Introducing our fearless leader
By Gaye LaCasce, International President
Another amazing IC&C is in the books – what a whirlwind of activity in Grand Rapids! I’ll join all of you who have already expressed appreciation for our convention team and dozens of volunteers; to generous donors who contributed more than $11,000 to the Steve Hagerdon Bright Future Fund; and to all the quartets and choruses who gave it their all on the contest stage and left us with goosebumps, tears, or laughter.
Your new International Board of Directors is already hard at work on your behalf. We are looking forward to a great year, thanks to time spent on strategic planning, program assessment, and thinking big. None of this would have been possible without the steady leadership of Linda Brehaut over the past three years. As I become accustomed to introducing myself as Harmony’s International President, it is with deep respect that I reflect on all our past International Presidents. Each brought her own unique style and skills to the position; their respective accomplishments were just as unique.
So, who is your newest International President? Here are a few fun facts:
I was drawn to Harmony because of the connections I made with caring, talented, and interesting people. Hopefully, I’ll meet many of you in the upcoming months – I’m sure WE have connections to explore!
- I was introduced to barbershop 26 years ago by my husband, Dan. He was a BHS singing judge who judged several Harmony, Inc. contests; I often traveled with him, and attending those contests was my first exposure to the warmth and culture of Harmony.
- I’m a classically trained musician from a family of musicians; I’ve played many instruments, taught music grades pre-k to 12th, directed church choirs, and was a piano instructor for years. I firmly believe that if every vocal ensemble embraced the barbershop precepts of balance, blend, and vocal production, then every ensemble would be better!
- We’ve lived and barbershopped in Areas 2, 6, and 3. Now living in Virginia, we love the weather – a perfect compromise between the Northeast and Florida!
- I’m a tenor. (A tenor who believes that the tenor part is meant to be heard!) Singing with my daughter, Alexa, in Aged to Perfection (Harmony champs in 2018) was and is the absolute best… until she shushes me, but even that’s ok. We also sing with Dan in a trio called Family Feud – our “Pandemic Quartet,” since the three of us were in the same COVID bubble and wanted to form a mixed quartet but obviously couldn’t. What a gift it is to share music with family (and friends, too, of course!).
- Our one and only granddaughter, Bellamy, is 14 months old. She lights up our lives and loves to sing and dance when we are rehearsing.
- I retired recently after a long career in non-profit management and fundraising. Using those accumulated skills on Harmony’s behalf seems to be a wonderful way to give back to an organization that has given me so much.
- I love tie-dye, chocolate, traveling, craft beer, my two behemoth cats, walking, the Olympics, and spicy food. I love my family and the dear friends I’ve met – largely through music. And I love this wonderful hobby and Harmony, which prides itself on empowering all women through singing, education, and friendship!
Gaye enjoys an outing with 14-month-old Bellamy, Alexa's daughter.
Gaye, husband Dan Signor, and daughter Alexa Beal sang together in a "pandemic quartet," the Family Feud trio.
Gaye rates singing tenor with daughter Alexa on lead in 2018 Harmony Queens Aged to Perfection as "the absolute best!"
From left, Alexa, Gaye, Kathy Pomer (bass), Ellie Pomer (bari).
From Bella Nova, St. Louis Vocal Project and Bluegrass Harmony choruses, representing Area 4, our 2023 Harmony Queens are Fierce (Kelly Peterson, tenor; Susan Ives, lead; Joy Suellentrop, bari; and Kris Wheaton, bass).
Here's to the champs!
IC&C 2023 featured simply amazing performances by all our contestants. And when the stardust settled, it was clear that Fierce, with a score averaging 80.9%, had stolen our hearts and won the crowns. Congratulations, Harmony Queens Fierce!
Also in the medals were:
3. The ShopTarts
4. High Gear
In the chorus contest, A Cappella Showcase again captured the gold medals, closely followed (just nine points back) by Bella Nova Chorus who won the silver.
Also in the medals were:
3. New England Voices in Harmony
4. St. Louis Vocal Project
5. Seaside A Cappella
Congratulations to all our medalist quartets and choruses and many thanks to all 29 competing choruses and 29 quartets for providing hours of captivating performances. Harmony. Stronger!
Click here for 2023 convention scoresheets.
2023 Championship Chorus is Area 5's A Cappella Showcase, directed by Jordan Travis.
An IC&C of pure Harmony!
Thank you, Grand Rapids!
Get ready, Louisville; here we come.
