Seattle Shores Chorus Celebrates 57 Years of Harmony

Saturday, May 22, 2010

By Donna Heivilin

Seattle Shores Chorus of Sweet Adelines International recently celebrated their 57th year of making harmony. 

The chorus is still going strong, and I’d like to take you on a little journey through the history of Seattle Shores as told by Opal Hicks.

Opal Hicks, a charter member with the chorus, can tell you all about her start in singing a cappella 4-part harmony in Seattle. In March of 1951 Opal and her husband attended a barbershop show put on by the Seattle Men’s Chapter of SPEBSQSA. 

During intermission a woman by the name of Grace Doyle announced from the stage that a women’s singing group called Sweet Adelines was forming and all women were invited to attend. Opal’s husband told her to write down the phone number, which she did. She called the next Monday and found the women rehearsed on Tuesday. So Opal went Tuesday evening and found 6 to 8 women there. She decided to try the Baritone part and continues to sing it to this day.

In order for a chorus to charter with International, a group needed a Director and at least 12 active members. It took one and a half years to meet these requirements, but they actually chartered with 21 members. The charter was presented on May 4, 1953 by Dr. Sigmund Spaeth of New York City, noted musicologist and arranger of “Sweet Adeline” which was our official theme song for several years. At that time they officially became known as the Seattle Chapter of Sweet Adelines.

The chorus was busy with rehearsals, performances and competitions from 1953 to 1980. Soon after receiving their charter, Seattle Chapter was instrumental in assisting the formation of several other choruses throughout the area.

In 1980 it was decided that the Seattle Chorus and the Northshore Chorus would combine and become the Seattle Shores Chorus. At that time, International granted Seattle Shores Chorus the longevity of the Seattle Chorus. Still today we have members from both the original choruses singing with us.

In 1988 Seattle Shores went on to win the Regional competition which allowed them to go to Miami, Florida for the International competition. The chorus has continued to perform and bring their music to many great audiences. The most recent national event was in 2007 when we sang in Jamestown, Virginia for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

Today, under the direction of Judy Cooper-MacLaren, Seattle Shores Chorus is still going strong singing 4-part barbershop harmony for groups of all sizes and in all types of venues, including birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas programs for companies or businesses. We currently have about 35 members and can provide a smaller group or a quartet if needed. We can provide entertainment for a 15 minute show or up to a 45 minute program including everything from patriotic music to show tunes, love songs to lullabies. For more information send us an email or call 206-363-8987.

If you’re a woman who likes to sing at church, in the shower, or in the car, we invite you to attend one of our rehearsals to see what fun we have every week. We meet every Tuesday evening from 6:30 pm -9:30 pm at the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church, 14724-1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. You may contact Seattle Shores Chorus by phone 206-363-8987, or by email. Check out our website, and while you’re there read our quarterly newsletters to see what we’re doing and learn a little more about us.

Photos courtesy Seattle Shores


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