ETCETERA - Women's barbershop group entertains in harmony

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Doing "Along Came Jones," WWCC theater arts instructor Kevin Loomer was "definitely a highlight of the show. Our guest performers were all outstanding. The WWCC Performing Arts Theater is an intimate setting, allowing the performers a chance to really connect with the audience, which leads to a high sense of energy for all. We've already reserved the theater for a fall show," Darlene said.

The chorus performed a variety of choreographed numbers, aided by longtime backstage crewmen Bill Loney and Pete Holm. Rich Hinz served as stage manager, Denise Marr was WWCC liaison and "WWCC stage wizard Jeff Shaffer made sure everything went smoothly," Darlene added.

Guest performers Kate Christianson and Kevin, accompanied by pianist extraordinaire George Kovach, "were the glue, tying things together with dialogue between numbers. Their bantering duets were fun and solo numbers full of energy."

Contributing performances by City Clicker Cloggers, Steppin' Country Line Dancers, C Street trio and 10-year-old vocalist Katie Cooke "brought the audience to cheers and tears," Darlene recalled. "With the Blueprint quartet and Chorus, it made for a special evening."

Since then, "many people have stopped Chorus members on the street to say how much they enjoyed this show," Darlene said. Members are already working on new music for their 2011 fall show under the direction of Andi Flores and dance moves choreographed by Tracey Goebel.

Show proceeds go into regular Chorus funds to be used for director fees and education, member education and to purchase new music.

In 1992, Sweet Adelines International created a Young Singers Foundation to enrich the lives of young people by supporting vocal music programs and education through its grant program. The Foundation offers scholarships for male and female vocal music students and grants for community vocal music activities.

Additionally, the Young Women in Harmony program offers music educators a means of including the study and performance of barbershop harmony in school music programs. It provides materials, training and performance opportunities for young women and to foster appreciation for the American art form of barbershop harmony.

Free educator kits are provided to music instructors. More information is available at www.sweetadelinesintl.org . Young women are also encouraged to visit the local chorus

Thirty-five children from kindergarten through sixth grade participated in the 11/2-hour long Walla Walla High School Blue Devil Youth Dance Camp Jan. 22 in the Wa-Hi small gym.

Wa-Hi Dance Team coach Abigail "Abby" Muro, director of TRiO/Educational Talent Search at Walla Walla Community College, said 12 of her dancers worked with the kids.

The $25 fee included a T-shirt and free pass for the basketball game that night. Parents and family members were invited to watch the children perform during halftime of the boys varsity basketball game at 7:30 p.m.

The dance camp had many benefits, Abby said. Divided into groups, the kids were led by Wa-Hi dancers to get to know each other, then they went through a typical warmup that the dancers do prior to performances and competition.

The kids learned many of the skills the dance team uses in its routines. Two groups were then formed using beginner and seasoned dancers and they learned the dance they would perform that night.

The dance team also showed the kids the styles of dance they do, from jazz to hip hop.

The dance team, which had to earn all of the funds it needed this school year, made $700, all of which went straight to the team account to be used for expenses, most notably, state competition on March 26.

The dance team is having an excellent year. My colleague, Editorial Page Editor Rick Eskil, whose daughter Emma is on the team, said the Wa-Hi girls earned first place in their first competition Jan. 15 at Sunnyside. Richland High School placed second and Hanford High came in third.

The next regular competition will be Feb. 12 at Kamiakin High School.

Vickie Hamann, Patty Hazelwood and Joanna Lanning, who comprise The Poultry Plungers, dove in with gusto during the 2011 Polar Plunge Jan. 22 in Kennewick.

Organized by law enforcement agencies throughout Washington state, The Polar Plunge raises funds to benefit Special Olympics Washington. Participants collect pledges and plunge into seven frigid water locations across Washington, Joanna said.

All proceeds collected by plungers benefit the local Special Olympics Washington programs and help further its mission.

Each individual must raise a minimum of $50 to participate, she said

Folks with the Kennewick Police Department organized the Columbia Park Polar Plunge. This year approximately 370 people dipped into the 38-degree Columbia River off the park's boat dock.

"The efforts of these plungers raised more than $77,000," Joanna said. Last year, 270 plungers raised $38,000 at the same event. For the second consecutive year KPD raised the most money for Special Olympics statewide and 75 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to local programs.

"This was one of the most awesome things I have ever been a part of. All three of us had a great time in our chicken outfits," Joanna recalled.

"We came up with this idea because on the registration sheet ... you checked whether you were a plunger or a chicken. Chickens raise money like the plungers but they don't take the daring dip. We appreciate all who supported us."

The Poultry Plungers raised $1,000-plus. Next year they hope to scare up more plungers for the team and raise considerably more money. "We'll come cheeping for your change."

At Waitsburg High School, Patty is a special education teacher and Vickie is a special education paraprofessional. Joanna helps coach local Special Olympics track athletes.

Walla Walla Valley Soroptimists International awarded $1,400 in 2011 scholarships to four recipients.

Kelly Wilson received the Women's Opportunity Award. It assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects. Kelly is working on a bachelor's in social sciences with an emphasis on child and criminal psychology at Washington State University. She hopes to work at the Juvenile Justice Center in Walla Walla after graduation.

The Violet Richardson Award went to Nicole Aichele. It honors girls who are making a difference through volunteer service. Nicole volunteers with Riata & Rowels 4-H Club, is secretary for her Associated Student Body and with Future Farmers of America. She and a friend recently hosted a fundraiser for the Meza family, who suffered the death of one child and the loss of their home in a devastating fire in November.

Kelly's and Nicole's names will be submitted for a regional Soroptimist Award, according to member Cora Davidson.

Holly Howard received the Ruby Award, which acknowledges women who work to improve the lives of women and girls through personal or professional activities. Holly has long been involved in the community, most recently with the Lincoln High School-linked health center. She helped found and now manages the center.

The Fellowship Award went to Karen Scott. It supports women who earn advanced degrees and Karen is pursuing a master of studies in international human rights law at the University of Oxford, England.

A bunco night fundraiser in November helped generate the resources for the scholarships, Cora said. Bunco Night raised more than $1,000. In June 2010, a drink-special offered by the Stone Hut Bar & Grill raised another $300.

"The Soroptimists are very grateful to all the community members who supported the club's fundraising efforts," Cora said.

The awards were presented at the Soroptimist program meeting Feb. 22 at the Baker Boyer Plaza Way branch.

Soroptimists are looking for new members. Those passionate about improving the lives of women and girls locally, nationally and globally are encouraged to join. Details about the club and how to apply are available at www.wwvsi.org. Walla Walla Valley Soroptimist International is committed to improving the lives of women and girls locally and globally.

The local club is part of Soroptimist International, a global organization for business and professional women with approximately 95,000 members in about 120 countries and territories. The Walla Walla Valley Club meets monthly and is involved in several local causes and events. It also joins with counterparts statewide and around the world.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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