Perfect Harmony to perform

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 12, 2000

at Crosby Theater


Features Editor

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

There may not be perfect harmony in this world but there will be "Perfect Harmony" in Troy May 20 when Christine Barron, Shelia Jackson and Kathy Ryles take the stage at the Crosby Theater.

Although the friends have been singing together for years and although they have been performing for audiences all across Pike County with great acclaim, this appearance will be their first "solo" performance and their biggest on-stage performance.

"We usually sing as part of a program – at churches, graduations, baccalaureate services, things of that nature," Barron said. "This is the first time Perfect Harmony will be in concert and we are very excited."

Perfect Harmony will be presented as one of the major performances sponsored by the Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities and it promises to be one of the great performances at the Troy State University theater. Perfect Harmony is a unique blend of personalities, musical preferences and aspirations.

All three are natural talents. All have some training in voice but not enough to call themselves "professionals" – yet.

They all grew up singing in church but only Ryles had stage credit at an early age.

"I entered the Sunday talent show at the old Academy Street School and sang "These Boots are Made for Walking," she said, laughing.

To date, Jackson has the most performance experience. She appeared as an extra in The Long Walk Home starring Whoopie Goldberg and Cissy Spacek and also appeared in a documentary, anchored by Connie Chung and starring James Earl Jones at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. She sang for President George Bush in Birmingham in 1990. The talented soprano was chosen winner of the WSFA-TV Search for Talent Contest from 1,200 entries and she has an album titled "Shelia Fayson Jackson Sings Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs.

Jackson is in great demand as a singer for a variety of public events in and around Pike County.

Barron and Ryles have been singing together for so long they can hardly remember when they weren’t singing together. They grew up singing together in the junior choir at the Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Troy and later blended their voices with Walter Bean and the Trouveres.

Barron was also a member of The Angelic 4 and the Spiritual Jubilees. She now has "some" opportunities to sing with her husband’s (Johnny Barron) band, Waterfall.

Ryles, who is also an accomplished pianist, has been musician and director of choirs at St. Paul for 31 years. She is an instructional music aide at Charles Henderson High School where she assists with the marching and concert bands and teaches the Trojan Singers. She performs for statewide and county events and has performed at functions in Atlanta.

As varied as their backgrounds in music, so are their tastes in music. Jackson prefers classical music and has a strong leaning toward opera. Barron and Ryles dabble in all kinds of music – country, pop, rhythm and blues and gospel.

Although their voices blend in perfect harmony, they are very different in their approach to practice and performance. Barron and Ryles sing in the shower, in the car and often "tune up" at work. When they are going to perform, they sing, sing, sing. Jackson, on the other hand, doesn’t hum the day away and she makes sure she’s ready to perform but she doesn’t go overboard with practice.

Perhaps, that’s because, after all this time, she gets a little stage fright.

"I don’t know why but I do," she said, laughing. "Whether I’m going to sing for two people or a large groups, I still get nervous."

Barron and Ryles admitted they, too, get a few butterflies but they look forward to taking the stage. "We just love to sing for people," Ryles said.

As for their future, Jackson would like to perform in the classical arena; Ryles would like to take the stage at the Apollo but Barron is satisfied to stay local and support her husband and his band.

At 7:30 p.m May 20 at the Crosby Theater, the trio of friends will get an opportunity to sing before a large audience and they will not have to share the stage with anyone. It will be their night and their time to shine.

The program will be as uniquely different as the women themselves. They will sing in Perfect Harmony and they will each stand alone in the spotlight.

The 45-minute program will include "I’ll Never Love This Way Again," "I Will Always Love You," "Give Me Jesus" and a special dedication to their children, "Sunrise, Sunset." The program will close with "That’s What Friends Are For" and in all probability a standing ovation for a night of Perfect Harmony.