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Harmony Fusion Chorus
River Lights Chorus
Mission Valley
Sacramento Valley Chorus
Diablo Vista Chorus
Oregon Spirit Chorus
Pacific Empire
Bay Area Showcase
Mendo Lake Singers

Wake-Up with Dede/Vocal Warmups

Rehearsal Guidance


A Virtual Success!

Yes, it is possible, thanks to great teamwork! On Oct. 26, we welcomed 11 guests to our first-ever “virtual” open house rehearsal night, as part of SAI’s Global Virtual Open House month. Even with the pandemic keeping us separated, with the assistance of technology and the hard work of chorus members and our director Barb Vander Putten, we had one of the most successful guest nights in recent years.

“It was fun seeing members from years ago, past guests, and members of other choruses,” said Barb, “but especially some new faces who wanted to check us out. I think we gave them a positive experience – considering the COVID circumstances - by doing a fun, varied rehearsal, complete with teaching a tag and a physical warm up doing the Cupid Shuffle led by Paula Kato.”

Planning for the event began in September when SAI announced the Global Virtual Open House campaign.  Members of the Guest Night Committee pulled together the technical and musical logistics and set the agenda, and the details were promoted via press releases to local media, social media and emailed to friends and family. 

“The publicity and personal outreach by members really paid off,” said Paula.  “The committee members in charge of managing the Zoom meeting did a fantastic job, setting up the breakout rooms to welcome guests and conduct virtual voice placements and sectional work.  Barb’s agenda made it a fun night. And it appeared there were several people interested in returning and learning our new holiday songs.”

“It was wonderful to see singers new to BBS have such a fun time,” said Harriett Feltman. “We love providing a way for people who love to sing the opportunity to do so, especially now.”

The event was a success in more ways than one. Not only did we introduce new singers to the chorus, but it provided a great learning experience for future virtual guest nights - that is, until we can be together again and welcome guests in person.

This month River Lights Chorus welcomed our new member Samantha Ross! We are so happy that she has joined us! 

Since we cannot have our normal fundraiser Tea this year, we are going to have an online auction. You can find the auction information/link beginning on Nov. 7 on our website The auction will end on Nov. 20. RLC will have a drive thru parking lot event for the winners to pick up their items on Nov. 21 from 2-4pm at 617 Orangeburg Avenue in Modesto. Feel free to drop in and say hi! And, yes, masks are required.

In October we recorded a tag for the Barbershop Tag competition. The tag we chose was Frankenstein. Everyone dressed up in costume and sang with a lot of enthusiasm. We had a lot of fun learning the four parts and recording the tag.
Still waiting for the crisp fall weather to arrive? We are, too. Here's hoping that by the time you read this, you'll have a hot chocolate with marshmallows to warm your hands and taste buds. Cheers!

We started off October celebrating Angela's 65th birthday! We sent flowers, balloons and bundt cakes to her home and then surprised her by joining in the fun at her very own surprise party. Thanks to Harriett Feltman for organizing this fun event, Vicki Bannerman for her emcee work, and Randy Sahae for creating a video of Angela's life throughout the Bay Area and at Mission Valley. Words can't describe the fun we had, so here is the link to Angela's Birthday Celebration. Enjoy!!

Our Guest Program came to an end on the 27th, and we had a special graduation ceremony in honor of our 19 guests. It was a pleasure to get to know so many guests from around the country and to have them sing with us and participate in the videos for our Jingle Bell Tea performance. This was truly a special guest program that welcomed singers from points afar.
We are pleased to announce that Melanie Schmucker is joining MVC as a dual member with Harmony Fusion Chorus. She has a great positive attitude, has a knack for learning music, and will be a great addition to our bass section. Her big sister will be Nina Steinberg. A hearty welcome to you, Melanie!!

This week, among our October anniversaries, Jackie Bishop celebrated 62 years with Mission Valley Chorus. Jackie is one of the 12 charter members who started our chorus in 1958. Happy Anniversary, Jackie!!!

