Magic of Manatee singers are vocal about their love of performing.
Lois Van Beek, the director of the Magic of Manatee Sweet Adelines, gave her singers a gentle reminder.
“No breathing after America,” she said during a recent practice session to perfect their version of “America the Beautiful.”
“Except the tenors.”
The non-tenors took some playful exception.
“How dare you breathe!” one of the chorus members called out to another.
“I’ll trade you that (high) note for my breath,” another quipped.
Soon, however, the 30-some members of the Sweet Adelines chorus settled down and started practicing again.
“We’re a little more relaxed than some choruses, because we’re all friends and come from all walks of life,” said Ellen Linsley, the president of the group. “When we’re there, we’re all the same.”
You come for the music and you stay for the people — Sandy Fitzpatrick
Magic of Manatee is the Bradenton chapter of the international organization, Sweet Adelines, which is made up of chapters that specialize in all-women’s barbershop harmony.
While the Magic of Manatee members might joke around together, they’re still competitive. For the third year in a row, the women won the audience choice award for show performance at the Sweet Adelines Regional Chorus Competition, held in April in Daytona Beach.
“We really enjoy entertaining,” said Linsley, a Greenfield Plantation resident.
It’s not all about competition. Sandy Fitzpatrick, a Horseshoe Cove part-time resident, has a saying about Sweet Adelines, “You come for the music, and you stay for the people.”
Fitzpatrick has now been involved with the group for 54 years. Although she now calls Magic of Manatee her chapter, when the group goes to conventions, she always visits with her former chapter members.
“(Sweet Adelines) has grown and changed with the times and kept me in tune with what was going on,” she said.
Joining the group doesn’t require any kind of formal music training, Linsley said. The group gets CDs so members can practice at home or in the car.
Judy Lawrence of Rosedale said she is always practicing. She even warns others with a bumper sticker that reads “Caution: Driver Singing.”
“I always joke that even my dog knows all the words,” she said.
The “girls” are always recruiting new members. They hand out fliers at performances around town and encourage those they meet to come to a practice on Tuesday nights.
“We are a pretty close group of girls; we’re not the biggest chapter around,” said Linsley. “We’re small enough that we know everybody and care about each other.”