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A cappella chorus opens rehearsal tonight

Evening to welcome new singers of all ages

Harmony Fusion Chorus, an award-winning women's a cappella barbershop show chorus, will host a special open rehearsal night Monday (Sept. 26) to welcome new singers of all ages and backgrounds. The chorus was formerly Harmony Crossroads, based at Pleasanton Community Church.

"We are looking to add to our chorus of women who love to sing and are enthusiastic about performing, competing and improving their vocal skills," said membership chairwoman Joanne Morrison. "If you have a good ear for music, we want you."

"Sight-reading music is not required," she added. "We have many methods for learning our songs."

Harmony Fusion Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, is open to singers ages 14 and above. The chorus meets from 7-10 p.m. every Monday, except holidays.

"We welcome visitors to every rehearsal, but September is a good time to start with us as we begin preparing our holiday music and working on our contest song package for our annual regional competition in Reno next May," Morrison said.

The special rehearsal evening will begin with a "meet and greet" followed by vocal warm-ups when visitors are invited up on the risers among the chorus members. Visitors will learn to sing a "tag" -- the last two phrases of a song in true barbershop style -- and one of the holiday songs. Visitors who learn the holiday song are invited to perform with the chorus in its holiday concert Dec. 4 in Livermore.

"We want our visitors to experience what it's like to be one of us," board president Pat Cull said. "My first visit to Harmony Fusion was very much the same, as visitors were welcome to be on the risers and sing with the chorus.

"Everyone was so friendly, and the music was such fun to sing. I couldn't stop smiling and I haven't stopped smiling since," she continued.

Director Barbara Vander Putten, a Sweet Adelines certified director and member of the Sweet Adelines Region 12 coaching faculty, has directed Harmony Fusion Chorus since March 2006. Since then, the chorus has regularly earned medals at the annual Sweet Adelines regional contests.

Though the chorus works hard to continually improve its vocal and performance quality, it is much more than that, members say.

"A main element of our mission statement is to reach out to the community," Vander Putten explained. "Each year we try to include at least one youth group in our shows."

"We're very proud of our support and commitment to keep music and performance alive in schools and in the community," she added. "We also strive to expand the diversity of our chorus, reaching out to singers of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds."

Harmony Fusion has given its last two performances at Lynnewood United Methodist Church in Pleasanton and has performed at Stoneridge Creek.

Open rehearsal night is from 7-10 p.m. Monday at the Hill and Valley Women's Club, 1808 B St., Hayward, just off I-580. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Joanne Morrison at 373-0210.

To learn about the chorus, visit www.harmonyfusion.org.

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