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12:32 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Song of the Pines Chorus celebrates 50 years

Laurel Bailey/Courtesy photo<br>The Song of the Pines Chorus, which is affiliated with Sweet Adelines International, practices for its July 6 and 7 performances celebrating its 50 years of harmony in Prescott. The performances will be at the Prescott Center for the Arts.

Laurel Bailey/Courtesy photo<br>The Song of the Pines Chorus, which is affiliated with Sweet Adelines International, practices for its July 6 and 7 performances celebrating its 50 years of harmony in Prescott. The performances will be at the Prescott Center for the Arts.

PRESCOTT - The Song of the Pines Chorus will sing in celebration of its 50 years of harmony in performances on July 6 and 7 at the Prescott Center for the Arts.

Show times for the group's "musical extravaganza" are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 7. Tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger and $16 each for groups of 10 or more. To order tickets, call the PCA box office at 445-3286.

For several particular singers in the Prescott chorus, which is affiliated with Sweet Adelines International, their involvement is a family affair.

The family's matriarch is Lorraine Butzen who is 94 years old and observing her 60th year as a member of a Sweet Adelines chorus.

A resident of Prescott since 2002, she began singing with Sweet Adelines' The Crown City Chorus in Pasadena, Calif., in the 1950s and says of her decades of adding her baritone talent to the singers, "I love performing. It has given me the opportunity to perform in many areas, and I have formed wonderful friendships."

Joining Butzen in the Song of the Pines Chorus are her two daughters, Suzy Lobaugh, director and busy with other chorus roles, and Rosemary Baltensberger, as well as Lobaugh's daughter, Carol Tippett, a former Prescottonian who now lives in Baltimore, Md.

"It's meant everything to me," Butzen said of her Sweet Adelines relationship. "It's made me very happy."

The same would be true of others in the Song of the Pines Chorus, who echoed Butzen's sentiments and pointed out that singing with the chorus boosts pride in one's self and eases life's difficulties.

Said Lobaugh, who has been a member of Sweet Adelines since 1964, "It has defined my life and given me opportunities beyond what I ever dreamed I'd be doing - travel, educating and impacting women's lives in a positive way." Singing with the chorus builds self-confidence, she said, adding, "You leave life's woes behind and find joy in your life."

"We don't just sing. We are a back-up system," Judi Williams said. "We have had women who have lost their husbands, their jobs and fought illness. We really have a sisterhood."

"I can vouch for that," said Kathy Stephens, who had open-heart surgery four and a half years ago. "I was back singing in a month. I needed that uplift to my spirits, which I think music does for all of us."

The Song of the Pines Chorus plans to uplift the spirits of its entire audience during its concerts on July 6 and 7.

A variety of music is on the play list, Lobaugh said. People can look forward to such favorites as "It Had to Be You," "On a Wonderful Day Like Today," and an Armed Forces medley because Prescott is a "patriotic town." And each service man and woman in the audience will receive a lapel pin as a thank-you, she said.

Danny Anderson will act as the 90-minute shows' master of ceremonies and will do cameo vignettes as segues into each portion of the performance, accompanied by Laura Taylor on piano.

It will be a "very musically oriented, tied together program rather than a parade of music," Lobaugh said.

Special guests, The OK Chorale from the Phoenix area, will add a "Sons of the Pioneers" flavor to the show, with country western tunes, Lobaugh said.

Sweet Adelines' presence in Prescott began in 1963, when Beverly Atkins moved here from the Midwest. She brought her love for barbership harmony with her and formed the first Sweet Adelines chorus in northern Arizona.

Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization for women singers that was established in 1945.

The Song of the Pines' repertoire crosses the spectrum: patriotic, Broadway show tunes, gospel and inspirational, popular, contemporary, standards and even songs from the Beatles and Neil Diamond.