Monday, December 15, 2014

Interested in singing four-part a cappella? Consider Piney Hills Harmony Chorus!

From our director, Sheila Nugent:

"Piney Hills Harmony is having our Christmas party this Thursday, and then we are off for two weeks. If you're interested in learning our competition songs and possibly going with us to competition, we will be starting the year off with a bang on January 8 at 6 PM at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston. Come sing with us! And contact me if you're interested, and I'll get with you about music!"

You can find Sheila on Facebook at "Sheila Stepp Nugent."  Or you can contact our president or VP, whose info is listed in the sidebar at the right of this article.

Our chorus during the 2014 Friends and Family Night prior to regional competition.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

'An A Cappella Christmas' a success!

A huge thanks to all the folks who came out to see and hear us at our recent show, "An A Cappella Christmas."  Both shows had good attendance, and we've heard lots of good comments.  Thanks for that, too! :-)

Hats off as well to everyone who helped this come to be.  Too many to list here, but please know that if you helped us out in any way, we are most grateful.

We're almost recuperated now, and we're ready to begin our next adventures:  a Christmas party, singing carols at an assisted living center, Christmas break - and then onward toward regional competition!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

'A Cappella Christmas' predicted for North Louisiana

 The weather forecast for North Louisiana on Saturday, Dec. 6: "An A Cappella Christmas."

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines will present its annual show that day at both 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Monroe's Strauss Theatre.

The show is a holiday offering featuring the Ruston-based women's chorus and the Monroe-based  Noteorious  men's chorus, along with Rhapsody and Harmonic Engineers quartets. Kelly Aaen, of Monroe, will emcee. All the groups sing four-part a cappella harmony, barbershop style.

A variety of religious and secular seasonal songs are on the agenda, ranging from "Sing We Noel" and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Mary Had a Baby."

Both Piney Hills Harmony and Noteorious choruses have a long history on the area's music scene. The men's chorus was formed in the '70s and the women's in the '80s.

Both are also award-winners who gave their all-time best competitive performances in 2014. Piney Hills Harmony scored its highest ever in regional Sweet Adeline competition this spring, earning a second-place finish; it earned gold-medal status in an earlier contest. Noteorius' performance this fall placed it among the Top 10 in the five-state Southwestern District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Noteorious is also known for its Singing Valentines and Piney Hills Harmony for its free vocal lessons and annual rock 'n' roll shows.

The quartets on the show are made up of members from the choruses. Rhapsody, a women's quartet, comprises Sheila Nugent, of Ruston, and Donna Fike, Carol Ogle and Judy Sisson – all of Monroe. Members of the men's quartet, Harmonic Engineers, are Daniel Zeagler and Phillip Zeagler, of Monroe, and Grayson Zeagler and Caleb Harris, of West Monroe.

Sponsored by Vantage Health Plan, "An A Cappella Christmas" is a benefit for Angel Ministries, a non-profit organization that cares for those unable to care for themselves and also teaches them to help themselves.

Tickets are $15 and are on sale at the Strauss box office, at Angel Ministries/Care Solutions at 2nd and Pine streets in Monroe, and from individual chorus members. They will also be available at the door.

More information can be found at or on Facebook at Piney Hills Harmony Chorus / Sweet Adelines.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"An A Cappella Christmas" on the horizon

Our annual show is just around the corner.  We will present "An A Cappella Christmas" at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Strauss Theatre in Monroe.  We'll be joined by the Monroe men's chorus, Noteorious.  Two quartets from the choruses will sing as well - Rhapsody and Harmonic Engineers.

Sponsored by Vantage Health Plan, "An A Cappella Christmas" is a benefit for Angel Ministries, a non-profit organization that cares for those unable to care for themselves and also teaches them to help themselves.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Strauss, at Angel Ministries/Care Solutions at 2nd and Pine streets in Monroe, or from chorus members.  They will also be available at the door.

Stay tuned for additional info.  Hope to see you there!

Chris Brady named Piney Hills Harmony's Sweet Adeline Extraordinaire, Wall of Fame winner for 2014

Our two newest members ......

We've got another teenager in the chorus now. Love those young people!!!
Courtney Key (third from left) joins her mother, Krisi Key (second from left),
in the chorus as our fourth mother-daughter duo. With her are Director Sheila Nugent (far left)
and President Carol Ogle. The Keys are from Calhoun.

