ETCETERA - Sweet Adelines chorus to host open house

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Blue Mountain Chorus of Sweet Adelines International is joining choruses worldwide to Teach the World to Sing.

Like elsewhere, the local chorus will host an open house on Monday with four weeks of free vocal lessons and then a free month of membership in February.

This is a chance for women of all ages to become acquainted with the organization and what it shares with those who love to sing.

Guests will join the chorus to learn "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and then will have an opportunity to perform for friends and family in early March.

According to a release from vocal director Darlene Filla, "Singing in Sweet Adelines gives women a chance to share their love of music and to build lifelong friendships.

It serves as a means to cross generational and cultural boundaries. Additionally, the sense of well-being that is needed in today's busy world becomes a primary factor for chorus members to attend weekly rehearsals."

The chorus rehearses at 6:30 p.m. Mondays and the open house will be at Unity Church of Peace, 810 C St., near the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

Find more information about local Sweet Adelines online at the new website, www.sweetadelinesww.com or by contacting Darlene at 509-520-0675

"We know we have something wonderful to offer to women of all ages, including young women who love to sing and are interested to creating harmony as members of quartets or choruses," Darlene said.

Sweet Adelines International is one of the world's largest singing organizations for women.

More than 1,200 registered quartets and 600 choruses are located in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Wales and the United States.

The organization is committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, performance, and competition.

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Finding scripture and sacred songs among her sources of inspiration, Walla Wallan Libby Swenson has collected her meditations into the self-published "Stepping Stones, Ordinary Moments Creating a Path to Prayer."

Granddaughter Elizabeth Swenson created the cover design for the book, which will be available at Earthlight and Book & Game Co.

Trained as a journalist, Libby worked in magazine editing and public relations. She and husband Ferdy married 63 years ago and settled in Walla Walla some time back.

Ferdy is a great aid for sight and insight, said Libby, who is now legally blind. But it hasn't quieted her expression as the voice-activated computer records her thoughts these days.

The mother of nine, reflects on daily routines, the people around her and the beauty of nature.

Under the heading "Thank You Notes" in one such meditation, Libby wrote, "I have a pretty easy agenda for today, so I'm going to celebrate by staying curled up here under my quilt to take a moment to send God a few thank you notes."

A good night's sleep comes with a refreshed spirit and energy. There's that cozy quilt she can gratefully snuggle into, the sunshine that gives promise of a good day to get outdoors and the joy her family and friends bring, all things she expresses thanks for.

"As I go about my day, don't let me forget that You are always with me and always deserve my thankfulness," she concluded.

Libby had the book published locally through Color Press in Walla Walla.

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Online voting begins for "America's Favorite Cherry Tree" as the National Cherry Blossom Festival launched its centennial celebration in Washington, D.C., according to a release

The online poll started Wednesday by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Cherry Blossom Festival allows all Americans to participate in the Festival's centennial celebration by casting their votes for one of three finalists: the Yoshino, Kwanzan or autumn flowering cherry tree.

The poll can be accessed at arborday.org. On the website, participants can also purchase individual cherry trees, with a portion of every sale benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year's festival commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Tokyo's gift of cherry trees to Washington, D.C., begins on March 20.

Results of the online voting will be announced on April 27, National Arbor Day, and the last day of this year's festivities.

"By voting in the poll and purchasing a cherry tree, Americans can bring the centennial celebration to both their computer and backyard," said Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

"We're thrilled to add a new chapter to this great American tradition," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "With this year's poll and the availability of online cherry tree purchases, Americans can take part in this historic event even if they are unable to travel to the nation's capital." Selected by festival and foundation staff, the three finalists were included in the gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912. Since their introduction, they have become favorites along Washington's Tidal Basin, as well as in yards, parks and neighborhoods across the United States.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of more than one million members that inspires people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs is available at arborday.org.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation's greatest springtime celebration, which this year is March 20-April 27, and includes five weeks of events.

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

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