We enjoyed two author chats this month. The first author was prolific mystery writer J.A. Jance, who captivated us with not only some of her true-life stories and how they led to her books but also with how music has been so important throughout her life.  She has felt a connection to Sweet Adelines ever since she visited Seattle during an International, and she heard singing everywhere.  (Don’t we know it!) She surprised us by writing about our chat in her blog the following week.  During our second chat we learned about the power of journaling from Catharine Bramkamp.  We channeled that power during a 10-minute writing exercise and discussion. On November 2nd, we had Elizabeth Letts join us for our Author Chat. She is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty Dollar Champion, Finding Dorothy, and the Perfect Horse. 

Last but not least, we had a great Halloween party this year created by Harriett Feltman. There was a costume contest, spooky stories, scavenger hunt and lots and lots of candy, to boot! Mission Valley really knows how to throw a party!
SACRAMENTO VALLEY CHORUS had a very fun month in October. We had our Monday-Thursday 9:30 am-10:00 am "Wakeup With Dede" classes, where you can do warmup exercises and check in with the rest of the world. We enjoy the extra variety we get in these vocal exercises that we don't always have time for during our normal Wednesday night Zoom rehearsals. The theme for November is "Songs of Thanks and Friends". 

This month we had a special guest visitor Deke Sharon at our October 7th Zoom rehearsal. Deke believes that our audiences deserve an honest performance which conveys the song's true message. If you are interested in what Deke Sharon had to say about the Future of BBS watch the attached YouTube.
Our book club meets once a month, organized by Loring Church. She has a knack for picking out books that interest most everyone. Our next book club meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2020, at noon, to discuss the book "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman. Join us!
Our sewing circle gets together the first Monday of every month to have a Zoom coffee and share new projects. It’s one more way to stay connected with our chorus buddies.
We held our membership guest night on Wednesday, October 28th at our Zoomtastic, Halloween-themed rehearsal. Ten wonderful guests joined us! We wore costumes, sang, and even did choreography to "You've Got A Friend In Me" and "Thriller". Dede taught everyone the tag to the "Mickey Mouse Song," and then costume awards were given out by our very own supreme costume judge, Donna Spitzer. The following winners were selected for demonstrating wonderful creativity:

Most VIVACIOUS - Marty Pacini
Most SEXY - guest Suzanne Lane
Best WALKING DEAD – Bonnie Flint
CUTEST - Piet Chini
SCARIEST - Carol Wharton


