditions act as solids."



PHH Blogger note: Awesome!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony to conduct 'Singers Wanted' lessons, campaign


"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!"

"I heard a Sweet Adelines group perform and had to join. Bam! Now I am hooked. I LOVE it so much."

"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.


This is the 16th year the chorus has offered the lessons, and more than 300 people from across North Louisiana have participated -- from Shreveport to Monroe. Last year 31 women took part.

Chorus director Wanda McKaskle backed up the above 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 36 people from eight 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. 21 and 28 and Sept. 4 at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St. A new aspect added during the 2007 lessons will be repeated this year: 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 614-0206 or wbeckham@mlsji.com.

(Adapted from previous PHH article.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lisa Holmes sings, works, leads her way to local Sweet Adeline of Year

Piney Hills Harmony's awesome Lisa Holmes, of Homer, has been named our local Sweet Adeline of the Year.

The award is based on service to the local chapter and the embodiment of what a Sweet Adeline should be. Holmes recently was elected to the chorus's board of directors, served as local motivational coordinator before the group's 2008 regional competition and was named the latest PHH Woman of Worth. Oh ... and she sings baritone and performs on the front row.

Lisa follows equally awesome Janet Philbrook, of Bernice, who was the 2007 winner.

After returning home from our regional competition this spring, Lisa -- who was virtually speechless when she won the honor -- shared a few of her thoughts with us:

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During the breakfast at Regional Competition, I sat there, listening to Janet describing the recipient of the 2008 Sweet Adeline of the Year Award, and I scanned the room, imagining which of the ladies it was. Then I heard her say MY name! I was speechless. All that was going through my mind was “I am not worthy of this”…and “WOW, these ladies actually voted for me?” It’s nice to win any type of award, but the award is more important and special when it’s a decision of your peers.

Nearly two years ago, I signed up for some free vocal lessons, and I got more than that! I found a group of wonderful ladies of all ages, backgrounds and personalities who offered acceptance, encouragement and friendship. At first, with so many outside influences and little self-confidence in my singing ability with the chorus, I often had to force myself to attend rehearsal; I felt so unworthy and not yet committed. But now, my family, social and work schedules include Thursday night rehearsal. I look forward to Thursday nights! If I’ve had a bad day or week at work, or there are some health or personal issues I’m dealing with, I head to rehearsal for my “three-hour therapy session”!

Every day of our lives, God sends His Holy Spirit to us in many forms – a hug or kiss from a loved one or friend, kind words from others, a sunset, our children and grandchildren, a loving and caring spouse, a song … and more. To me, this includes the love and acceptance and sense of worth within the Piney Hills Harmony Chorus. When I sing and socialize with these ladies, I feel His Holy Spirit within me, giving me strength, confidence and knowledge that I can do anything!!

You ladies have no idea how important you are in my life, and I’m sure in the lives of other chorus members. We are supporters, prayer warriors and friends. I have NEVER belonged to a group of people whom I felt this way about! Each one of us is unique -- personalities, abilities, talents, quirks and attitudes. But when we put it all together ... we are amazing!

I love you all.
Lisa

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We love you, too, Lisa!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back from Summer Music Camp, PHH is sharing some pix and then taking July 3 off

Hey, everyone!

Just a disclaimer to begin with: I'm posting some of the same things on our multiple blog sites, trying to make PHH news available to people all across North Louisiana. Even so, please do keep checking the various sites; sometimes I post different things in different venues. And please let folks know that you like what you see and read on The News-Star and The Times blogs by either commenting on or recommending the blog/post.

As noted earlier, a large contingent from our chorus attended regional Summer Music Camp at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas, last weekend. We have 35 members, and 11 of those plus one prospective member made the journey.

They reported back to our chorus Thursday that (sorry for the cliche') a good time was had by all. Subsequent posts will include comments about what they learned while at the camp.

Sweet Adelines from five states attended, and faculty members included international quartet and chorus champions. More about that below.

PHH members who attended were Faith Cooper, Donna Fike, Sharon Hernandez, Kathy Hightower, Charles Etta Johnson, Caroline Leung, Wanda McKaskle, Carol Ogle, Lea Rutherford, Judy Sisson and Teresa White. And Alice Baggett, our wonderful prospective member, also made the jaunt.

