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Who’s Alice?

The Choral-Aires Chorus is made up of several women varying in ages and perspectives. I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but I recently came across an article that talks about the effect of those you surround yourself with and what rubs off on you. We all gravitate towards certain personalities or ideals that we can feel comfortable with. Larger groups of people with a cause or a mission can still hold this sense of comfort and even motivates others to see new perspectives. As I read the article, I could see with clarity how this bit of human behavior has affected me specifically through getting to know my chorus mates.

But my perspective and telling you how amazing these women are sometimes just isn’t enough. So, I’m going to introduce them to you. All of them. One at a time. My mission is to show you the life of a Choral-Aire. I never said that I’d be the only one sharing the story.

Without further ado – Meet Alice

Voice Part: Baritone

Alice is a straight up baritone. 

After being a part of a barbershop chorus, you begin to realize there are certain characteristics of the women singing a certain voice part. The one word I would use to describe the baritone’s: Prepared. They’re always taking notes or asking questions. They fix the wrong notes quickly and they’re always ready to go. 

When I first joined the Choral-Aires, Alice was in the front row and a Section Leader (for baritones). She was always going round to fix mistakes and talk with fellow baritone’s about certain notes without the help of Amy or Bonnie. I saw her as intimidating and I still am at some moments. Alice is a force to be reckoned with and to me she always seems to be steady and sure and, well, prepared. In fact, when I asked her what her favorite part of rehearsal was she said, “Working the details…tuning and…fixing the little glitches in our product.” This is the epitome of a baritone!

But as time has gone by and over several conversations I’ve had with her, I’ve come to realize something about Alice: She’s an incredibly warm and loyal person. She’s there to help and move you along to where you want to be. She’s there to laugh and to sing just like everyone else. She’s genuine and that’s a part of her I look up to. She also cuts to the chase, something that still catches me off guard and makes me laugh.

Did you know about barbershop before your first chorus?

Alice was actually introduced to barbershop when she was in high school. 

“I sang barbershop in high school. My choir director was part of the men’s organization….I just loved it. It was part of our spring concert every year and I loved it.” Later in life, she was working in Carol Stream in the ‘80s when she bumped into another member of the men’s organization and was startled to find that he was off to a chorus rehearsal. She expressed her love for barbershop and with his help, was able to find a chorus near home. Alice called the chorus to see about coming to rehearsal, but never received answer learning later that the women’s number she called was on vacation. Without a second thought or waiting for a reply, Alice went to rehearsal and never looked back.

What do you do for a living?

Alice is currently working as an accountant. It’s a new career for her, one she is enjoying. She was in commercial real estate for many years and that was all thanks to one of her chorus mates: Bonnie (yes, our director Bonnie). 

“So I was out of work, back in the 80s, and Bonnie came to me…she says, ‘Hey, I have a cousin who has someone that is going on maternity leave in their office and they need someone for six weeks. Care to fill in?’ and I said, “Sure, whatever’…And I can honestly say, that every job I’ve had since then…is likely because of that connection.” 

I can relate to this moment. There are times in your life that you may find yourself wondering what you’re doing or where you’re going, but it’s always a surprise to know that the women you meet up with once a week are there to support you in any way they can. Alice is someone I know I could count on because I know how dedicated she is to chorus. 

How has Chorus affected you and your family life?

Alice joined a barbershop group before having kids. It was already a part of her and her life and that was that. I asked Alice if she had ever thought to stop singing, even if for a little while, when she had her children. Alice said that it never occurred to her. “The kids came, but it was just something I wasn’t going to give up, ‘cause I loved it.” I may have badgered Alice a little bit at this point. Really? Not even a consideration. Later, she told me that barbershop had become more than just a hobby to her – it was a part of her. So to even consider leaving chorus was akin to cutting off her arm. She just wasn’t going to do that.

She made due. Even when she was a stay at home mom she’d pack up the kids on Monday nights, drive to the McDonald’s near her rehearsal building to meet her husband. They’d have dinner and then the kids would be packed up and taken home while she left for practice. 

Beyond that, Alice couldn’t express enough how chorus had helped her grow into the woman she is today. “Big picture, it has helped me physically and professionally because when you get up in front of an audience of a thousand people and you’re singing and it’s four of you in a quartet, it builds some confidence and that confidence spills over into your professional life…And I have asthma. And what better way to keep your lungs exercised and strengthen than to sing?” During hard times in her personal life, chorus was her support group. It was her way to get out of the craziness of her life and just be.

What about competition?

Loves it. As I’ve come to know her, I wasn’t surprised.

As Alice tells it, she never performed on a stage in front of an audience until her first regional and since then it’s become a drive for her. “It was actually quite funny because the first time I performed I was fine because I didn’t know what to expect. The next year when I went on stage…I froze. Couldn’t sing a note. I mouthed it.” What kept her coming back? The competition aspect. She loves to be out on the stage under the bright lights and singing, but she also loves the competition of other choruses. “We’re not a local glee club or a community chorus. We’re an organization that competes and gives scores in order to have a bench spot for where you’re at and how to get better.” 

I’ve always known Alice to be a front row person. The front row is a group of our chorus that remain on the floor and not only sing, but perform a more elaborate version of the chorus choreography. It’s right up in front and the judges can’t miss them. Alice loves it. Just another chance to perform and build confidence. 

Other parts of competition she looks forward to is seeing people. She’s had the wonderful opportunity to meet people outside of our chorus in working to put together past competitions. She loves to go to competition and see people she hasn’t seen in a while. She prefers the International Competition because of the energy that’s generated. I couldn’t agree with her more. 

Best Costume? Worst?

This stumped her for a second. “…Best? Like, funnest? Like, I really like it or most comfortable?” I told her to choose the one she loved to wear the most even if it was uncomfortable to wear. She sat for the second, mulling over the thoughts in her head. “Hmmm. That’s thirty years of costumes.”

She likes the scroll costume (one we used to wear) and the teal that is our current stage performance wear. “It looks great on stage.” If you’re curious to what I’m talking about – look for photos below! Alice also recalls a costume a baseball costume where the jersey was sewn to  baseball pants making it a jumpsuit that was comfortable. 

As for worst costume, she didn’t have a good opinion of the old travel costumes. “Jewel tone…pink, blue, green…we don’t do travel costumes anymore.” 

What would you like to see improve in the barbershop society?

“Growth…I think Sweet Adelines keeps people young. I mean, if you look at some of the ladies in our chorus, you’d never know!” Alice and I both know that many of the women in our chorus are older, but still jump and jive with the best of them, but barbershop is still the best kept secret of competitive singing. That’s not a good thing. 

Having people learn, love and dedicate their time to singing barbershop isn’t easy in today’s stressful work life, but Alice believes that we need to work at putting the word out there – advertise ourselves to a bigger audience, especially the younger generations. It’s not only because we’d like to add to our ranks, but like any organization we’d like to pass on what has been a joy for us to others and see what others might bring to the table. 

Alice, like many of the women in the Choral-Aires Chorus, loves the barbershop world and it shows by what she has sought out to do. She’s sung in two different choruses, a quartet for 3 years, performed in the front row, has been a baritone section leader and has even worked to prepare for larger chorus gathers like the Region 3 Competition. As she so aptly put, she’s does it because she loves it.


Published by sjungblut

A woman in the workforce by day, a singer by night, an artist in between it all.

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  1. This fits Alice to a tee – I’ve known her for over 30 years and cannot imagine my singing life without Alice in it! You picked a great member to start with, Sally!


  2. If Alice doesn’t know the correct notes, no one does! Thanks for the in depth onsite to one of the key Choral-Aires members Sally.


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