In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Considered one of the best examples of a barbershop quartet ever produced by Sweet Adelines, The Cracker Jills brought to the stage a distinctive sound, credited in large part to Renee Limburg Craig's experience as a professional pop singer and to the sheer musicality of the foursome. They continued to thrill audiences until their retirement in 1967, marked by a one-quartet show at the Philadelphia Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA.
The quartet members distinguished themselves in other ways as well: Judy Rowell served as Sweet Adelines' international president, 1964-66; Renee Craig (who began singing on the radio at the age of 3) was named to Sweet Adelines' original musical arrangements committee, which secured publication of the first women's barbershop arrangements and developed a program of arranger education. A prolific composer and arranger as well, Renee directed Ramapo Valley Chorus (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey) to three international championships, and was a founding member of The Coronet Club (the association of international champion quartet members), serving for many years as its musical director.
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Review: The Cracker Jills were superstars! There, we've said it. There have been a few others in the Sweet Adelines of similar stature but since they won the Sweet Adeline International Championship in 1957 (now the winners are called Queens of Harmony) and went on to sing together for another twenty years they have been considered the most influential group in defining the world of women in barbershop singing. Most prominent in this influence is their arranger and lead singer, Renee Craig whose name you will see in the arranger's credits on almost every Sweet Adeline album. She has also been the director of the Ramapo Valley Sweet Adeline Chorus which won four Championships and now is the director of the Westchester Chordsmen. But, you ask, how about the music? Here are historic recordings of 26 of the best tunes you'll ever hear!