We'll post some photos below, but also wanted you to know (if case you were thinking of visiting us!), that we'wre taking July 3 off in honor of the July Fourth holiday. We'll be back in the saddle, or rather in the rehearsal hall, on Thursday, July 10. Why not come visit? We had another prospective member visit this past Thursday. Grab hold and catch the (sound) wave!!!


And here's the gang (from left): Caroline, Sharon, Lea, Kathy, Charles Etta, Faith, Wanda, Judy, Teresa Donna and Carol. Guess Alice is taking the pic?


Aha! Here's Alice in the foreground. Other members (front row) Judy, Lea and Donna; (back row) Charles Etta Wanda, Faith, Sharon and Kathy.


Sweet Harmony quartet, formed from four Piney Hills Harmony members, gets coaching from an international Queen of Harmony quartet champion, Judy Baxter of Rumors and Rich-Tones fame.


Our newest members found out how fun it is to sing in a really large chorus, which is part of the excitement each year at Summer Music Camp. On the last night of camp, vocalists from choruses throughout five states perform together after having rehearsed several hours during the weekend. Here, you can see they're really exhibiting some of the showmanship concepts that they've learned. :-D If you look REALLY closely, you can find Sharon on the front row!


Nothing like a teenager literally rubbing elbows with an international quartet champion and one of Region 25's premier directors -- Debbie Hogan. Piney Hills Harmony's youngest member, Faith Cooper (2nd from left) joins Debbie and others in an informal singing group during some of the (alleged) down time over the weekend.

More on SMC and other great things from Piney Hills Harmony and Sweet Adelines to come .......... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PHH attends Summer Music Camp; June 19 rehearsal canceled


Twelve members of Piney Hills Harmony chorus -- and one prospective member (yea!) -- are all set to attend regional Summer Music Camp.

As a result, this week's chorus rehearsal on June 19 is canceled. Regular rehearsals will resume next week on June 26. If you're someone who loves to sing, why don't you come check us out then? We'll be all energized and excited after the annual SMC, as we affectionately call it.

(PHH members in the photo above pause between sessions during the '07 SMC. Don't Jennifer, JudySis, Sheila, Lea and Jean look happy and well-educated???)

A few words of explanation about Summer Music Camp: The "camp" is actually more like a continuing education experience on a college campus. No tents and campfires; no bunk beds and cabins. Region 25's SMC will be held at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas, from Thursday through Sunday, June 19-21. (Yeah, well, OK, there will be dorms involved.)

The theme is "Road Map to Success," a part of this year's regional "Pedal to the Metal" theme. Appropriately, campers will learn the song "Drive My Car" -- yes, as you undoubtedly recall, first made popular by the Beatles. Isn't that fun?!?!

Class choices include Choreography Staging, Breath Art, Scriptwriting, Emceeing, Costuming, Arranging, Beginning and Advanced Music Theory, Kinesthetics, Elegant Diction, Emotion and Locomotion, The Creative Process, Dynamics: Do You Hear What I Hear? and many more.

Vickie Dennis, master director of the award-winning Houston Horizon chorus, will be the special guest faculty member this year. Along with Vickie, our very talented Region 25 Faculty will be camp facilitators. And lest you think we throw the word "talented" around loosely, consider:

* The current Sweet Adeline International president is from our region and on the faculty -- Peggy Gram from Top of the Rock chorus in Little Rock.

* Peggy, along with multiple other regional music staffers, is what we term a Queen of Harmony -- she has sung in a 1st-place international quartet.

* Region 25 includes the Rich-Tone chorus from Richardson, Texas, four-time international champs.

* One of our smaller choruses, Queen City Sound from Springfield, Mo., is one of five choruses worldwide that will compete this year at the Sweet Adelines' International Educational Symposium.

* And in 2007, our region had five competitors at the international convention: Top of the Rock chorus and quartets Cabaret, Kismet and Rendition. Keep in mind that almost 30,000 women claim Sweet Adeline membership across the globe.

