Chorus to host musical open house in Sequim
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The Aspire! quartet is a subset of the Grand Olympics Chorus: from left are Linda Muldowney, Alena Menefee, Connie Alward and Amy Rose.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Sandi Lazzaro, a longtime dancer and dance teacher, has always wanted to learn how to sing.

So last spring, she joined the Grand Olympics Chorus, the North Olympic Peninsula’s chapter of Sweet Adelines International — and is “thriving on it,” in her words.

The singing is great fun, “but more than that, the camaraderie and friendships I’m forming are wonderful,” Lazzaro added.

Now, she and the rest of the 34-woman chorus are inviting newcomers to an open house in their new rehearsal space, no less, at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

There’s no charge to attend the event at 990 E. Washington St., Suite E-103, beside the QFC supermarket.

The gathering is part of Sweet Adelines’ “global open house,” and it’s for any woman who wants more harmony in her life.

“The only requirement a female needs to sing barbershop music is to be able to carry a tune and hold her own part against another,” added Connie Alward, president and assistant director of the Grand Olympics Chorus.

“Reading music is not necessary but is definitely helpful,” she added.

The singers here range in age from 28 to 80-something and come from Sequim, Port Townsend, Port Angeles and, in the case of director Mike Menefee and his daughter Alena, Silverdale.

Alward, for her part, has been at this hobby for 34 years, since attending a rehearsal at age 14 with her mother.

“I was instantly hooked on the harmonies,” she recalled. “I love singing this form of music.

“It’s very challenging, as is all a capella,” while the tight chords inherent in barbershop music set it apart.

The camaraderie, combined with the constant learning, likewise keep seven-year member Priscilla Patterson coming back.

“When we get together with our regional members, there’s a real excitement about all that harmony going on,” she added.

The Grand Olympics Chorus, along with quartets including Aspire! and Hot Apple Pie, travels to competitions around the Northwest.

And next month, the members plan to offer singing Valentines, on which information can be found at the Grand Olympics Chorus’ Facebook page.

The chorus includes women from across and beyond the North Olympic Peninsula, Alward added.

Director Menefee leads singers Sam (Serena) Minkoff, Judy Larson, Jean Emard, Catherine Mix, Pat Witt, Lin Aab, Janet Culver, Caroline Reiger, DiAnne McIntosh, Midge Hull, Melinda Griffith, Vi Raddatz-Strobridge, Donna Greenough, Marilyn Butz, Sandy Greenlief, Diana Stoffer, Judie Lawson, Nancy Davis, Josie Carroll, Paula Crawford, Beth Barrett, Nancy Anderson, Marcia Homer, Linda Muldowney and Denise Cheney, along with his daughter Alena and Alward, Patterson and Lazzaro.

For more about Monday’s open house, visit or phone 360-460-8318.

These singers “make more than just music,” Lazzaro said.

“They create joy.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: January 11. 2014 6:37PM
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