Love songs in four-part harmony

Red Deer’s Wild Rose Harmonizers prepare for Valentine’s Day

The Wild Rose Harmonizers are ready to serenade unexpected central Albertans from the traditional barbershop harmony songbook on Valentine’s Day.

“We have tried to get some more modern songs in our repertoire, but modern songs in our repertoire would be say songs from the 1950s or 1960s,” said Wild Rose president David Crozier-Smith with a laugh.

“We don’t do rap. Generally, the songs we do are the oldtime barbershop love songs. Those seem to be the most popular.”

Wild Rose quartets have been belting out love songs in February since the group began in the mid-1950s.

A quartet will visit a loved one’s home, workplace, or just about any other location to deliver singing valentines.

“Sometimes, it’s a family that asks us to go in and sing to their parents in a seniors lodge. We’ve had students ask us to go into the school and do a singing valentine for a teacher. They just love that when we can embarrass their teacher with a love song.”

He said reactions from the intended targets vary.

“Sometimes, they are very surprised. Sometimes, there’s an awful lot of emotion. Very often, we’ll see tears in their eyes. Very often, we’ll see expressions of delight and happiness on their faces.

“A singing valentine is a very unique way to show your appreciation to someone and tell someone them that you do love them.”

Wild Rose treasurer Fran Lavoie said quartets often sing to men too.

“Sometimes, it’s meant to be bit of a shock to the husband. The husband can be uncomfortable, and doesn’t want us to stay too long. Those are good,” Lavoie said.

Two Wild Rose quartets are prepared for Thursday. Last year, about 20 singing valentines were performed.

During the rest of the year, Wild Rose Harmonizers can be booked to sing in the community at Christmas, for anniversaries or birthdays, to perform for service clubs, at hospital, or elsewhere.

Lavoie said Edmonton and Calgary have similar barbershop groups, but they no longer travel their communities to sing valentines.

Crozier-Smith said Red Deer continues the tradition because it’s fun.

“We do it for enjoyment. We sing because we enjoy singing, and we sing because of the enjoyment it brings those we sing to,” Crozier-Smith said.

Wild Rose Harmonizers have about 17 singers, including some younger members. For more information, visit http://www.harmonizers.ca.

“We’re always looking for new members. It’s great fellowship. We meet once a week,” Lavoie said.

Singing valentines include two love songs, a flower and a picture of the event. The cost is $40 in Red Deer and $50 outside the city.

Singing valentines must be booked by Tuesday by calling Crozier-Smith at 403-342-1318 or Lavoie at 403-347-0436.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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