Testimonials from members Mary Rheling and Merriann Cree rounded out the evening regarding what it truly means to be a part of this wonderful women's singing organization. Onward to the holidays! 
Happy fall, Region 12! We might once have thought that, as singers, meeting virtually meant we’d be less busy—not so for DVC! Here are some of our favorite moments of being “together while apart” in October:
  • We released our first virtual chorus video, “Almost There.” Not only was this a fun throwback to New Orleans, it was also a chance to put some happy in our friends’ Facebook feeds as well as a reminder that we’re getting closer and closer, every day, to being all together again.
  • We honored Caitlin’s 5-year anniversary as director of DVC. The celebration included flower delivery, a digital anniversary card, and a Ryan Heller Zoom-bomb!
  • We savored a stellar class with Kim Vaughn, who provided tools we can use right now, at home, to help improve our sound score when we finally return to the contest stage.
  • Raggedy Ann, a hammerhead shark, and other characters showed up for a Halloween-themed rehearsal. They enjoyed spooky warm-ups, a Halloween tag, and prizes for the best costumes.
We’re now recording our second virtual chorus video, keeping our repertoire fresh, and looking forward to a visit from Jana Gutenson in December. Our proverbial door is always open - come join us sometime!
Oregon Spirit Chorus (OSC) is celebrating 15 years of singing together this month!  What started out as a one-time Christmas Chorus in 2005 is all about the music and personal friendships; in fact, we’ve welcomed five new members in the past 6 months!  We’ve had lots of exciting things happening recently.
  • We recently won 1st Place for the 2020 Best of Mid-Willamette Valley in the Live Music category. What an honor for OSC and a great way to celebrate our 15th anniversary!
  • We were awarded a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust. This money will help the chorus allow us the ability to sing together again safely by using the money to purchase safety supplies like HEPA air purifiers, medical grade masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, face shields, touchless thermometers, and sanitizing wipes. The Healthy Harmonies team will ensure that OSC follows CDC and Oregon state guidelines for indoor gatherings. This includes a waiver that each member will sign and a health questionnaire (if they are comfortable getting together in person).
  • We received another grant from the Oregon Arts Commission which will be used to purchase an upgraded sound system, a new video camera and tripod, and a few other pieces of equipment.  This is tremendously helpful for our plans when we are once again together.
  • We just released our first virtual chorus video, featuring the tag from “Somewhere Out There”.  We are looking forward to doing our next project with a fun parody called “Amazon’s Sweetheart”.  And we’re also sharing our music with the community via virtual performances of:  Star-Spangled Banner, The Parting Glass, and Happy Holiday. 
WOO-HOO!   Great things are happening at Oregon Spirit Chorus and we can’t wait to see what happens next!
The grapes have all been picked or left on the vine because of their lingering taint of smoke. The leaves and trees are turning beautiful Fall colors and it looks like the fire season is winding down for 2020. Whew!

For Pacific Empire, October was the month we were supposed to travel to Louisville, Kentucky and compete at the 75 th Anniversary Sweet Adelines International Competition. We had some fun and spent contest week rehearsal talking about what it would have been like on stage, especially for our new members who haven’t been on the International stage yet.

Many of us tuned in and watched all the fabulous performances at the Virtual 75 th Anniversary on the first weekend. Congrats to our friend and Coach Sandy Marron for her chorus, Lions Gate, and their featured finals performance. And then on the following weekend we really enjoyed watching the Virtual Coronet Club Show “First You Dream” and looking for our beautiful Patty singing with the Queens. What an appropriate Show theme for 2020 - we all know that someday we will get to sing together again, but for now, first we dream.

PEC is thinking about what’s in our future. We have our big Crab Feed that we annually have in February. The wheels are churning in the brains of our committee, and they are looking at lots of options for Crab Feed 2021. There will be more to come next month. We have dreams of getting together in parking lots and trying small sectionals outdoors with masks; we are getting motivated to sing. We have decided to work on a virtual recording and video of one of our songs. Members are recording on audio and video, Section Leaders are approving notes and words, and videographer Andi is syncing silent videos and laying over the audio voices. So much work ahead, but there will be satisfaction when it’s finished. In celebration of virtual recordings, we are proud to share below all the links to the virtual choirs our members have participated in this year during Shelter in Place. Enjoy.  
BHS Workshop with Deke Sharon - Still the One
BHS Workshop with Deke Sharon - Frozen II
You Will Be Found track on the new Voctave Album, The Corner of Broadway & Mainstreet Vol. 2
(sorry, you have to download this one)
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently
World Singing Day
PEC had a blast with our October Coaching Educator, Ryan Heller. He helped us see where we are, (or where we were in March, since we are currently in a holding pattern, lol.) and then what we need to do to get where we want to go next. We learned new ways to connect with our audience, and we can’t wait to try them.

October came to an end with a fun Halloween Rehearsal with costumes for all. So thankful we are able to gather each week, be silly, and check in with each other while keeping the singing alive.
Welcome, November. We're approaching the holiday season. October was chock full of  excitement for BASC, with a successful guest program as well as a coaching visit from Ryan Heller. We have started practicing holiday music, and we are working on virtual holiday cards from the chorus as well as several quartets.