By Shannon Shelton-Muller, IC&C Marketing Manager
Our 2023 International Convention and Contests was truly an event of Pure Harmony! From the Opening Ceremonies to the Showcase of Champions and everything in between, we enjoyed the magic of Harmony, the camaraderie of friendships new and old, and celebrated the successes of everyone who crossed the stage. Thank you to our convention team for their dedication and hard work over the course of the week and to Anne Colt
for all her work in giving us such amazing education opportunities this year. We are thankful for our International Board of Directors and their continued efforts to grow our organization and make it a wonderful place to call home. To our judges, we thank you for your hours of work, your feedback, and your knowledge.
If you responded to the IC&C survey, thank you. Your feedback helps us make every IC&C better for all our members. Plans are already underway for 2024 where we will travel to the Galt House
in Louisville, Kentucky, November 6-10, 2024.
Simply the best!
By Margaret Cain, Convention Team Assistant
Marlene Snook, Margaret Cain, Michelle Evans, and Jill Conrad entertain the cast of Tina with a rendition of One Fine Day.
That was Tina, the musical, an absolutely great show at the DeVos Performance Centre in Grand Rapids. The life and music of Tina Turner
were seamlessly woven throughout the story that unfolded on stage, from her struggles and challenges to her ultimate rise to superstardom.
Our tickets included a chat with some of the cast after the show in the lobby, so we excitedly wrote down all our performance questions. Marlene Snook
and I headed for the lobby after the show and there we met Michelle Evans
and Jill Conrad
from Bluegrass Harmony
. It turned out, through our Barbershop chit-chat, that between the four of us, we had a quartet. Another person in the lobby who overheard us talking said to us, “How about singing a song?” Well, how could we resist? Into the repertoire of common songs we went and decided on One Fine Day.
What a thrill! Never having met or sung together and with the wonderful acoustics of the lobby we had the place “be-boppin'”. The Promotions Manager said to us that we would have to sing for the cast (be still my heart). After we had met and chatted with the cast members, who were very gracious and shared loads of great information about their performance and the making of the musical, we sang for them.
What a fabulous experience this was. The cast members could not believe that four people who had never sung together could sing and entertain so effortlessly. Of course, we promoted the convention, Harmony, Inc., and barbershop to everyone there. It just reinforced to us what a great hobby barbershop is and that the joy of singing and meeting new people is never-ending. Singing for the Tina cast members who came out to meet us was one of the highlights of this wonderful convention experience in Grand Rapids.
Our volunteers rock!
By Anne Leinen, IC&C Volunteer Manager
The Convention Team would like to thank the 81 volunteers who donated over 500 hours during our convention in Grand Rapids. Your willingness to spend hours working behind the scenes so everyone – contestants and audiences – had a successful convention is greatly appreciated. A special shout out to our Super-Volunteers: Patricia Cassidy, Sam O’Neill, Nancy Arkin, Lynn Kaufman, Marlene Snook, Debbie Wilson,
and Nicola Stevens
. Each of these volunteers gave over 19 hours of volunteering at IC&C.
We hope you all enjoyed the experience, and we look forward to seeing you in Louisville next November!
TUNE UP TIPS
You can reserve your seats now for the 2024 IC&C in Louisville!
The first 200 people who reserve seats at IC&C 2023 OR by March 15, 2024, whichever comes first, will be guaranteed reserved seating for all contest sessions at IC&C 2024. All persons reserving seats must pay the amount of a Performing Member AEP, and both full payment and an individual name must accompany the request for a seat. For IC&C 2024, the Early-Bird rate for a Performing Member All Events Pass is $165 in U.S. funds or Canadian equivalent
Click the ICC Reserved Seating Form
|Celebrating Our Volunteers
By Debbie Glenn, Volunteer Resource Coordinator
Today, December 5, has been designated by the United Nations as International Volunteer Day. On this special day, we want to recognize and thank all our amazing volunteers. Whether you share your talents with your chapter, Area, or as a corporate volunteer, thank you for generously giving your time to make Harmony, Inc. the incredible organization it is!
|Independent Ladies Value Potatoes
Independent Ladies value potatoes (!)
Harmony Queen's kind act quells performance flutters
By Trayce Elenteny, Quartet Contact
Back in September, I (as the contact for Independent Ladies) received an email from Stacy Hugman asking if we would like to participate in the Queen Friendship and Mentorship Program for competing quartets. Starting in 2022, the Association of Harmony Queens (AHQ) began offering their services to quartets who would appreciate the opportunity to have the support of one of their members. They offered advice on how to calm nerves, best use of warm up rooms, tips on the best poses for pictures…anything at all. Three of the Independent Ladies had previously been on an international stage, but our bari was not only new to Harmony, Inc, but also new to the international quartet stage, so we said, "YES PLEASE!"
