Originally Published: September 25, 2011 10:11 p.m.
Prescott's Song of the Pines Sweet Adelines Chorus has soared to international heights.
The singers who have entertained Prescott for 48 years will soon be on their way to compete at the International Sweet Adeline Harmony Classic in Houston, Texas, Oct. 16-22.
This "is the first time a chorus of our size from Arizona has ever competed on the international stage," said Suzy Lobaugh, musical director.
To get this distinction, the Song of the Pines Chorus brought home a gold medal from regional competition in Pasadena, Calif., this past April, where the ensemble not only won the Region 21 trophy for best small chorus but also came in fourth overall.
The barbershop chorus was up against 11 other groups from Southern California, Arizona, West Texas and New Mexico. This marked the fourth time that the Song of the Pines won the small chorus championship, and the first time a small chorus finished that high in the overall rankings. By virtue of their high scores in competitions, Song of the Pines received an invitation to the October international classic.
A fundraiser, with cameo performances by Toni Tennille, Natalie Krol and Terri New, will benefit the Song of the Pines Chorus at 4 p.m. Saturday at Talking Rock Ranch. Tickets are $75 ($60 of this is tax deductible) and include wine tasting and a barbecue. Tickets will be available at the door, but organizers would like RSVPs. To order tickets, call Mickie Hansel at 778-0888 or email RDavis@TalkingRockClub.com. People may also mail checks for tickets, payable to SOTP, to 910 W. Gurley St., #119, Prescott, AZ 86305, c/o Mickie Hansel. Talking Rock Ranch is located at 14503 N. Talking Rock Ranch Road via Williamson Valley Road.
The 33-member chorus, ranging in age from 23 to 92, will be the main feature of the one-hour concert, singing its performance package for the competition in Houston. Lobaugh described the event as "an elaborate dress rehearsal."
The Song of the Pine's signature costumes are black velvet gowns, with rhinestones and silver trim, and the music their lead, tenor, baritone and bass voices combine in song is legendary.
Guests on Saturday will hear the chorus's versions of "On a Wonderful Day Like Today," "It Had To Be You" and "Nobody Does It Like Me," all Labough's arrangements. The Song of the Pines' "in-house" quartet, A La Mode, will sing a "very unique blend," said Labough, including "You Made Me Feel So Young" and "Goody Goodbye."
The audience will hear Tennille sing "I'll Be Seeing You," and "As Time Goes By." Krol pieces include "Summertime" and "Sway Crazy," while New has five on her bill: "Both Sides Now," "Autumn Leaves," "Blue Skies," "Tiger Burning Bright" and "Our House."
Complementing the evening of song will be Buddy Moeck on keyboard.
Song of the Pine's repertoire varies from inspirational and patriotic to Broadway show music to Old Standards to songs of the 1950s and the Beatles.
"We do a little of everything," Labough said. As for the Houston trip, "I'm sharing this international experience with women who will be experiencing it for the first time. This is really a big deal for our little town and our little chorus."
"I would like the women of Prescott to know what a thrill this is and invite them to check us out," Judi Kay Williams, team coordinator, said. "You just need to have the desire to sing, make new friends and entertain."
Hansel has attended two international competitions and watched them through a computer link, but this is the first time she will be a performer.
"I'm starting to get butterflies," she said.