So, with the folks mentioned above and other great leaders as faculty members, such gatherings as Region 25's SMC provide a wonderful way to absorb a lot of musical knowledge and wisdom.

We're a friendly lot (see pic @ left, also at the '07 SMC). At Piney Hills Harmony, we'll welcome you with open arms (or hugs!). We are not professional singers, but homemakers, teachers, secretaries, computer technologists, nurses, librarians, journalists and much more. We come together one night a week to share in the joy of singing with friends. And, truly, the friends you will make in the chorus are friends you'll have for life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hey, all you non-Sweet Adelines: You can win $1,000 in 'A Cappella Unleashed' on YouTube

You, yes, you can win $1,000 in an a cappella singing competition sponsored by Sweet Adelines International. That is, you can win it if you're not a Sweet Adeline; we're ineligible. So it's up to you, our non-Sweet Adeline friend! Here are the details, straight from the singers' international mouth:
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Sweet Adelines International is offering a chance for talented female singers to bring your sing by participating in an international singing competition through YouTube.com. during the months of June and July 2008. We know there is singing talent out there that has yet to be discovered. This is your chance to let your voice be heard, so sing it a cappella for a chance to win $1,000.

The contest is simple. Anytime between June 16 and July 18, 2008 go to http://www.youtube.com/SweetAdelineIntl. and view the video, Sweet Adelines International A Cappella Unleashed Singing Contest.

Once you have watched the video and read the contest rules, create a video of five minutes or less, where you are performing your best a cappella song. Given that Sweet Adelines International sings a cappella harmony, barbershop style, your voice must not be accompanied by any other instruments or music.

We are looking for the most entertaining a cappella singing performance that demonstrates creativity and outstanding singing quality. Solo and group a cappella performances will be accepted.

Once your video is complete, post a video reply to the Sweet Adelines International A Cappella Unleashed Singing Contest video and click Upload a Video. Once your video is uploaded include your name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address and how you heard about the contest. Add any unique information about your video and send the reply. Your reply automatically submits your contest entry to the Sweet Adelines International Youtube.com Web page.

A $1,000 Visa gift card will be awarded to the contestant whose video earns the highest number of views. For detailed information about the contest, eligibility and to read the official contest rules go to www.sweetadelineintl.org/YoutubeContestOfficialRules.

If you have further questions regarding the contest e-mail, ann-marie@sweetadelineintl.org.
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So, friends of PHH, get those vocal cords warmed up and starting putting your video together. If you decide to participate, let us know, and we can put a note in the blog so that local folks can vote for you. And rest assured: We'll vote as much as we can for you as well.

We can also help you put your presentation together; offer vocal tips; help video yourself, if needed; help you load your video to YouTube, etc. Just let us know how we can be of assistance!

Wow, what a neat opportunity!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony has a Shreveport Times blog now, too

Well, we've added another blog to our steadily growing list as we try to let area residents know about one of the best hobbies in the whole wide world. Piney Hills Harmony is now on The Shreveport Times site, www.shreveporttimes.com. The blog is named the same as the one on The News-Star, "Tapestry of Song." But the "pen name" for this one is "pineyhillshrmny" rather than "salroshol." Here is the specific link to the Times blog: click here.

Jerri is going to be our contact person over there, and the PHH Blogger is putting some different info on that site that relates to chorus members who live in that area. One time last night, PHH was on the front page (online) three times simultaneously: with an updated profile, with a blog entry and with a newly posted photo.

If any of you Shreveport-Bossier area residents are reading this, we'd love to have you visit with us to get a taste of the unique, four-part a cappella harmony that we participate in. If you have an affinity for singing -- and if you love harmony -- after you come to the first meeting with us, you may never look back. That's what happened to the PHH Blogger anyway ... in 1989. Wow! We love it!

BTW, we've got an upcoming membership campaign in the works. We call it "Singers Wanted," and this year it will be on three consecutive Thursdays: Aug. 21 & 28 and Sept. 4. Time: 6-8 p.m. Place: fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. More details to come. We had an extremeley successful "Singers Wanted" program last year and are looking forward to meeting other tremendous attendees this year.

