Choral group improves at barbershop competition


June 01, 2000|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"BARBERSHOP singing is like ice skating," says Nancy Harring, manager of the women's barbershop chorus Chesapeake Harmony. "You have to learn to do a single jump before you can try a double or a triple."

That's why members of the 2-year-old organization - the subject of this column in March - are so excited about their ranking in the annual barbershop competition at Ocean City Convention Center.

Chesapeake Harmony finished in 12th place among 21 choruses from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

The results of the April event set the singers dreaming of a future quadruple, so to speak. Moving from their first competitive ranking of 18th to 12th in one year represents a major improvement. The 23-member chorus, categorized as small (fewer than 40 members), outscored every other chorus of its size. In competition, groups are matched against each other regardless of size.

The local chorus scored 461 points this year, compared with the lowest score of 301 and the top score of 644 - the latter earned by the winning Pride of Baltimore chorus.

The scoring process seems as complex as composing four-part harmony.

"Four judges consider two songs sung by each chorus," Harring explains. Scoring is based on four elements: material, sound, expression and showmanship.

"But each category is divided into many subcategories," she continues. "For example, under `music' there is song arrangement and performance; under `performance' there's vocal skills, harmony accuracy, tempo, rhythm, musical unity, phrasing and dynamics."

When the competition is over, each chorus receives the judges' comments so singers can see where they need improvement. "Judges are so explicit," Harring says, "it's very constructive.

"Judges rate the quality of a group's diphthongs, consonants and vowels," she says. "We worked hard on our vowels; now we have to work on consonants."

Can a perfect 10 be far behind?

Seniors resource program

You may not be familiar with the Anne Arundel Senior Services Provider Group Inc., but that's all right.

The 4-year-old organization is more interested in making senior citizens aware of all the services available to them than becoming a household name. But success with its mission is putting an end to any thoughts of anonymity.

AASSPG serves as a resource to inform seniors and the general population about services encompassing everything from housing to health, transportation to recreation, legal issues to day-care centers.

Working in cooperation with the county's Department of Aging and many other senior service agencies, AASSPG can answer questions concerning subjects as varied as disabilities, crisis intervention and companion services.

Andrea LaPierre, director of community relations at Sunrise, an independent and assisted-living facility in Severna Park, is chairwoman of the board for AASSPG. "We help the Department of Aging put out its annual directory of senior programs," she says. "The 2000-2001 directory is now available in grocery stores around the county, but you can get it by calling our liaison at the department, Sandy Berkeley, at 410-222-4464."

The membership of AASSPG, which was founded in 1996, includes representatives from profit and nonprofit organizations, among them local government agencies, and providers of medical services and supplies, in-home care, adult day care, and transportation services. Members are involved in every aspect of senior housing, including assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

A monthly newsletter is published for its nearly 100 members. The monthly meetings, which feature seminars on senior-related subjects, are held at 8:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church and are open to the public. There is a $5 fee for nonmembers.

At the next meeting, June 13 at Woods, Rick Buckingham, president of GoalstarBusiness Strategies, will discuss "Taking Pride in Your Work."

Each year, AASSPG holds a fund-raiser to benefit nonprofit senior service organizations. This year's event, "A Celebration for Seniors 2000," is planned from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 at Herrington on the Bay, a marina resort in Friendship. The event will features a luau, complete with roasting pig. The cost is $35.

Beneficiaries this year are Meals on Wheels, Friends of Arundel Seniors and Partners in Care.

Information on AASSPG: Megan Hoffman, 410-544-7200.

Thrift shop changing hands

Located in the Benfield Village Center, Partners in Care is a 7-year-old agency designed largely as a service bank by founders Maureen Cavaiola, Sandra Jackson and Barbara Huston. At Partners in Care, individuals volunteer to help disabled or senior citizens, and at the same time accrue volunteer hours owed to them for a future time when they may need help.

Partners in Care is to assume ownership of the American Cancer Society's former Discovery Shop in the Didonato Plaza strip on Ritchie Highway. All of the equipment and remaining inventory is being donated to the new owners, who hope to open July 5.

"We're very excited about the Discovery Shop," says Huston. "It's exactly what we need to do. If our mission is to help by exchanging [volunteer hours for earned hours], this gives us a perfect way to do that."

She adds: "If a person is too frail to work, they can donate money to the shop instead of time. They could also donate gently used clothing, or we can offer a ride to people who would like to help but don't drive, and they could come to the store for a couple of hours. The result is they're seeing people and feeling like they're doing something positive."

Information: 410-647-8745.

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