Laurel Harmony Chorus seeks additions to its sweet sound | TribLIVE.com
Music

Laurel Harmony Chorus seeks additions to its sweet sound

Mary Pickels

Outside the Trinity United Church of Christ on Greensburg’s Main Street, the sweet sounds of singing fill the evening air.

It’s not choir practice, but rather chorus practice — as in the Laurel Harmony Chorus, Greensburg’s chapter of the Sweet Adelines International.

The all-female, four-part harmony, barbershop-style group practices each Thursday at 7 p.m. at the church.

As part of Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, celebrated each year on July 13, a July 11 rehearsal was open to the public.

The group shares some of its repertoire and encourages other area women to consider joining.

The open house was arranged to share their style of singing with the community. The music includes special arrangements of today’s ballads, classic songs, popular show tunes and mainstream music.

Laughing, dancing and snapping their fingers to the beat, the women follow director Vicky Westley’s lead.

Opening with “It’s a Good Day,” they provide a sampling of different styles of music, performing “Lollipop,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Lulu’s Back in Town,” “Send Your Love,” “Ride the Chariot,” “God Bless America” and “Happy.”

Seeking more voices

The group welcomes women of all ages to sing with the group, says Sandy Mizikar, a member since retiring from her nursing career in 2009.

“I saw an ad in the paper. I came to one meeting and I stayed. They are the friendliest group of people,” she says. “We all have one thing in common — we love music, we love to sing.”

According to Sweet Adelines International, barbershop singing a cappella (voices only, no instruments) has its roots in African-American improvisational singing of the 1800s.

Barbershop Music Appreciation Day commemorates the founding of Sweet Adelines International on July 13, 1945, in Tulsa, Okla.

Worldwide, the organization includes a membership of nearly 21,000 in 525 choruses and over 900 quartets across the globe.

The local chapter formed when groups in Ligonier and Monroeville combined over 20 years ago, Mizikar says.

A nonprofit, they compete annually and most years perform a community Christmas show.

“We perform at a lot of local festivals, church ice cream socials, volunteer luncheons, wherever we are invited,” Mizikar says.

Two years ago, the chorus partnered with the Irwin Male Chorus for a joint performance at Irwin’s Lamp Theatre.

A group of about 20, with typically 16 or so active members, the Laurel Harmony Chorus hopes to add a few new voices to its sound.

A Christmas in July performance of a new song — “The Chipmunk Song” — has the women laughing again, studying the sheet music and agreeing with Westley that it’s “not too hard.”

Several visitors agree to join in for the rehearsal, amiably singing along.

According to Sweet Adelines International, membership benefits include vocal education and training, choreography and arranging, along with, members say, friendship and fun.

“We’re always looking for more members. We’re a hidden gem in Greensburg,” Mizikar says.

Details: 724-837-5550 or laurelharmony.weebly.com

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Greensburg’s Laurel Harmony Chorus, a chapter of the Sweet Adelines International, practices during a recent open house.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Laurel Harmony Chorus director Vicky Westley leads the all-female a cappella group.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Love of singing is what draws the women of the Laurel Harmony Chorus together. The group hopes to recruit some new members.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
It’s never too soon for the Laurel Harmony Chorus to learn some new music for its Christmas show.
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Pat Shaffer | Courtesy of Laurel Harmony Chorus
The Laurel Harmony Chorus poses for a portrait in May, prior to the group’s annual competition.
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