The Harmony on the Sound Chorus is a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. It is part of the North Atlantic Region #1, which includes all of New England, and Canadian Maritimes. The chorus was founded in 1964 by a group of women who wanted to get together to sing and socialize. Two years later in 1966, they took the next step and applied to Sweet Adelines for a Charter under the name Stamford YankeeMaid Chorus. In 1999 the chorus filed for a business license with the State of Connecticut and began operating under the name YankeeMaid Chorus, Inc. Now operating as Harmony on the Sound Chorus, Inc., it is a non-profit corporation.
Sweet Adelines International, a non-profit music education organization for women, was founded on July 13, 1945, when Edna Mae Anderson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought a few women together in her home. The group was named Sweet Adelines on August 13th. Today the organization has approximately 25,000 members in more than 600 chapters in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and six countries in Europe. The mission of the organization is to advance the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performance. An important part of Sweet Adelines International is the yearly competitions that occur at the regional and international levels. They are an effective way to hone the musical and performance skills of choruses and quartets. Members look forward to the gatherings because they get to take part in friendly competition, and they get to catch up with acquaintances from other choruses.
In keeping with the mission of Sweet Adelines, Harmony on the Sound is very involved in competition. The Chorus has won the Region #1 Chorus Championship multiple times and has competed internationally in London, Washington DC, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale, Reno, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando, Indianapolis, Honolulu, Denver and Las Vegas. In order to stay at the top level, the members continuously work on their vocal abilities both in and out of rehearsal. They also continue their education by attending regional educational conferences twice a year.
Harmony on the Sound is currently under the direction of Master Director Karen Sweeters, who is also a certified Sweet Adelines International judge in the category of Expression. The competitions are judged in three other categories as well – Music, Sound and Showmanship with each quartet and chorus singing two songs. Each of the four judges awards each song a score, with a maximum of 100 per song or 800 total. The number score is acquainted to a letter level. Karen is the fourth director to lead the chorus over the years. With her vision and leadership, it has risen to “A-level” status and is therefore in a position to be very competitive at the international level.
The original purpose for which Sweet Adelines was organized in 1945 was educational, to teach and train its members in musical harmony and appreciation. One goal was to “create and promote barbershop quartets and other musical groups”; another goal was to give musicals. . .public and private performances for. . .learning and general appreciation of all the things pertaining to music.” The chorus remains true to the original goals of the parent organization by reaching out to the community through performances, and by sharing their knowledge of the art form by providing free music and voice lessons to members and guests.
Ranging in age from approximately 25 to 88, the HOTS chorus members find participation in the chorus to be tons of fun, not only because of the thrill of singing close harmony, but also because of the opportunity to “strut their stuff” in front of the many appreciative audiences. The chorus performs several times a year for local organizations. It also puts on a yearly show as its major fundraiser. The unique style of the chorus lends itself to creating original musical plays written by the members. These programs have humorous themes that tie together the many songs performed.
There are several active quartets, as well as a small group within the chorus. The quartets get together and practice their craft on their own as they prepare to represent the chorus in competition and performances. Any of these small formations can appear at nursing homes and any other area organization to entertain at parties, luncheons and meetings. These small ensembles are either hired directly, or assigned to the performance by the chorus Performance Manager.