Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen / Director Linda Muldowney leads the Juan de Fuca Harmony chorus in song as they prepare for their 40th anniversary concert. Muldowney has been directing the chorus since 2018.

Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen / Director Linda Muldowney leads the Juan de Fuca Harmony chorus in song as they prepare for their 40th anniversary concert. Muldowney has been directing the chorus since 2018.

Juan de Fuca Harmony chorus to mark 40th anniversary

SEQUIM — “It’s the music that brings us together, it’s the music that brings joy untold, those sweet melodies, those grand harmonies, light the fire that burns in my soul,” begins Clay Hine’s ode to communal singing, written in May 2020.

Directed by Linda Muldowney, the male and female voices of the Juan de Fuca Harmony chorus blended together recently with a vibration that could be felt as well as heard, to sing this song, along with others, during their weekly rehearsal.

The chorus’ 40th anniversary show at 2 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., Sequim.

Also on the program are two guest groups, the award-winning women’s quartet, Charmed, and the local Sweet Adeline’s group, Grand Olympic Chorus.

“We will be singing ‘It’s the Music That Keeps Us Together’ along with the Grand Olympics Chorus and then God Bless America as the finale of the show,” said Rich Wyatt, a member of Juan de Fuca Harmony.

The concert is free, with donations accepted.

“Traditionally we have done at least one show a year, but this show will be our first since 2019, when COVID essentially shut us down,” Wyatt said.

The show will feature a selection of music from past shows, including “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Blue Velvet,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “A Hard Days Night” and “Hello Mary Lou.”

Wyatt said the chorus will bring out some props that were used in prior shows.

“We did a show titled Elvis and Friends and we had big letters over the stage to spell out Elvis — those letters will be around the stage as well as a large frog that we used in a show about magic some years ago,” he said.

He said that the audience can join a sing-along with songs such as “Sweet Caroline,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

“We also have two quartets made up of members of the chorus: ‘JaBBeR’ and ‘No Batteries Required’,” Wyatt said. “Each quartet will be singing a few songs.”

Juan De Fuca Harmony has been an official chartered member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1983, with a few different names, settling on its current name in 2022 after they changed from an exclusively male to a mixed chorus.

“We’ve gone through several metamorphoses through time,” president Rod Adler said.

The history of the group stretches back into the 1950s, beginning with a man named Bob Chamberlain, as can be read on the group’s website: juan defucaharmony.org, which also accepts donations to help support the chorus.

“We’re the best kept secret in Clallam County,” joked Adler. Judging from last week’s practice, laughter is a key part of the group’s dynamic.

“We’re always laughing,” members of the chorus said.

COVID was hard on the chorus, Adler said, noting, “we had to shut down for a while.”

However, he said, “it’s the music that has kept us together.”

Adler noted that members come from all walks of life and that they “keep politics and religion out of the discussion.”

Juan de Fuca Harmony encourages new members, and encourages new singers to try out their pipes.

Although guests are welcome at any practice, there will be an official Guest Night on Tuesday, Sept. 26, complete with refreshments. Guests will be taught short segments of songs called “tags,” designed to let the person experience singing four-part harmony.

“We have a lot of wisdom, and when we welcome new people, we have a great way of mentoring them,” Adler said.

For more information, see juandefucaharmony.org.

________

Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at emily.matthiessen@sequimgazette.com.

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