Sweet Adelines International
- James Henry
American educational non-profit organization of women dedicated to the practice and advancement of barbershop harmony. Sweet Adelines, Incorporated— “International” became part of the name in 1991—was founded in 1945 in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Edna Mae Anderson. Inspired by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (now the Barbershop quartet singing) a men’s barbershop music organization that had formed seven years earlier in 1938 also in Tulsa, Sweet Adelines retained key hallmarks of the barbershop style as recognized by that organization. These include four-part a cappella harmony; the voice designations tenor, lead, baritone, and bass (in higher ranges, of course); and the practice of placing the melody in the second part from the top (the Lead). Sweet Adelines International is currently comprised of nearly 25,000 members representing more than 500 chapters in twelve countries. Most of these members participate in choruses and/or quartets that perform and compete locally, regionally, and internationally. Sweet Adelines maintains a highly structured competition system. Choruses and quartets are adjudicated by certified judges representing four categories: sound, music, expression, and showmanship, culminating annually in the selection of an international champion chorus and quartet. The organization also oversees several charitable and educational programs both for their members and for the greater music and education community; notably, the “Young Women in Harmony” program encourages the study and performance of barbershop harmony in schools. Although other women’s barbershop organizations have formed in North America and Europe, Sweet Adelines remains by far the largest....