126 PCMA CONVENE JULY 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
there’s a meeting for that
The motto of Sweet Adelines International is “Harmonize the World,” a task that its approximately 23,000 members undertake by
singing four-part, a cappella harmonies
in more than 500 choruses and 1,200
quartets over five continents. The
nonprofit organization was founded in
1953 as a female counterpart to the all-male Society for the Preservation and
Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet
Singing in America, now the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Sweet Adelines’ membership is
divided into 25 global regions, with
more than 500 chapters in 14 countries. The Heart of America Region 25
has members from seven states, from
northwest Texas to Tennessee.
S ING-O FF When the Heart of America
Region 25’s chapters got together in
Little Rock, there was a short business
meeting on the first afternoon, said
Peggy Bayer, a member of Little Rock’s
Top of the Rock Chorus. But the main
event at the two-day meeting was the
nearly nonstop competition between
23 quartets and 26 choruses in two divisions. Winners will travel to international competitions in Las Vegas later
this year and in St. Louis next year.
HI TTING THE RIGHT NOTES Sweet
Adelines quartets and choruses sing a
capella, and although they use microphones, “we depend on the venue to
boost our sound,” Bayer said. That
made the newly renovated Robinson
Center in downtown Little Rock a perfect fit for the event — the 1939 Works
Progress Administration building
reopened last year after a $70.5-million,
two-and-a-half-year renovation that
gutted and rebuilt the performance
hall to exacting acoustic standards. The
contest will return to Little Rock in
2018 and 2019.
NONSTOP HARMONY This is an
organization whose members like to
sing together. In addition to competitions held Friday evening and all day
Saturday, the event included a “Big
Show of Champions” on Saturday night.
After that, participants retired to an
after-hours party that featured karaoke.
Quartets could be heard singing while
riding the elevators of the Double Tree
by Hilton Hotel, which adjoins the
Robinson, Bayer said, while a group
of Sweet Adelines burst into song in
another downtown Little Rock hotel. .
— Barbara Palmer
March 24–25, 2017
Robinson Center Performance Hall
Little Rock, Arkansas
Harmony Bazaar About 30
vendors, including local artisans,
set up booths in the walkways
between Robinson Hall and a
connecting hotel, where visitors
could buy t-shirts, jewelry,
chocolate, and other items. Also a
hit: food trucks parked outside.