Friday, November 06, 2009

Fall show to feature Piney Hills Harmony 'Kickin' It up a Notch'

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International will kick it up a notch Nov. 7.

The chorus will present a two-hour show – "Kickin' It up a Notch" – in the Dixie Center for the Arts in downtown Ruston. Numerous songs by the chorus will be featured, plus segments by three quartets.

Show chair Carol Ogle, of Monroe, said, "Set in the once-upon-a-time town of Broken Heart, Arizona, the first half of the show revolves around a group of cowgirls and fancy ladies who are lookin' for some good men to come and help them change not only their lives – but also the name of their town."

The second half will feature special guests Zirconium, a men's barbershop comedy quartet from Little Rock, Ark., as well as another showcase of songs by Piney Hills Harmony. Within four months after Zirconium registered as a quartet, they became the Novice Quartet Champions of their division of the Barbershop Harmony Society, outscoring half of the seasoned quartets in the field and racking up enough points to go on to the next level of competition.

Two quartets from within Piney Hills Harmony will also be spotlighted:
• Masquerade – Mary Jo Brister, Quitman; Wanda McKaskle, Bernice; Sheila Stepp, Ruston; and Natalie Miller, Shreveport (member of the world-champion Rich-Tone Chorus of Dallas).
• Sweet Harmony – Donna Fike, Carol Ogle and Judy Sisson, Monroe; and Lea Rutherford, West Monroe.

The 34-member chorus has presented biennial or annual shows for the public since 1999 and won first-place, gold-medal honors in its region in 2004.

Curtain time is at 7 p.m. in Ruston's Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N. Vienna St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. They are available from chorus members; at the Dixie Center, Zeagler's Music in Monroe, Corner Coffee House in West Monroe and Webster Parish Extension Office in Minden; and at the door.

For more information, call (318) 348-2291. Additional information about the chorus can be found at

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sweet Harmony sings

Sweet Harmony quartet, composed of members from within PHH, recently entertained at a Memorial Day Luncheon at Claiborne United Methodist church in West Monroe. Quartet members left to right are Carol Ogle, Lea Rutherford, Judy Sisson and Donna Fike. The quartet sang "San Francisco Blues" for Garland Gregory of Ruston, who was on the first San Francisco 49er football team in 1946.

Chorus to perform at Parkview Baptist tonight

Piney Hills Harmony will present a program of gospel and patriotic music at Parkview Baptist Church today 7 p.m. The church is located at 1001 Forsythe Ave. in Monroe. Also featured will be Sweet Harmony quartet, composed of members from within the chorus.

There is no admission charge, and the program is open to the public.

Among the numbers to be presented are the chorus' two songs that they performed at this year's regional Sweet Adeline competition in Dallas, "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" and "Heart of My Heart." Other repertoire favorites are also on tap, such as "Hit the Road, Jack," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Your Feet's Too Big," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "God Bless America," "I Believe" and "I'll Fly Away."

Sweet Harmony quartet will sing such selections as "Thank You, Dear Lord, for Music," "Amazing Grace" and "Ride that Chariot." Quartet members are Donna Fike, Carol Ogle, Lea Rutherford and Judy Sisson -- all of Monroe or West Monroe.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Say 'hello' to Piney Hills Harmony's new board

The PHH blogger has lots of updates to share, and hopefully those will be posted soon. There's our recent officer and board installation, which is highlighted here, with more details to come; there's the wedding of our assistant director, Teresa White Howard; we'll have additional shots from the vocal lessons; there are probably more regional competition pix; etc. etc. etc.

Right now, please allow us to introduce our new board members and officers for 2009-2010. We'll post two pix b/c our lovely balloons obscured some faces each time -- and we don't want anyone to be left out!

From left, our 2009-2010 board members are:

Lisa Holmes, Donna Fike (Judy Sisson standing in for her), Carol Ogle, Charles Etta Johnson, Janet Philbrook, Rebecca McNeill, Belinda Reid (Jerri Mahoney standing in) and Cynthia Clark.

Shots of the actual installation, the Rookie Skit and other aspects of our special night will follow.

'Real Women, Real Harmony, Real Fun' - Piney Hills Harmony style

Our annual vocal lessons are progressing nicely this year. So far, we've had two sessions with more than a dozen participants. Our ace photographer, Caroline Leung, has a lot of photos of the activities. We'll be posting more later, but for now, here are two shots just to give you a feel for things.

Even if you missed the first two lessons, you can catch up during the third segment, which will be Thursday, June 4, from 6-9 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. And if you were there, would love to see you again.

