MAKE WAY, Salt Lake City, for an onslaught of excitement, achievement, glamour and dreams come true!
It's all coming your way with 6,000 members of Harmony International (formerly Sweet Adelines), who will gather here Oct. 16-20 for their 44th annual convention.Harmony International is a non-profit women's singing organization with home offices in Tulsa, Okla., dedicated to education and achievement through competition and performance of four-part harmony, barbershop style - the female counterpart to SPEBSQSA (The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America).
Here in the Salt Palace and Symphony Hall, 49 quartets and 26 choruses, all winners of regional competition, will vie for international recognition and medals, as judges identify the top 10 quartets and the top five choruses.
No bones about it, competition is where it's at for these singers, and they don't shrink from putting themselves and their achievements on the line. This is a stars-in-your-eyes kind of convention, where a chorus from Richardson, Texas, or a quartet from Iowa City or Naperville, Ill., has a chance to make it big.
How about the glamour?
With the motto "Harmonize the World," Harmony International sponsors 675 chapters with 30,000 members in the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Scotland, Sweden and West Germany. Each has a chorus and one or more quartets, and each must perform in American English.
These 30,000 are the unsinkable Molly Browns who juggle kids and husbands, kitchens and offices, community and church service, while dealing with crises of sickness and death, divorce and singleness, budgets, promotions or unemployment, family triumphs and tragedies.
But inside each of them is a show girl screaming to get out, so they stay trim, get their hair done, learn their extroverted routines, put on a pretty dress and go out looking like a million bucks to sell a song.
They sing about home, Dixie and Mammy, Broadway and Basin Street; tender love, broken hearts, tears and laughter; bouncy jazz, smoky blues and effervescent swing; Gay '90s and Roaring '20s; lullabies and heart songs that bring a tear to the eye and a catch to the throat.
Their big smiles on and off stage reflect joie de vivre, and they've found a way to beat the clock, said Jolene Dixon, who is convention chairwoman for the hostess Mountain Jubilee Chorus (formerly Bountiful Sweet Adelines). She believes that people who are constantly performing, and take pride in excellence, stay forever young.
These women are also inclined to be overachievers, said Dixon. "In our chorus we have a circuit judge, an elementary principal, a doctor, several CPAs, nurses, 13 or 14 teachers and some administrative workers, plus 10 or 12 busy full-time housewives."
Having made preliminary liaison arrangements, the Mountain Jubilee Chorus is mobilized to carry out all sorts of volunteer services at the convention, said Dixon. "I have been working all year, along with 12 subchairmen. All 100 women in the chorus, plus about 25 former members, will be busy manning booths and handling traffic patterns at this very large convention."
A confirmed conventiongoer, Dixon sees the convention as a way to compare efforts and keep current with the trends in barbershop singing. She enjoys the camaraderie of the organization, whose spirit is one of support and cooperation.
The lively, synchronized routines of Harmony International choruses and quartets do not take shape by accident; they result from hard work of local coaches, plus coaching from international specialists.
For example, Utah's Rainbow Collection Quartet, which will compete at this convention, has been coached twice during the past year by a specialist in vocal production from San Diego, and twice by a specialist in stage presence from Houston. Music education classes are always an important part of a Harmony International convention.
Salt Lakers may attend the programs of the convention, listed in the accompanying roster. And free mini-concerts may be heard around town on Monday and Tuesday, featuring winning quartets from Florida to California, New Jersey to Illinois, Texas to Wisconsin and points between.
At Trolley Square on Monday, programs will be at noon (one quartet) and 5:30 p.m. (two quartets); on Tuesday, again at noon (two quartets) and 5:30 to 7 p.m. (three quartets).
Crossroads Plaza will present three quartets on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Public-spirited quartet singers will entertain on Monday at Shriners Hospital from 6:30 to 7:30, at the Ronald McDonald House at 7 p.m., and at the Multi-Ethnic Senior Citizens Center, 285 W. North Temple, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Last but not least, the Rainbow Collection will sing preceding the Utah Jazz game on Tuesday, with the Growing Girls of Sweden providing halftime entertainment.
A popular barbershopper event is the mass sing, scheduled Thursday, Oct. 18, at 11:30 a.m., when conventioneers will gather at the Salt Palace courtyard to sing a thank-you to the city.
The Scottsdale Chorus from the Phoenix area will sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the choir's regular CBS broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 21. The chorus, 1989 champions of Harmony International, has six times placed among the top three choruses in international competition. Their conductor since 1967 is Bev Sellers.
Enjoy heavenly harmonies during 5 days of performances
Salt Lakers may enjoy all the following singing events of the Harmony International convention, for a price. Unless otherwise noted, tickets will be available in advance only at the Harmony International ticket office in the Red Lion Hotel.
Tuesday, Oct. 16, Symphony Hall:
O The 1990 Showcase at 8 p.m. features Utah's own Mountain Jubilee Chorus, led by Tori Postma - winners in last spring's Rocky Mountain regional competition, who will compete internationally in San Antonio in 1991; also the Growing Girls Quartet, first-place winners in 1989 from Sweden, the Second Edition Quartet of SPEBSQSA, Showtime Quartet of Florida, and Aberdeen Chorus from Scotland. Tickets at $7 may be purchased at the door.
Wednesday, Oct. 17, Salt Palace:
Quartet quarterfinals, 12:30-5:15 p.m and 7-11 p.m., $9 each session.
Thursday, Oct. 18, Salt Palace:
11:30 a.m., courtyard, mass sing, thank-you to the city, free.
1-5 p.m., top 20 quartets in semifinals, $14.
8:30 p.m., arena, Coronet Club Show, featuring international championship quartets (Queens of Harmony) from 1989, 1987, 1986, 1985 and 1983.$15.
Friday, Oct. 19, Salt Palace:
Chorus semifinals, 1-7:30 p.m., $16.
Saturday, Oct. 20, Salt Palace:
Quartet finals, top 10 quartets, 1-5 p.m., $16, tickets available that day.
Chorus finals, top five choruses, 8-11 p.m., $16, tickets available that day.