Lincolnton resident Kristi Conner has been singing in barbershop style musical groups since she was a teen, and for the second consecutive year, sheâ€™s joining with fellow singers from internationally known womenâ€™s chorus the “Sweet Adelines” to bring Valentinesâ€™ cheer to local residents.
Four women, Teresa Skinner, Tera Rockett, Cathy Chauncy and Kristi Conner, comprise “Singsation,” a quartet of barbershop singers, who decided two years ago to branch off from their larger choral group, where they first met, to spread musical joy to a variety of willing audiences throughout their communities.
February 2011 was the first Valentineâ€™s Day “Singsation” performed “Singing Valentines” for the romantic holiday. Last year, performance locations included areas across Newton, Hickory and Conover, where the groupâ€™s based. This will be the first year the groupâ€™s reached out to Lincolnton, Rockett said.
Conner, a baritone, joined her momâ€™s “Sweet Adelines” choral group, “Queen Charlotte,” at the age of 18.
“I had listened to my mom sing barbershop since I was a kid,” she said.
“I was probably hearing barbershop in the wombâ€¦it was just a natural progression to sing. Good thing I can carry a tune.”
She noted that her favorite part of performing is satisfying her competitive streak as well as using her talent to produce joy on peopleâ€™s faces.
“Itâ€™s the gratification of using my talents to make someone smile or cry with tears of happiness,” Conner said.
Rockett admitted that she was hooked on barbershop style music from the first time she attended a “Sweet Adelines” rehearsal. While she initially attended the rehearsals for free vocal lessons, she soon had a change of heart. That was 13 years ago.
“I was hooked that first night and never looked back,” Rockett said. “Our unofficial motto is, â€˜We come for the music and stay for the friendshipsâ€™â€¦Some of my best friends are my singing buddies.”
“Singsation” performs four-part acapella harmony in the barbershop style, a genre that got its name after men used to hangout at their local barbershops and harmonize, Rockett said. While the genre is more commonly known as a musical style for men, that factor has yet to discourage the women.
“We like to joke that the men started it, but the women perfected it,” Rockett said.
“Singsation” will sing for any occasion and audience including nursing and retirement homes, business offices, restaurants and residences, among other places.
For under $50, the group offers a “Singing Valentine” comprised of two romantic numbers, “Cuddle Up a Little Closer,” a 1920s tune, and Elvis Presleyâ€™s “I Canâ€™t Help Falling in Love With You.” They also give each of their audience members a card as well as roses for the females and chocolates for the males.
“Sweet Adelines” was founded in 1945. The equivalent menâ€™s group is named “Barbershop Harmony Society.”
“I love to spread the message music brings,” Conner said. “You never know how your singing might touch somebodyâ€™s heart, whether youâ€™re singing a love song or gospel song.”
For more information on “Singing Valentines” or to place an order, contact Tera Rockett at (828) 465-1506 or (828) 244-7330.