We were so happy to sing in another visitor from our Summer Singing School,
Dr. Mary Beth Brantley, of Farmerville. With her the night of her induction are
lead section leaders Cindy Dean (far left) and Cheryl Roach (far right) and Director Sheila Nugent.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Things are lookin' good

We're excited to report that two of our attendees of our Singing School have passed their vocal auditions.  And there are others waiting in the wings.

Soon, we will officially welcome these new members into our fold.  It's always such a joyful occasion to know that we'll soon have new singing sisters who are helping harmonize the world with song!

What's more, a nice-sized Piney Hills Harmony group attended Summer Music Camp in Frisco, Texas, and we're all charged up, with lots of additional energy and new ideas.  Woo hoo!

Friday, May 23, 2014

2nd session of Singing School continues successfully

Last night, we experienced another wonderful installment of our singing school - nine guests, several of whom returned from last week. And one guest from last week was out of town this week, so hopefully, she'll return next Thursday!

It's exciting to have them not only in the lessons, but also on the risers to sing with us. These are some really good singers!  So glad to have ALL of them visit with us. Here's another invitation for each and every one of them to come back next week.

And if YOU'RE reading this and are thinking about joining us, please do.  The singing school will last through June 19, Thursdays from 6-7:30 (or so) p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner.  It's free and is open to women of all ages and all voice ranges.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 2nd-place win: The future's so bright, we gotta wear shades!

Our formal contest shot right before we went on stage.
Piney Hills Harmony Chorus left its musical mark on Houston this spring during its first competition in Sweet Adelines International's Region 10, bringing home second place in its division and sixth place overall.

Formerly, the chorus was in another region that included the Dallas area plus Arkansas, Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. The new region stretches from El Paso, Texas, to Alabama.

"I'm just so proud of the ladies and the work they have done," director Sheila Nugent, of Ruston, said. "They tirelessly honed their skills to prepare for this competition, and it's paid off."

With 27 members on stage, Piney Hills Harmony competed in the small-chorus division. Overall, 17 choruses performed.

"It's a wonderful feeling to go to a place where we've never competed before and see that all our hard work has boosted us into the rankings of the new region," Nugent said.

Sweet Adelines' competition emphasize the subtleties of the four-part a cappella art form, including dynamics, synchronization of phrases and choreography. Piney Hills Harmony's score of 508 was the highest the chorus has ever achieved, Nugent said – one point above when the chorus earlier claimed first-place gold-medal status.

For some members, the whole experience was rather surreal.

Cindy Dean, of Farmerville, said, "For me, it still feels like a dream. I wore my medal to school today (the first Monday after competition). My first-graders all had to touch it. I guess, after all, it's real."

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Several of the members joked that they wanted to sleep with their medals – and one of them actually did.

Cheryl Roach, of Monroe, explained: "Exhausted Saturday evening after a thrilling and victorious day, I crashed for the night and awoke surprised the next morning to find my medal still around my neck."

This year's competitors included the largest group of new members since the early '90s.

Krisi Key, of Calhoun, said, "My first year in Sweet Adelines has been absolutely amazing. To win second place in our region with Piney Hills Harmony was the icing on my cake. This organization has the nicest people who are immediate family and would literally give you the shirts off their backs, as one quartet member from another chorus had to hunt her jacket down that weekend after loaning it to someone else. I can't wait for upcoming shows and the race to first place for next year's competition."

Sue Wheeler, of Famerville, was another 2014 "rookie," as new members are known until their first competition is under their belts. Her recollection of the contest performance?

"After working for weeks preparing, that walk onto the stage and the performance of our two competition songs just flew by like it never happened. I actually thought, 'What just happened?!?'

"I kept thinking how our team supported each other and, sure, we wanted to win or place. But, honestly, what mattered most to me is that – in our chorus – I have gotten to know and have as friends the greatest group of ladies ever. This – and just being a part of the total experience – was worth every minute that we have devoted to this effort. Are we proud of ourselves, each other and our medal? Absolutely."

"The Future's So Bright, We Gotta Wear Shades" - and our medals!
At the first regular rehearsal after contest, the chorus celebrated with what it termed Heavy Metal Night. Any member with a Sweet Adelines medal was encouraged to wear it – including this year's second place; the previous first-place gold medal; international second-place medals won while performing with Top of the Rock Chorus of Little Rock, Ark.; third-place and most-improved ribbons; and any others as well.

