In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument

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Sweet Adeline Quartet Champions

There's something special about the sound of ladies voices raised in harmony and the fun can be infectious. These ladies know how to have fun as witnessed at the annual Sweet Adeline conventions where the joy of singing, performing, and being with friends is everywhere. Here is a list of all the gold medal winners who are called, quite rightly, The Queens of Harmony.

Displaying 51 - 68 of 68 items.

1966 : The Piper-Ettes

The Piper-Ettes had been a performing quartet for ten years and had entered international competition three times prior to 1966, placing in the top ten each time. Finances nearly kept them from attending the 1966 convention in Houston but the hard work and generosity of their home choruses made the trip possible. All four sang with Seven Hills Chorus (Cincinnati, Ohio); Carolyn also directed the Dayton Chorus.

The four singers had come to an agreement that 1966 was to be their last try for gold medals. The day after their arrival in Houston for the competition, Ruth Doll came down with laryngitis, which allowed her to sing only two songs before becoming hoarse. The other quartet members nursed her through the three stages of competition with broth, throat spray and plenty of rest. The Piper-Ettes retired after their championship year but remained active Sweet Adelines with their chorus and other quartets.

1963 : The Heathertones

Organized in the fall of 1959, The Heathertones' first performance was at a Sweet Adelines regional meeting in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Within six months the group had won its regional contest and placed fifth at the international competition in Detroit. Two years later The Heathertones placed second at the international contest in Toronto, and finally, in 1963, won gold medals in Berkeley, California.

The quartet was able to make the trip to California through the generosity of their East Liverpool Chapter of Sweet Adelines (whose chapter show was a success and netted $500 for the quartet fund), the East Liverpool Chapter of SPEBSQSA, and Sweet Adelines' Region 14. The quartet retired in 1967.

1957 : Cracker Jills

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.

1953 : Big 4 Quartette

Billing themselves as '800 pounds of harmony,' Chillicothe, Illinois' Big Four became Sweet Adelines Quartette Champs in 1953. Fine singers and entertainers, they appeared on tv with Jack Paar, Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey and Dave Garraway of the 'Today Show' to name just a few. This CD is a remastered album they recorded in 1958, plus several cuts gleaned from live shows. The Big Four are Bertha Bradley, bass, Sarah LeMaster, baritone, Inez 'Junior' Thompson, lead, and Lucille Miller and Mary Waters sharing the tenor duties. There are 14 studio recordings and 7 electrifying live performances here. By the pound or by any other measure, this is Entertainment!

1948 : The Johnson Sisters

These four sisters grew up singing together and in 1939 entered their first barbershop contest - a men's contest in Chicago. They became famous in barbershopping circles, performing extensively, and were the first women's quartet to release a record album, just prior to their retirement in 1950. The Johnson Sisters placed second at the 1947 Sweet Adeline convention; they went home to Chicago and founded the Chicago #1 Chapter of Sweet Adelines. The quartet was named national champions at the second Sweet Adelines convention and competition in Topeka, Kansas, 1948. Their winning songs were Mandy and Me and Apple Blossom Time in Normandy.

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