At our guest night on October 8, we had 21 guests! Some came through MeetUp and NextDoor, and some came from word of mouth. We even had several guests from a prospective chorus from the Big Island of Hawaii.  Our Membership Coordinator assigned a riser buddy to each guest so that questions could be answered through private Zoom chat. We shared our virtual performance of Brand New Shoes, linked below, to demonstrate what is possible while we shelter  in place. We also did physical and vocal warmups, and Julie taught everyone a new tag while incorporating some information about what barbershop singing is all about. We have had many guests return, with a couple of them already working toward membership.

The rehearsals in the following weeks were busy. They included finishing up choreography review for Brand New Shoes as well as starting holiday music. We were treated to a performance created in the Acapella app by one of our quartets, Shout, Sister, Shout! For our Halloween rehearsal, many members dressed in costume or used Zoom's video filters to create fun characters. Ryan Heller came and provided a great coaching session which focused on characterization. He shared a number of different performances that were excellent examples of character presentation while singing.

Our weekday morning coffee talks continue, hosted by our Events Coordinator and helping to keep us connected with one another. This month's Zoom social gathering was a Halloween party on Halloween. It was an enjoyable time where people shared their costumes and showed off their decorations as well. Our virtual holiday card project is in full swing. We will be doing a chorus holiday card that we will send out to our mailing list. In addition, ten quartets are participating, many of them never having sung with one another in real life! They are creating their own virtual holiday cards, and audio submissions have already been provided to our production team. We are excited to see this project come to fruition. We hope to be able to share the spirit of the holidays with our music.

We are grateful that we are able to continue being connected to one another. Sending you all happy Thanksgiving greetings!
Mendo-Lake Chorus is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year!  Still in the chorus are mother-daughter duo Betty Lou Surber and Pam Klier, charter members since 1980.  Betty Lou, age 89, has been Chapter President and Treasurer several times during the past 40 years as well as baritone section leader until about a year ago when health issues required her to become a non-singing member.  Pam, age never-you-mind, has been Chapter Secretary, President, and Assistant Director until becoming Director in 2008.

This tiny chorus in rural Lake County in Northern California chartered as the Clear Lake Chapter in 1980, later changing its name to Mendo-Lake Chapter in recognition of members from neighboring Mendocino County.  For most of its history, chorus membership has been 20 or less, but over 120 members have been able to share the joy of singing barbershop harmony Sweet Adeline style during the past 40 years.  Directors David Leeder (1979-1980), Sharon Dalen (1980-1982), Ralph Schroeder (1982-1983), Elaine Neasham (1984-1990), George Pitcher (1992-1998), Molly Schultz (1999-2007), and Pam Klier (2008-present) have provided musical leadership.

Rehearsing remotely over Zoom has enabled our chorus members to stay connected and sing “alone but together” during the past months of the COVID-19 restrictions.  We’re looking forward to our 40th Anniversary celebration on November 17, on Zoom of course, where we will share memories, photos, and songs with former and current members.  

Here’s proof that both Betty Lou and Pam, now proudly silver-haired, were natural brunettes back in the day….. First Competition in 1982:  Betty Lou front row far right, Pam third row far right

 And almost 40 years later …..  2016 Competition:  Betty Lou front row far left, Pam front row far right
Tue, Nov 17                           7:30 pm              MVC - Coaching with Titanium!! Zoom meeting - contact for details
Sun, Nov 22  4:00 pm      RMT Meeting Virtual Event
Wed, Dec 2  7:00 pm MVC Author Chat: Bill Zarchy via Zoom Zoom
Sat, Dec 5  2:00 pm MVC - 14th Annual Jingle Bell Tea - Virtual Virtual
Tue, Dec 15  8:00 pm MVC - Coaching with Nikki Blackmer Zoom


The schedule for November will be from Nov 2 thru Nov 19 -
No classes Thanksgiving Week

Handout for the November: Songs of Thanks and Friends

 To join the class please 
or log-in to the members-only section of the Region 12 website to open: 
Wake Up with Dede - Vocal Warmups - log-in info.