Our Queen Mentor was Stacy Hugman. If you don’t know her, she’s like the Michael Jordan of smiles. No one does it better. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her without a smile on her face. I requested she accompany us through the pattern and it was the best decision for us. She showed up with a smile and a gift bag and had us all craughing (crying and laughing at the same time) from the minute she walked in the door. She gave us each hand-knitted potatoes and told us to whisper our worries, fears, etc. to our potatoes and then give them to her before we walked on stage. As goofy as it sounds, not only did the physical act of unloading our worries on the potato relieve stress, but the fact that someone put that much thought into helping her sisters and then went to the trouble to either make or find a token for us was probably the best experience I’ve had in my 25 years in Harmony, Inc. Our potatoes were returned to us after we came off stage.
I will celebrate my 16th year as ACJC in 2024. I always say the best part of my job is making sure everyone has a great contest experience. Stacy Hugman made sure I had a great contest experience at IC&C 2023. Thank you to Stacy and the AHQ for a great friendship and mentor program.
Independent Ladies appreciate Stacy Hugman's stress-relieving hand-knitted potato gift.
|1959 Society supports Harmony
New 1959 Society supports Harmony with legacy gifts
By Kim Meechan, Director of Philanthropy
Legacy giving is a wonderful way to support organizations that play a significant role in one’s life. People leave financial gifts in their will to institutions such as universities, churches, or hospitals. Any group or organization that plays a role in supporting and shaping lives has the potential to be the recipient of this kind of thoughtful and meaningful financial gift.
Harmony, Inc. is grateful to our members who have notified us of their planned legacy gift. One such individual is Tom Gentry. At the 2023 International Convention and Contests in Grand Rapids Tom spoke about his love for Harmony, Inc. and his reason for wanting to leave a legacy gift when the time comes. He was joined on stage by seven other members of Harmony, Inc. who had notified our Corporate Office of their legacy plans. Each of those individuals received a beautiful lapel pin, recognizing their membership in the new 1959 Society. It is a small way to recognize the significant gesture of legacy giving that speaks volumes about the love an individual feels for Harmony, Inc.
Thank you so much to the following individuals who were welcomed this year into the 1959 Society: Tom Gentry, Christina and Richard Lewellen, Mary Ann Wert, Diane Patterson, Dan Signor, Gaye LaCasce, and K.A. Meechan.
|Bright Future Fund Established to Support Youth
The Bright Future Fund and you
By Kim Meechan, Director of Philanthropy
If you attended Harmony, Inc.’s recent International Convention and Contests in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you likely met Steve Hagerdon, or at least heard him speak during the Opening Ceremonies. Steve shared his sincere and heartfelt reason why he has donated to Harmony, Inc. over the past decade, with funds supporting our youth. His love for barbershop music and his desire for youth to have opportunities to sing four-part harmony is his reason for supporting Harmony, Inc.
Steve’s own passion and commitment is Harmony, Inc.’s reason for establishing the Steve Hagerdon Bright Future Fund, which was launched at this year’s IC&C. This is where YOU came into the equation. YOU helped raise over $11,000 for this special fund. YOU were moved by Steve’s speech, as well as by other members of Harmony, Inc., who spoke about their experience joining Harmony, Inc. as youths themselves - or about working with young Harmony members. The gifts of music, confidence, and friendships were a common theme amongst presenting members who shared their gratitude for our organization.
Thank you, Steve Hagerdon, for all your years of support!
Thank you, members of Harmony, Inc., who willingly and generously donated to the Bright Future Fund during, and after, IC&C.
Together, we are ensuring that young women have a future with Harmony, Inc. Your financial support will help continue to provide free All Events Passes for youth members, providing the financial accessibility that might otherwise be a barrier. It will assist with new and innovative ways to spread the news about Harmony, Inc. to youth across North America.
There are new initiatives on the horizon, and they would not have been possible without your support. Stay tuned for updates about how your donations to the Steve Hagerdon Bright Future Fund will make a difference.
