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Sunday, Aug 20, 2017

Harmony, sisterhood bond chorus singers

Back when the South Shore Sound was meeting in Sun City Center, Linda Verzosa stepped aboard to sing with the group known for its celebration of barbershop music, rising into the ranks of the directorship shortly after.

Today, she remains as director of the group, now known as the Southern Company Chorus, which meets Monday nights at Bell Shoals Church of Christ on Bell Shoals Road in Brandon.

As a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, the chorus is part of a worldwide effort, established in 1945, that is committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances.

At one recent performance — at the fifth annual Holiday Tea at Center Place on Dec. 6 — Verzosa described the music that has captured her heart, talents and effort for more than a quarter century.

“If it’s sung well, it will produce overtones that absolutely can’t be matched by any other instrument,” said Verzosa, about a cappella barbershop harmony. “The voice is the only instrument that can do it.”

The group meets Mondays at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall at the church, at 2908 Bell Shoals Road. New members are always welcome.

“Anybody can join. Women, that’s the only restriction,” Verzosa said. “Any age, any vocal level, beginner or experienced.”

Cookie Hallner said she started singing with the group back when it took root in Sun City Center. She remains with the group for artistic and personal reasons.

“We are a fun group and we’re lively,” said Hallner, who traces her love for singing back to her childhood in the ’30s, when her father, a tenor, sang professionally on the radio. “We’re like a big sisterhood. We’re like singing sisters, which makes it so much fun.”

The invitation is open “to anyone who likes to sing,” Hallner added. “You don’t have to be a great singer. You just have to love to sing and we’ll take it from there.”

Pat Worthington is a member of the chorus and an active volunteer with Center Place, which is how the chorus landed its Holiday Tea gig.

“I sang all through high school and college,” she said. “I knew what singing groups could be and I didn’t know I’d love the Southern Company Chorus that much. When I’ve been singing with them, I leave having a good feeling about myself.”

For more, visit www .southerncompanychorus .org. For membership information, call Nancy Graue at (813) 545-9815.

Freelance writer Linda Chion Kenney can be reached at lindachionk enney@gmail.com.

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