Feelin' Groovy

Sweet Adelines’ 20th anniversary concert promises surprises

The Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and they’re feelin’ groovy about it.

So groovy, in fact, that the women’s chorus decided to call their

annual fall concert just that — “Feelin’ Groovy.”

“We’re feeling good about ourselves, so it’s a good fit,” said Virginia Hosford, chapter president. “The show will include things people haven’t seen the Sweet Adelines do. It’s part formal and traditional, part zany and far out.”

It was 20 years ago next month that a few Hood River Valley singers decided to create a local chapter of the Sweet Adelines International organization, which today has more than 30,000 members worldwide. The Sweet Adelines is the largest musical education organization in the world, with hundreds of choruses worldwide whose membership varies from a handful to more than 100.

The Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines have 33 members — the largest it’s ever been, according to Hosford. Three charter members of the group are still involved: Nola Hardman, Mary Maroni and Dotty Nelson. Hosford herself joined two months after the chapter was formed.

Sweet Adelines members come from the Hood River Valley as well as The Dalles, White Salmon and Klickitat, Wash. Chorus members range in age from 13 to over 70. Hosford said the Sweet Adelines can take a few more singers, but chorus members don’t want it to get too big.

“We like knowing each other as individuals,” she said. “We don’t want to be a big chorus. We want to be a small, quality chorus.”

And quality is what the Sweet Adelines are. The Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines recently placed second in regional competition in Spokane, Wash., among all small choruses in the region encompassing Oregon, Southwest Washington, Idaho and Montana. They placed fourth overall in the same competition.

“I used to go to competitions and look at the score sheet from the bottom up to find us,” Hosford said. “Now we’re at the top.” The chorus is under the direction of Karla Calloway, who drives to Hood River from Tualatin for weekly rehearsals.

“Karla just brings out the best in us,” Hosford said. The Sweet Adelines rehearse and perform year-round. This time of year, the chorus is extremely busy, according to Hosford. After the annual fall show, the Sweet Adelines will perform a holiday show at the Discovery Center in The Dalles, and another one at the North Bonneville Hot Springs. In addition, two quartets from the Sweet Adelines — The Fourth Dimension and At-ti-tude — will perform on the Mt. Hood Railroad’s Christmas Tree Train. After that, the chorus prepares for the annual regional competition, to be held this year in Boise, Idaho.

Along with their scheduled annual performances, the Sweet Adelines sing at community events and private parties. Admission fees from their performances help pay for music, rehearsal space and competition fees, as well as for the director and choir members to further their musical education at seminars and conferences.

The “Feelin’ Groovy” show on Saturday promises a wide spectrum of entertainment for all ages, according to Hosford. The Sweet Adelines will open and close the show. In between, a variety of guest choruses will be showcased.

Bridge Town Sound, a men’s barbershop chorus that includes local members Ken Galloway, Don Hosford and Walter Rugh, will perform. The chorus won high honors at a district competition last month.

The Aliens, an internationally-known men’s comedy quartet, are also part of the show. The group is returning to Hood River for the first time in more than a decade.

Hot Topic, one of the “finest women’s quartets in the region,” according to Hosford, also will be featured. Two members of the Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines also sing for Hot Topic: Karla Calloway and Marlys Nelson.

Finally, the Second Chance Singers, an up-and-coming group of young a cappella singers from eastern Oregon will perform.

“They’ll appeal especially to young people,” Hosford said.

As for the Sweet Adelines themselves, Hosford said the chorus promises “some surprises.”

“Anyone who has not heard the Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines in the last six months simply has not heard the Hood River Valley Sweet Adelines,” she said. “We are truly feelin’ groovy and invite everyone to come and enjoy our celebration.”

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