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!!!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Piney Hills Harmony events offer area, members a tuneful thrill

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines is singing a happy tune these days. And, appropriately, it's got a four-part blend:

* Chorus director Wanda McKaskle has been chosen for an international mentoring program, one of approximately 10 directors from more than 600 choruses worldwide. Call that the lead, or melody, part.
* Piney Hills Harmony has grown to 36 members, qualifying it as a mid-size chorus by Sweet Adeline International standards. Call that the bass, or foundation.
* April 25-27 the chorus will journey to Dallas for its annual regional competition, featuring choruses from five states. Call that the tenor, or the icing on the cake.
* And Tuesday, April 22, PHH is inviting its supporters to come together for a free Friends and Family Night in preparation for the upcoming trip. Call that the baritone, or the glue that holds it all together.

In general, call that barbershop.

Concerning McKaskle's being tapped for the mentoring program, chorus president Judy Sisson, of Monroe, said, "I feel this is a tremendous honor for Wanda to have been chosen from so many directors for this special program through the international office. Our directors hold the key to our progress, our success and our future."

McKaskle's mentor is master director Sherry Lewis, of the TuneTown Show Chorus in Nashville, Tenn., whose chorus placed 13th internationally last fall. So far, Lewis has visited Ruston for two PHH coaching sessions.

McKaskle said she is excited to learn, through Lewis, more about how to get the best sound from the chorus.

"It's interesting to see how my hands affect the sound," McKaskle said, "and how so many things I do and the members do that bring the music to life."

McKaskle plans to take those new ideas to the Region 25 competition in Dallas, where in 2004, Piney Hills Harmony won gold as first-place small chorus.

In explaining the chorus's recent growth spurt that now puts it into the mid-size category, McKaskle said: "People want to be part of a group that loves to sing and that offers so many opportunities. I've seen so many women grow into leaders and effective communicators just by being a member and participating in our activities."

Sisson agreed that Piney Hills Harmony is a special group of women from all walks of life who enjoy a love of music, especially barbershop style, and close bonds of friendship and harmony.

"Visitors to our chorus immediately see this," Sisson said. "They realize that our music is exciting, and they want to join in and sing with us."

In anticipation of the upcoming regional contest, both Sisson and McKaskle invite the area public to the chorus's Friends and Family Night at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner St.

The chorus will present approximately 45 minutes of free music, including two run-throughs of the contest numbers, "Sweet Adeline" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band." Other songs will range from "Anything Goes" to "Rockin' Robin."

McKaskle's quartet, Masquerade, will also compete at Regionals, and Tuesday night they will perform their set of "You Are My Sunshine" and "No, No, Norman."

For more information about booking or joining the chorus or about Friends and Family Night, call McKaskle at (318) 614-0206 or Sisson at (318) 237-9203.

More mentoring, more fun with Lamb Chop -- uh, that is, Sherry Lewis

Once again, the PHH Blogger would like to say how proud we are that our director, Wanda McKaskle, was chosen for a special mentoring program by the international office of Sweet Adelines. Only about 10 directors from 600 or so choruses are chosen for this honor each year. This, people, is rarefied air, and we're happy to be breathing it!

Here are some more pix from the latest coaching session with Sherry Lewis, the master director from Nashville's TuneTown Show Chorus (above).

Sherry (left) explains a technique to the chorus while Wanda watches. In the next two pix, Sherry is working with PHH members to get the best sound from them. The first such shot shows her with Lisa, Judy, Kathy, Wanda and Teresa. The last pic shows her with Faith, Rebecca, Janet, Tricia and Jerri.

Piney Hills Harmony names new WOW, Sparky winners

The torch -- or rather, the spark plug -- has been passed. Our new Sparky winner is Jean Dunham, and our new WOW (Woman of Worth) is Lisa Holmes.

These honors were bestowed in a recent rehearsal to two of the chorus's movers and shakers -- women who inspire others and who truly know what it means to be dedicated to the Sweet Adelines and Piney Hills Harmony.

Go, Jean! Go, Lisa!! Go, go, go!!!

Lisa is pictured below with her WOW certificate, presented to her by PHH President Judy Sisson. Jean is shown above from the night she was sung into the chorus. (Anyone out there want to provide the PHH Blogger with a shot of Jean and the infamous Sparky medallion? We need to get her showing it off! :-)

Congratulations, girls.

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