Lori Lyford admits the 130-member Scottsdale chapter of the Arizona Sweet Adelines she directs only came close to hitting the high note during several international competitions.
"We’ve been very close the last five times," said Lyford, a music and band teacher at Sanborn Elementary School in Chandler.
"I think we never believed we could be champions. That was the missing component. We had the attitude this time that we believed in ourselves and said ‘Let’s believe we can do this,’ " Lyford said.
The chapter’s chorus captured the Sweet Adelines international title Oct. 8 in Detroit. The top honor was the chapter’s third overall and first since 1989.
Thirty-four choruses from 11 countries competed in the four-part barbershop quartetstyle harmony contest.
Composed of women ranging from their 20s to 80s from around the state, California and New Mexico, the group sang its way through some tough competition.
"This time, we felt we were good," said chapter member Barbie Baugh of north Phoenix. "We felt this was our year. We were well-prepared. This is a really big deal to us."
It is to Scottsdale, too, as Mayor Mary Manross proclaimed Oct. 25 "Sweet Adelines Day." Sweet Adelines have entertained the Valley since 1962.
Groups competed in quartets and choruses. The Scottsdale chapter sang "What’ll I Do?" and "One Step Dixie" in its first round of competition. Eight judges rated singers on sound, music, expression and showmanship.
In the finals’ competition category, Scottsdale’s entries were "Swanee" and "If You Love Me."
Under Lyford’s direction since 1995, the chapter has garnered three international third-place medals and one second place, as well as firstplace honors in four regional competitions.
"We had some new people in this year and we learned some new skills," Lyford said. "We worked so hard and got what we wanted."