The month of October has seen Sweet Adelines across the world connect through many virtual events the Virtual Convention, Virtual Global Open House events and a host of regional activities. The creativity and resilience of our members is truly inspiring!

As cities, states, regions, and countries are in various phases of reopening and restrictions, we know there are many questions regarding rehearsals and gatherings. First, all SA-affiliated groups should keep in mind that choral singing is one of the most risky activities in which an individual can engage, currently. The top priority of Sweet Adelines International is the health and safety of all singers. Here is an article regarding an outbreak at an in-person chorus rehearsal. Though the rehearsal in the article occurred before distancing and other precautions were common, there have since been gatherings where outbreaks occurred despite strict precautions.

During the past several months, we have added many new resources to the Education section of the website, including Virtual Rehearsal Resources. We have seen many choruses take advantage of the accessibility to new coaches, faculty, and resources to keep their chorus or quartets engaged and singing. We continue to develop exciting plans for the upcoming year and look forward to sharing them with you.

Please continue to follow your state or country guidelines about when your local authorities say you can gather again, and put strict mitigation practices in place to avoid risk and protect all members.

Below are some additional resources:

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at

Thank you,

Valerie Renz
Director of Membership
Sweet Adelines International
9110 S Toledo Ave
Regional Video Librarian Review: Written by Harriett Feltman, Regional Video Librarian 

“Everyone is a Leader”: Paula Davis, Summer AIM 2019
*Video available on Region 12 Website
Have you ever thought of yourself as a “leader?” For many of us, it never enters our mind to take on a leadership role. But, if you attended Paula Davis’s class at the 2019 Summer AIM event, you would know we all have leadership capabilities. We are all leaders, whether we realize it or not. Leaders have a vision for the future, the passion to achieve it as well as the specific skills to use for the “good of the chorus order.”
Paula outlined 4 basic characteristics of a good leader, all of which we share:
A: A good leader is “able,” competent in her role with the right skill set to get the specifics of her job done.
B: She is “believable,” those whom she leads believe/know that they can rely on her skills.
C: She has a “connection” to those she leads: she is approachable, respects the views of others even if she doesn’t agree, she has empathy and sympathy with the women with whom she works and is easy to work with, and she shows trust in those she leads.
D: A good leader is dependable; those working with her know she’s reliable and will follow through every time.
Paula made it clear that as leaders, we all start from where we are at the time; maybe you’re a leader on the risers, maybe your skill set lends itself to administrative issues, or you have a great eye for color, and costuming is your strong suit. Identify your skills and interests, have courage when sharing with members that share your same interests, and invite them to share with you. In the process, you’ll come to realize your leadership role.

Laura Bode provided the following testimonial:

Given that these bypass your ears, they have many uses:
  • Workaround to hearing aids that still allows you to hear through the hearing aids, but also hear your music
  • My dad, who is mostly deaf, can now talk on the phone through the Bluetooth connection to his cell phone
  • When you are out walking, running or biking, you can have them on to listen to music while still being aware of your environment
  • I also use them during my voice lessons so I can hear pitch and the exercises but can also hear my coach
  • Final benefit- I can feel an electronic pitch to start singing - I can't generally relate to an electronic pitch, but when I hit it on my cell phone I feel it in my head and can match it more easily

Facebook is an excellent way to reach out to your audience. Be sure to post weekly. It can be a recap of your latest rehearsal, the announcement of an upcoming event or share a related musical meme.

Pacific Shores Region 12 has two Facebook pages:

Piet Chini - Communications
Kathy Scheel - Directors
Alison Miller - Education
Mary Mamer - Events
Geri Miller-Reidel - Finance
Kevran Day - Marketing

Lynda CasillasMembership
Birgit Andersen - Team Coordinator

RMT email:

Pacific Shores Region 12 Chapters
Link to Region 12 Chorus Webpage
Map of Region 12 Chapters - Links to Chapter websites 
Found on under GROUPS>CHORUSES


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