Remember, there will also be a Performance Night for friends and family on June 11.

For more information call our VP and membership chair, Carol Ogle, (318) 665-0569.

Piney Hills Harmony aka Annie, the saloon girls and Buffalo Bill

Here's the formal shot of the chorus at this year's regional competition in Dallas. We sang a Western set (hard to tell, huh?) of "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" and "Heart of my Heart." As our membership chair recently said, we were just EVER so cute!

Friday, May 08, 2009

'Real Women, Real Harmony, Real Fun': Come sing with us!

Sweet Adelines International’s Piney Hills Harmony chorus is searching for women singers from across North Louisiana. Women of all ages who enjoy singing are invited to attend the Ruston-based chorus’ four weeks of free group vocal lessons, titled "Real Women, Real Harmony, Real Fun."

Starting May 21, the sessions will be held on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. in conjunction with the chorus' weekly rehearsals in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. An added bonus of the lessons will be the chance – if desired –to become a member of the chorus when the lessons are completed.

Piney Hills Harmony is one of hundreds of Sweet Adelines International choruses that make up this worldwide organization of women who sing four-part a cappella harmony. Piney Hills' 34 members come from eight North Louisiana parishes: Lincoln, Bienville, Caddo, Claiborne, Jackson, Ouachita, Union and Winn.

Musical knowledge is not necessary to participate in either the lessons or as a member of the chorus. Any woman of average singing ability, with or without vocal training, can find a part that fits her voice range with the help of Sweet Adelines directors and leaders.

Piney Hills Harmony performs regularly throughout the community, entertaining at civic events and charitable functions. Chorus director Wanda McKaskle said members also experience genuine friendships, increased self-confidence, renewed vitality, and an unwavering motivation and inspiration of others that becomes invaluable.

A sampling of women who have previously participated in either the vocal lessons or Sweet Adelines itself have this to say:
• ”Singing is the best therapy for lifting spirits. The music creates a positive healing flow of energy from one person to another…Music is known to reduce stress and balance the spirit.”
• “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.”

For more information call Judy Sisson in Monroe at (318) 237-9203, Lisa Holmes in Homer at (318) 243-7098, or Rebecca McNeill in Winnfield at (318) 727-9257 or (318) 413-2501. Information is also available at or

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lometa Rorie added to Piney Hills Harmony

We are thrilled that Lometa Rorie, of Ruston, has joined our ranks. Lometa is the fifth member of the '08 Singers Wanted class to join PHH. This is a wonderful crop of rookies, and we welcome them with open arms and a big song in our hearts!

In the bottom photo you can see Lometa on the right, with our director, Wanda, and Sallie Rose. As you can see in the top photo, SR had the honor of pinning Lometa during her sing-in.

Welcome to Lometa and all the Singers Wanted 2008 newbies!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Piney Hills Harmony welcomes Amanda McDowell

We're so pleased that we have sung in several new members this fall and winter!

The latest addition to Piney Hills Harmony is tenor Amanda McDowell, of Farmerville. Amanda is the fourth member from the '08 Singers Wanted vocal lessons to join the chorus. And, as we said in our recent posting about newbie Darlene: Don't touch that dial. There are more to come. :-D

Welcome and harmonious hugs, Amanda!

Indeed, the top photo shows Amanda getting a bear hug from Wanda (or is it the other way around?). Notice Amanda's hands; she is sporting the fingerless gloves that were one of her Christmas gifts at the party the night of her sing-in. Anne G. is in the background, holding hands with another member as we sing "Harmonize the World."

In the bottom photo, Carolyn, Carol and Ginger joyfully sing as Amanda is welcomed into the chorus. In the background -- just as happy -- are Hong, Sallie Rose and Caitlyn.

In special remembrance of Tobie

Through the years, it was always such a pleasure to know and interact with Tobie Cooper, the daughter of our director, Wanda. And, of course, we cherish our relationship with Wanda herself -- and with Tobie's daughter, Faith, and her grandmother, Janet, both of whom are members of Piney Hills Harmony.

Now, with Wanda's blessing, we would like to pay a special memorial tribute to Tobie on our blog.

Many of us commented on the site that Wanda maintained for several weeks. Undoubtedly, throughout the time that we were blessed to know this young woman, each and every one of us offered prayers and love for both Tobie and her family.

Please know that we still hold all of you so very close in our hearts and pray that the days to come bring many blessings, as well as comfort, for you.

Tobie, it was a very special moment to watch those balloons sail out of sight in that bright blue sky. You did, indeed, fight the good fight and run the race beautifully.

God bless to all.

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