Deliver a 'Singing Valentine' for the holiday

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Tue., Jan. 28, 2014
Contributed
A quartet composed of (l-r): Judy Weinstein, Marion Devokaitis, Gloria Stalph and Sue Mimnaugh delivers a Singing Valentine. Contributed photo. - Contributed Photo

This Valentine’s Day, let the Sound of New England Chorus deliver your heartfelt message with a song. On Friday, Feb. 14, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Sound of New England Chorus, an award-winning chapter of Sweet Adelines International, will send quartets on the road throughout Greater Hartford and surrounding towns to deliver “Singing Valentines” – a cappella musical messages of love and friendship. They will travel to offices, private residences (9 a.m.-6 p.m. only), schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, restaurants and hospitals, singing to spouses, parents, friends, children, even bosses.

“We’ll go anywhere, virtually anywhere you want us to go,” said organizer Jen Ludgin. “Most people are very surprised. A few are embarrassed. But we always get tremendous feedback,” said Ludgin.

Sounds of New England Director Marion Devokaitis has been singing in Valentine quartets for nearly 20 years. “It is so much fun,” she said. Some quartets are already-established groups, while others get together just for the event. They learn a repertoire of five different songs, from which they choose based on the situation. This year, six quartets will spend the entirety of Valentine’s Day delivering an estimated 80 to 100 messages.

“It is the coolest thing to see the reaction of people when they see four women dressed similarly walking through the halls,” said Devokaitis. Often the quartets will pick up a following as they head toward their destination. “Kind of like the Pied Piper,” said Devokaitis, with a laugh. “The funniest thing is when we’re in offices with cubicles. You’ll see all these heads pop up all over the room as we perform.”

The best thing about the event, said Devokaitis, is to see the reactions of the recipients. “We are in this business to entertain people, to make them really feel great,” she said. “We take them away from everything else in the world and make things beautiful for a few minutes.”

Pricing starts at $40 for two songs, a personalized card, a small gift, and a photo. Or, send one song by phone anywhere in the U.S. for $20. Order by Feb. 9, by calling 1-877-LUV-2-SING ext. 5, or email Valentines@SoundofNewEngland.org. A portion of the proceeds will benefit a local charity in the Greater Hartford area.

The Sound of New England Chorus is a non-profit, award-winning Sweet Adelines chorus that fosters a cappella barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance. The chorus is based in West Hartford, and rehearses every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Saint Mary Home on Steele Road.  Visit the website www.SoundofNewEngland.org for more information.


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