We had our largest rookie crop ever last year. Advanced us to a mid-size chorus rather than small. Hope to build on that this year! Y'all come see us, now -- ya hear!?!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony/Sweet Adelines draw good crowd to Smithsonian series


(Here's something the PHH Blogger posted to our blog on The [Monroe] News-Star site. If you've already read that, you may want to skip down and read some other posts here on Blogspot.com that haven't appeared there.)

What a pleasant evening!

Piney Hills Harmony's concert at the Lincoln Parish Library last night was well-attended, and the crowd really seemed to "get into" the music and the history that was presented. A big thank you to all who attended -- and to the library for asking us to be part of this tremendous series.

During the presentation, we took the audience from the beginnings of barbershop four-part a cappella harmony in the 1800s up to today. In the audience, smiles abounded, audience members were swaying and singing softly along with the music, and nods of approval appeared. At least one audience member is now considering joining the chorus -- and we're excited because we're always seeking new members to join in the fun! Singing is so energizing, therapeutic, cathartic, healing, liberating, uniting -- you name it!

The free presentation was part of the library's New Harmonies series that focuses on what is termed "American Roots Music." The series, which stretches across over 20 states, is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. Local sponsors are the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the GSU history department and Lincoln Parish Library.

Friday night's performance showed that barbershop's distinctive style is an original American art form that has now spread across the globe to 60 countries and is in all 50 states. Its origins trace back to African-American culture. Some characteristics of barbershop are:

* frequent echoes of the harmony parts as they follow the melody (a throw an-back to the African-American call-and-response pattern)

* the rhythmic feeling of percussion that is created through vocals, and

* the tell-tale "blue note," which in barbershop is called a "barbershop seventh chord."

To help preserve this American musical art form, Sweet Adelines International was officially formed in Tulsa, Okla., in 1945, following on the heels of the men's barbershop organization that was formed in 1938, also in Tulsa. We are proud to carry on that tradition.

But let me hasten to point out: We are not only carrying on tradition; we are also blazing new musical trails today. Not only do we sing the standards such as "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Tuxedo Junction" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans"; we also sing "We Are Family," "NaNaNa Kiss Her Goodbye" and "Dancin' in the Street." Currently, we are learning "Feet's Too Big" from the musical "Ain't Misbehavin'." Next on our list? Perhaps "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."

Ladies, do you want to have some musical fun? Look up our contact info in my profile, and find how exactly how and where you can start on a new musical journey in your life. This could be the first note of a song that can positively affect the rest of your life.

Caption for above photo: The Piney Hills Harmony ensemble that sang at the Lincoln Parish Library last night performs "NaNaNa Kiss Her Goodbye." Assistant director Sheila Stepp, of Ruston (third from left), is leading the song.

Friday, June 06, 2008

We now have a News-Star blog!

Hey,

Check out our new blog on the newly revamped Web site of The (Monroe) News-Star.

* Go to www.thenewsstar.com

* Look for the "explore thenewsstar.com" title. It's at the top of a gray box on the right-hand side of the page, down just a little. (At least this is the way it is on my computer; some folks' layouts seem to be a bit different on their machines. Go figure!)

* Click on the icon that looks like a pen and paper.

* Then look for the treble clef icon and the story about women loving to sing. The posts are under the "pen name" salroshol. (Looks kinda funny now, but I think we're stuck with it).

So go take a gander, hit the "recommend" button so we'll look cool, register as a site member yourself, and leave comments -- let's all get involved! :-D

Affectionately,

salroshol

Monday, June 02, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony, Smithsonian meld to show musical history

Piney Hills Harmony chorus and the Lincoln Parish Library are uniting to present a special brand of music with distinct American roots.

The Ruston-based Sweet Adelines chorus will perform at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, as part of the library's "New Harmonies" series sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Free and open to the public, the chorus's hour-long program will be held in the library's main meeting room. A 14-member ensemble from the chorus will provide an entertaining history of barbershop music, told through both scripting and song.

New Harmonies is part of the Smithsonian's Music on Main Street traveling exhibition that seeks to bring to life America's wide-ranging musical history – from the blues and gospel to folk and country-western. Lincoln Parish Library, which received the grant in conjunction with Grambling State University's history department, is one six Louisiana sites on the tour that spans more than 20 states.