As that day approached, Nugent said, "We'll watch the contest video, look over the score sheets from the judges, and make plans on how to improve our scores even more next year."

Monday, May 05, 2014

Chorus to offer singing school

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines will offer a free singing school for area women every Thursday for six weeks, beginning May 15.

"When I joined this group 11 years ago, I had sung all my life, but I still have learned so many new things this past decade," Director Sheila Nugent said. "I'm grateful for that, as are all our members. We're having this singing school as a community service to give back to the region."

Sessions will include instruction on vocal placement, expressiveness, dynamics, breath control, resonance, vowels and other useful topics for singers. Because the class is conducted in a group setting, Nugent characterizes the approach as non-intimidating. Women of all ages and with all voice ranges are welcome; the ability to read music is not required.

In addition to learning various techniques to improve their singing, participants will have a chance to learn – right along with the chorus – a cappella versions of "Life Is a Highway," "Bless This House," "Lazy Day" and "God Bless the USA."

Nugent, a certified director of Sweet Adelines International, will teach the lessons from 6-7:30 p.m. each Thursday beginning May 15 and running through June 19 in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, 212 N. Bonner. This spring, Nugent led Piney Hills Harmony to a second-place win in its division at Sweet Adelines regional competition in Houston.

Participants can attend any or all of the sessions free of charge.

More information can be found at or by calling Nugent at (318) 237-3331.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 17, 2014, rehearsal canceled

Anyone considering visiting Piney Hills Harmony this week:  Rehearsal is canceled tomorrow (Thursday) night.  We will resume our regular schedule next week.  Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Piney Hills Harmony wins 2nd-place at regional contest

Introducing the new 2nd-place Division A chorus for Region 10, 2014 ... Piney Hills Harmony!!!!

This photo is from Friends & Family Night, 2014.

Friday, March 21, 2014

'We're ready for our close-up with you, Robin Curtis'

Exactly one month ago tomorrow, Robin Curtis of Texarkana came to Ruston to coach us.  Tomorrow, she will coach us again - two weeks before our first competition in Region 10 of Sweet Adelines International.

We're so much looking forward to it.  Hopefully, it will be an occasion that was as "happy, happy, happy" as the last coaching session.

Below, Robin poses with one of the gifts Piney Hills Harmony gave her in February.  The other shot shows her with PHH Director Sheila Nugent.

Ms. Curtis, we're ready for our close-up ......

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friends & Family Night set for Thursday, March 27

Our Friends and Family Night, which serves as a dress rehearsal (and more!) for our upcoming regional competition is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in the Dixie Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Ruston, 212 N. Vienna St.  Admission is free.

Come hear the chorus, along with competing quartet Rhapsody and the quartet 4 His Glory.  We'll sing several non-contest songs as well as our two-song set for the competition.   Help send us off to our first competition in our new Sweet Adelines region - Region 10!   Houston, here we come ... with six new members!!!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Havard named member of year by Piney Hills Harmony Chorus

Nadine Havard

A woman who joined Piney Hills Harmony Chorus when she was 70 and has now been a member for 10 years was named the group's Sweet Adeline of the Year.

Nadine Havard, of Monroe, was chosen recently by the Ruston-based group for two such honors. Before the chorus was placed in a new region during a worldwide Sweet Adeline reorganization, Havard was named Piney Hills Harmony's Sweet Adeline of the Year for Region 25. After the regional shift, Havard was named the chorus' Sweet Adeline Extraordinaire for Region 10.

Havard's nomination material spotlighted her for:
* providing and coordinating meals for chorus banquets, retreats, coaching and installation dinners.
* being a loyal and dedicated chorus member for whom everyone has the utmost respect.
* picking up a chorus member who can no longer drive and transporting her to all events and
* being content to work behind the scenes and consulted for her wisdom.

Havard was honored during Region 25's annual competition and during Region 10's fall meeting.

In other chorus news, board members and officers for the upcoming year have been chosen:
President – Carol Ogle, Monroe.
Vice President – Jerri Mahoney, Shreveport.
Secretary – Suzy Henderson, Ruston.
Treasurer – Rebecca McNeill, Winnfield.
Board members – Anne Garay, Ruston; Cindy Dean, Farmerville; Cheryl Roach and Judy Sisson, both of Monroe.

Nadine's portion of the Member Extraordinaire display at Region 10 in Houston

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