Sixty-four voices singing for their souls… and for Barrie


Every Tuesday night, 64 women from all over Simcoe County drive to Barrie to sing their hearts out.

They’re every age… the oldest is XX, and while some are self employed, others work for companies, others are young moms raising little tykes. They’re busy, busy people and for 15 years they’ve been blending their voices in four part harmony.

Last weekend, all 64 women and their director, Maureen Rocchio, competed with 34 other acapella choruses in Syracuse, NY. They placed sixth overall and second in the mid-sized chorus division.


These are the highest marks ever achieved by the Sweet Adelines. Four part harmony, four distinct roles, bass, baritone, lead, and tenor all working together to perfect their two entry numbers, a ballad called Masquerade and an upbeat number with choreography to it called Lonely Hearts Medley.

Competing in an event like this means true commitment on the lives of all its participants. It also means pulling together for the best for everyone. Take the costumes, for instance. This year the costumes were designed, approved through various levels of committees, changed, re-approved and then presented to the group at large. Figure flattering, comfortable black under-dresses with what looked like silver overvests that burst into colour under stage lights. The costumes were designed for maximum flexibility and under the nimble fingers of seamstress Merle Ormiston, each costume came to life.

You can only imagine the impact of this saucy outfit on stage at Syracuse. And while their, director Maureen Rocchio, who’s been the Sweet Adelines director since 1986, received an award for coaching. Maureen also coaches a quartet called Kindred Spirits, four Sweet Adelines, who are pushing themselves into solo four-part harmony, and who placed seventh at the competition.

The group attends the competition every year because it raises their singing and stage performance standards. It lets them measure their achievement and as a barbership-style chorus, it’s the only benchmark they have.

Every Tuesday night from 7 to 9:30, the halls at Northwest United Church (Livingstone and Cundles St) ring as the Sweet Adelines practice. The group opens itself to new members once a year and their Ready Set Grow program starts Tuesday, May 8. It’s a five week, free program that gives songbirds the opportunity to get into the swing of it, learn some new songs, test out their commitment and their scdhedules and then audition to join the chorus.

If you’d like to consider joining the group, call Morag Harvey at 722-6022.

More honours for Barrie. Thanks, Maureen. Thanks, Sweet Adelines. And thanks, Reta Whelan for tipping me off on this great group!