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Heart of Dixie Chorus

encourages men to 'sing along'

with membership drive

From staff reports

"If you can sing 'Happy Birthday,' you can sing in our chorus."

So says Jim Wadowick, a founding member of the Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus and an avid advocate of the Harmony Society.

"A lot of people are afraid that all kinds of musical skills are required, but that' s not true," Wadowick said. "If you like to sing, we can teach you."

And now is the time to find out. As part of a membership drive, the Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus is inviting anyone interested in singing to come to one of the next four weekly rehearsals, which take place from 7 to 8 p.m. each Thursday at the Colley Senior Complex.

Not only can you join in the fun, but you can reap - and eat - the benefits at the chours' annual spaghetti dinner fund-raiser, which takes place Aug. 27. "The chorus is using the spaghetti dinner as a recruiting device by offering free dinner tickets to any men who attend Thursday night rehearsals between now and Aug. 27," Wadowick said. "Every time a man shows up, he will get a free ticket. Four Thursdays to earn free tickets."

The fund-raiser will help support the Heart of Dixie Chorus annual show, which will be March 2005.

"It's fun," he said of the 16-member a cappella chorus and its two Barbershop Quartets. "There's a lot of camaraderie between us … we have a shared interest in singing and, if you like to sing, you will have a lot of people around who share your interest."

Almost 50,000 barbershop singers belong to the Harmony Society, formerly known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.

The Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus was formed in 2001. "This is totally a cappella singing in four parts … lead, tenor, baritone and bass," Wadowick said. "It probably frightens people who wonder, 'how do they learn all those parts?' but if you like to sing, we can teach you the parts."

The Heart of Dixie chorus has given two annual shows featuring the Heart of Dixie Chorus plus its own "home-town" quartets, the Oddfellows Quartet, and the Dixie Cut-Ups, in addition to "out-of-town" feature quartets such as "TagTeam" from Tuscaloosa, "Loose Change" from Birmingham and the championship "Riptide"from Atlanta.

The barbershoppers have annually performed at Veteran's Day services at Centennial Park, and Veteran's Breakfasts.

They have sung regularly at local nursing homes, and have sung the National Anthem at

the Troy Sportsplex.

One of the favorite projects is its annual "Singing Valentines," which are offered to the public. The group also has sung Christmas carols for the Salvation Army's annual Christmas fund drive at Wal-Mart.

"After three years of excellent musical leadership under Dr. Peter Howard, the conducting duties will be turned over to John Wilson, a very experienced vocal conductor and keyboard performer," Wadowick said.

The

Sweet Adelines, a female companion to the Heart of Dixie Chorus, was formed nearly a year ago. It is under the direction of Catherine Allard and its members are also recruiting new singers, Wadowick said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus can contact Wadowick at 566-1664.