Fans of sock hops, doo-wop and Broadway musicals of the 1950s will be treated to a special concert this weekend, courtesy of the Sparkling City Chorus of the Sweet Adelines.
The Sparkling City Chorus of Sweet Adelines International is a women's a cappella chorus that uses jazz vocals, choreographed pop tunes and harmony in its performances.
Anne Lorentzen, the show chair person, said the musical group is made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, including teachers, business women, retirees, high school students and college students. Lorentzen, who works at the Nueces County Courthouse, said she never thought she would be part of a traveling singing group before she joined four years ago.
"I never thought I could dance and sing at the same time," Lorentzen said. "Much less travel around the country doing both."
Frances Arnett, a Calallen resident who has been with the group since 1992, said she first learned of the Sweet Adelines in the 1970s, but chose not to join because of a commitment to her family.
"My four children at home came first, and my family," Arnett said. "But after those little chickadees got out of the nest, this was a passion- singing and strutting your stuff."
Arnett, who retired in 2001 after 25 years in the construction industry, said the four-part harmony featured by the group is a timeless music style.
"It's not a particular time that our music comes from," Arnett said. "We are the instruments, and when we sing there are no distractions.
"What you hear is the pure voice."
With more than 30 women joining together to perform in this, the group's 35th Annual Stage Production, Arnett said a bond definitely unites them.
"It's the camaraderie with people that love doing the same craft," Arnett said. "We're doing something we love to do. Our sisters are truly sisters, and we are a family away from our families."
That bond is even stronger for Talitha Costley and her mother, Blandina Costley, both of Calallen. Talitha, a senior at Calallen High School, heard the group perform last year, and knew immediately she wanted to be a part of the Sweet Adelines.
"The first song they sang was upbeat, and they were having a good time," Talitha said. "You don't get that anywhere else I've seen.
"I got hooked."
Blandina, an accountant at Del Mar College, was aware of the group, but was surprised when her daughter came home and told her they were both going to audition. They were accepted into the chorus in February, and Blandina said she still remembers the nervousness of her first performance.
"My knees were shaking, I was sweating up a storm and I forgot everything they taught me," Blandina said. "And I looked over at Talitha and she was smiling, the pure showman."
Now, after nearly a full year of practices, Blandina said things are coming a little easier.
"You still get butterflies, but you know you're not alone," Blandina said. "You've got those ladies beside you, and the practices behind you."
Talitha said she has grown as a result of the practices and intense instruction, as well.
"I've learned more in half a year with the Sweet Adelines than I have in high school," Talitha said. "You don't get this kind of challenge and harmony anywhere else."
And being part of the group has benefited them in other areas, Talitha said.
"It's a really good experience, a really bonding time," Talitha said. "It's something I never thought we would have."
Part of that bonding has occurred during what has become a weekly ritual, talking over a cup of hot chocolate every Tuesday night after practice.
"It's opened a lot of channels of communication that hadn't been open before," Blandina said. "We'll start talking about Sweet Adelines, but maybe we'll go on from there."
The show, "Lost in the Fifties Again," is under the direction of Jerrie Johns and will be performed twice on Saturday, January 10 at the Harbor Playhouse. The first show, a matinee, will begin at 2:30 p.m., and the evening show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to the Sparkling City Chorus of the Sweet Adelines, there will be a featured guest performance by the San Antonio-based men's quartet "Sterling," and a solo performance by Joe Garcia, of Corpus Christi.
Presale ticket prices are $15, or $10 for seniors over 65 years of age. Tickets sold at the door will be $20, or $15 for seniors. For the evening performance, active duty military may receive tickets for $10 each. Children under 17 are admitted free with purchase of an adult ticket.
For tickets, call 361-688-7597 or visit the group's Web site at www.sweetadelines.net.