Hail and Farewell:
Sugartones reach a milestone
By Judy Breckles, founding member of Sugartones
It has been a milestone year for the Sugartones! We celebrated our 10th anniversary and produced our last show under the direction of beloved director and founder Jan-Åke Westin. After honoring Jan-Åke and Barbro Westin publicly for their years of dedication, creativity, musicality, talent, and for making it all loads of fun, we then turned to welcome our new director, Jeanette Martin, to both Sugartones and to barbershop.
A little history
In 2012, eight singers banded together to form the Sugartones, a new Harmony, Inc. chapter in Alliston, Ontario, with Jan-Ake as the director. These eight singers soon grew to 20, then over 30 while growing in musicality and knowledge under Jan-Åke's mentorship. Barbro, who had sung with the first Sweet Adelines group in any Nordic country (in 1977 in Sweden), became the backbone of this new chorus. She performed multiple supportive tasks (often behind the scenes) working tirelessly to ensure success for Sugartones, Area 5, and Harmony, Inc. ventures. We couldn't have done it without her!
When Jan-Åke and Barbro declared their intention to take a well-deserved retirement, Sugartones were shaken by the news. This vibrant couple were the heart of the chapter. In typical Jan-Åke style, he gave us plenty of support and time to accomplish the unthinkable — finding a replacement for him as our director. He kindly offered his support to Jeanette and welcomed her to our Sugartones family to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Retiring Director Jan-Ake Westin and his wife Barbro.
Celebrating 10 years
We threw a party featuring a show highlighting 10 years of fabulous and wacky performances. At the show, we thanked our supporters, sadly remembered our late members, reminisced about our 100+ community performances and our crazy antics at moonglows, watched some past show clips and COVID virtual videos, and sang our hearts out to an appreciative audience of former Sugartones members, supporters, and our Harmony, Inc. family. We hope that our deep appreciation for Jan-Åke and Barbro shone through with every note! The abundance of fun, food, and camaraderie that followed our show was the icing on the anniversary cake. We were grateful for all of our Harmony family who travelled from afar to help us celebrate and honor the Westins.
Sugartones members model chorus costumes through the decade.
Newly welcomed Director Jeanette Martin.
In August, Sugartones were delighted to welcome Jeanette Martin as our new director. She is an accomplished choral director, singer, pianist, flautist and teacher with over 40 years of experience in multiple musical genres. Jeanette's musical passion started as a teenage music director in the Salvation Army. The mother of eight children, Jeanette's passion to help young people develop their performing arts skills and positive character traits led her to create Music In Motion Performing Arts Studio in Bradford, Ontario, in 2008. Her wholistic approach to kids' programming has transformed the lives of thousands of young people and earned many accolades and awards for innovation, community service, and fostering her students' talents. Jeanette is enthusiastic about being introduced to barbershop harmony and to Harmony, Inc.
Your donations to the For Love of Harmony program enable you to identify individuals or groups to receive special recognition, while at the same time providing a monetary gift to Harmony, Inc.
from Cathy DeCoste in memory of Betty Costellow
from Terrie Carrozzella in honour of Lindsay & Deanna
from The ShopTarts in honor of Sean Devine "who exemplifies the selfless heart of a true King of Harmony."
from The ShopTarts in honour of Jen Wheaton "who exemplifies the selfless heart of a true Queen of Harmony"
from A Cappella Showcase in memory of Erna Atamaniuk
|Condolences From The Membership
Need to post a condolence notice? Please have the information sent to the Corporate Office to be recorded. Thank you.
- to Alana Regular (Toronto Accolades, Area 5) on the death of her father Allan Daley
- to the family and friends of Dorothy "Dottie" Hannaford (Harmony Heritage Chorus, Area 2) who passed away October 28, 2023. She will be very much missed.
- to Katie Ritz (A Cappella Showcase, Area 5) on the death of her mother Erna Atamaniuk
|ICC Future Dates & Venues
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS & CONTESTS
2024 NOVEMBER 6-9, GALT HOUSE, LOUISVILLE, KY
2025 NOVEMBER 5-8, HERSHEY LODGE, HERSHEY, PA
2026 NOVEMBER 11-14, GALT HOUSE, LOUISVILLE, KY
2027 NOVEMBER 10-13, NIAGARA FALLS CONVENTION CENTER,
NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO
2028 NOVEMBER 1-4, HERSHEY LODGE, HERSHEY, PA
The next issue of the HI Note comes to your inbox December 20. The holiday season is in full swing. Why not let your siblings in song know what your chorus or quartet is doing to help your community celebrate the season by sending a short story -- and pictures! -- for the HI Note to firstname.lastname@example.org . December deadline is December 13.
See you again, soon!