The overall exhibit features seven large interactive kiosks from the Smithsonian that offer "something for everyone," library director Vivian McCain said.

Supplementing the kiosk exhibit is a two-month series of lectures, children's activities and musical programs, of which Piney Hills Harmony is a part.

Concerning Piney Hills Harmony's place in the New Harmonies celebration of "American Roots Music," McCain said, "There's no doubt in my mind that barbershop is definitely American … Having a local group as good as (Piney Hills Harmony) to be part of a national exhibition program series is good for the chorus and the community as well. It'll make the entire community proud."

McCain explained that the library will compile a scrapbook that spotlights the chorus's performance, as well as the 14 other local programs being presented during a two-month period. The eventual resting place of the scrapbook -- the Smithsonian Institution.

As a preview to what will be revealed at the concert, consider:

Barbershop harmony developed between 1860 and 1920 and had its roots in African-American culture. Some of the characteristics of barbershop are frequent echoes of the harmony parts as they follow the melody (a throw-back to the African-American call-and-response pattern), the rhythmic feeling of percussion that is created through vocals, and the tell-tale "blue note," which in barbershop is called a "barbershop seventh chord."

In addition an ensemble performance, two quartets from within Piney Hills Harmony will be featured:

• Masquerade – Jennifer Patterson and Sheila Stepp of Ruston; Mary Jo Brister of Quitman; and Wanda McKaskle, of Bernice; and
• Sweet Harmony – Donna Fike, Carol Ogle and Judy Sisson of Monroe; and Lea Rutherford of West Monroe.

Piney Hills Harmony has won first place in its regional Sweet Adeline competition, as well as having claimed two third places. Masquerade placed seventh in this year's regional five-state contest.

More information about New Harmonies can be found at www.museumonmainstreet.org/newharmonies and www.mylpl.org.

Following PHH, the next LPL New Harmonies program is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12, a showing of the Elvis Presley movie "King Creole."


Masquerade, from left: Sheila Stepp, baritone; Mary Jo Brister, lead; Wanda McKaskle, bass; and Jennifer Patterson, tenor.


Sweet Harmony, from left: Carol Ogle, baritone; Lea Rutherford, lead; Judy Sisson, bass; and Donna Fike, tenor.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Here's a news release that will soon be (for lack of a better word) released

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines has won third place regionally for membership growth, an award presented during a five-state competition and convention.

The award was announced during the group's annual Region 25 gathering held April 25-26 in Dallas.

The Ruston-based chorus won third based on its 17 percent membership growth from April 2006-2007. Since then, the chorus has grown even more, moving from small to mid-size chorus. It now boasts 36 members from eight parishes.

The region contains 25 choruses from north Louisiana, north Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and southwest Missouri.

In other news, while in Dallas, Piney Hills Harmony member Lisa Holmes, of Minden, was named PHH Sweet Adeline of the Year. The award is based on service to the local chapter and the embodiment of what a Sweet Adeline should be. Holmes recently was elected to the chorus's board of directors, served as local leadership coordinator before the '08 competition and was named the latest PHH Woman of Worth.

A quartet within Piney Hills Harmony, Masquerade, placed seventh at the competition. Its members are Mary Jo Brister, Quitman; Wanda McKaskle, Bernice; and Jennifer Patterson and Sheila Stepp, Ruston.

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And, here's our formal photo from this spring's regional competition.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Friends & Family Night '08 -- and off to Richardson we go!


This past Tuesday, we had a very successful Friends and Family Night, and we'd like to thank, well, all our friends and family who supported us by attending. We had approximately 60 guests; the room was full! Plus, lots of cookies and things to munch on afterwards. We can safely say, "A good time was had by all."

Here's a glimpse of what we looked like on the risers, and a hint of how we'll look in Dallas in our brand-new costumes.

Let's break a lash, girls! Go, PHH!

(For those members who were unable to attend: We missed you! And for those who have been away from rehearsals lately but were able to be there Thursday night, we loved seeing you again!! And to our "old" friends who visited, it was great having you in our midst again; come back more often!!!)

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