For the fifth consecutive time, Alaska’s premier a cappella women’s chorus has captured the Sweet Adelines International Region 13 Championship in Spokane, Washington against 16 other competing choruses on May 21. That’s quite an accomplishment since it was the largest SAI regional competition in the world in terms of the number of competitors.
Alaska Sound Celebration Chorus will now be gearing up to once again compete on the international stage in Vegas in October of next year. Last October, the 80-member chorus placed 13th in Vegas, against 32 choruses from all over the world.
This is the same barbershop chorus that has put on the wildly popular Fur Rondy Melodrama for the past 26 years, and has sold out shows every year.
ACS has helped enforce the love of singing in young people with a “Celebrate the Music” show each fall at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. This event gives an on-stage spotlight to youth. The Alaska A Capella University one-day workshop for girls, junior high to high school age, teaches them the art of barbershop a cappella music and they then perform on the show that same evening. Also included in the show is “Sing for Scholarships”, a chance for five previously auditioned high school girls and/or boys to compete for scholarship money for college.
“Alaska Sound Celebration is a very hard working chorus in the Sweet Adelines organization. It’s so rewarding to be recognized with two first place medals this year in Spokane - one for Best Mid-Sized Chorus and one for Best Overall Chorus with our respectable score of 634,” the chorus’ Master Director, Peggy Benton said this week. Benton is a music teacher at Ptarmigan Elementary School and has been the chorus director for the past 19 years.
The chorus strives to share their love of barbershop with all women in the community, and as such are always welcoming new singers into the fold. The non-profit chorus meets every Tuesday at Wayland Baptist University off Muldoon Rd. from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.
“Women come for the music and stay for the friendship,” Benton said. Interested singers are given a taste of being in the group by immediately being placed on the risers with a binder of music surrounded by supportive women who love to share the joy of barbershop music.
Many members will tell you that being a member of Alaska Sound Celebration has changed their lives for the better. “I’ve seen shy women suddenly come out of their shell and find confidence they never knew they had,” 14-year member Kate McKee said.
“For some in this organization, it has been life altering. Being around so many strong, independent, creative, happy women provides a bonding experience that can be difficult to find in our everyday lives. It has brought an enormous amount of joy to my life.”
For more information, go to www.alaskasoundcelebration.org or call 566-3987.