Women in the Hellertown and Saucon Valley area who have a natural knack, love and passion for singing may want to consider checking out a future Monday evening rehearsal of Sweet Adelines Lehigh Valley Chorus.
The chorus, consisting of women between the ages of 25 to over 80, practices at 7 p.m. each Monday at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 735 Delaware Ave., Hellertown.
The group moved to its new rehearsal location in Hellertown in September 2014, said Angie Johnson, president of the chorus.
“We are very glad to have found St. George’s Episcopal Church in Hellertown for our new home,” she said.
Johnson said the group of women sing a four-part harmony in a barbershop style. Their repertoire includes classic barbershop tunes, pop, spirituals, musical theater and holiday fare.
The ability to read music, Johnson noted, is not a prerequisite for becoming a chorus member.
“All that is required is that you are a woman, love to sing and are available for Monday night rehearsals,” she said.
Women interested in joining the chorus are first voice tested by chorus director Marilyn Block, who is responsible for determining if the prospect is best suited to sing bass, baritone, lead or tenor.
“Voice testing usually entails singing a few measures of a well-known song such as ‘America the Beautiful,'” Johnson said. “Then the prospective member is invited to join us on the risers and learn two songs from our repertoire.”
The prospective member is then given six weeks to rehearse audition songs, at home and with the chorus Monday evenings before the actual audition. The auditions require singing two prepared songs to the musical director with a learning track, with a specific portion not included. After the voice audition, the prospective member will participate in a visual choreography audition with the assistant director, Carol Kontir.
The Lehigh Valley Chorus competes yearly against other Sweet Adeline choruses within the organization’s Region 19. That region includes 22 choruses from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. The Lehigh Valley Chorus recently competed in Hershey, placing third in the small chorus division and ninth overall.
Additionally, the Lehigh Valley Chorus travels and performs throughout the Lehigh Valley.
“Recent performance locations include West Park in Allentown, William Allen High School, IronPigs Stadium, PPL Center, various retirement communities in the surrounding area, church gatherings, private parties, tree lighting ceremonies and Christmas events. We are available to sing at any event or location,” Johnson said.
Women in the area interested in joining the chorus are welcome to attend a six-week guest program beginning 7 p.m. June 6 at St. George’s Episcopal Church. The six-week program runs every Monday for the six-week period.
The six-week guest program will allow the guest to experience a four-part A Capella Harmony, learn one song with the chorus and perform with the chorus on stage at the annual Allentown West Park show July 13 (rain date July 14).
“This six-week guest program will help to prepare prospective members for the audition process,” Johnson said.
Why should area women consider checking out the chorus?
“Being a member of the Sweet Adelines is much like having an extended family,” Johnson said. “We care for each other and consider ourselves ‘sisters,’ sharing the love of singing together each week. We have a motto, ‘I don’t sing because I am happy, I am happy because I sing!'”
Charlotte Kranyecz of Upper Macungie Township has been a member of the chorus for 51 years. The chorus has afforded Kranyecz a sense of community, friendship and the opportunity to share with others her love and passion for singing.
“As a member of the Lehigh Valley Chorus for 51 years, I have made many friends who have shared in my love of singing and continue to do so in an alumni group who meet for lunch,” Kranyecz said. “The experience and education gained by singing for at least seven directors has been most gratifying.”
Fifteen-year chorus member Linda Wojciechowski of Lower Macungie Township agrees.
“Most of us would say we came to the chorus because we love to sing, and found the friendship and family feeling of membership to be an added blessing in our lives,” she said. “As a new Lehigh Valley resident 15 years ago, I visited the chorus and met dozens of new friends who made me feel at home here. Add to that the thrill of public performances and a competitive show choir experience, and I was in heaven.”
The chorus holds fundraisers throughout the year to raise money. Upcoming fundraisers include a spaghetti dinner scheduled for June (date to be determined), an annual show in November, as well as other events not scheduled yet, such as a bowling event, paint and party, Yankee candle fundraiser and performances by the double quartet and full chorus.
“Being a member of this chorus promotes individual growth and a sense of belonging,” Johnson added. “The atmosphere on the risers is fun and energetic, a camaraderie that you won’t experience anywhere else!”
More information can also be found by liking the organization’s Facebook page at Lehigh Valley Chorus.
Photos courtesy of Lehigh Valley Chorus