Featured Member in the Spotlight!
This page is dedicated to featuring beloved members of Perfect Harmony.
SALLY BENSON, LEAD, BARITONE
Sally has been a mentor to several of our Baritones and Leads. She is able to fill in for either section when needed, currently singing Lead. She has also served on the board several years as President, worked on various committees and performed as our Master of Ceremonies. She and her husband have generously contributed to the success of the chorus. From buying ads, to donating her tax preparation earnings and underwriting our 20th anniversary reception. Bob Benson has arranged several of our songs for Women’s Barbershop parts. You can see by her story what a talented and gifted woman she is, a definite asset to Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Song.
I am a daughter of this country. So far, my research has found about 120 direct ancestors that were born the British American Colonies before the American Revolution. My mother’s line started in the Connecticut Colony and stayed there. I, my mother, my grandmother, etc. were born in the Fairfield area where two of my ancestors helped found the town around 1639. My sixth great grandfather was Aaron Burr’s grandfather.
On my father’s side I have found connections from colonies in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Tennessee. After the westward expansion started in the mid-19th century, they went to Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri (where my dad was born) and, I was surprised to learn, Northeastern Arkansas.
Being born in the middle of the second World War meant we were living with my mother’s family in Connecticut. They had to have blackout drapes and top half of a car’s headlights blacked out because of the enemy submarines. After the war we moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area. I lived in a small town on a hilly dirt road. I remember clambering around in the woods and riding my bike. I loved school but always hoped to have a day to play when it snowed. The principal lived on our road so, no luck, we always got plowed. We went to a small church with a white steeple and I started singing in the junior choir. I started piano lessons there.
We moved to SE Florida when I was 12 and I was there for about 40 years until moving to Bella Vista. I was a good student, but I think I loved school best because I got to sing in the choruses—junior and senior high. Before my senior year, I went to band camp to learn the flute. That was because I wanted to march and wear a uniform—silly me. I even marched in the Orange Bowl Parade.
I went on to Florida State University straight through to my Master’s in Library and Information Science. I also sang in the University Singers almost the whole way. My first professional job was at Miami-Dade Community College and I stayed there for 28 ½ years through several positions including director of a campus library. I was singing with a community chorus when choral music professor Bob Benson came looking for singers to help the college chorus with a big orchestra performance. He and I got together about 10 years later. What a blessing.
When Bob wanted to join the Miamians Barbershop Chorus, he made sure to introduce me to the local Sweet Adeline Chapter. I went to Sweet Adeline International competition twice with Suncoast chorus. I sang with them for about 8 years until they were more interested in me being a stage manager for their shows and I preferred to sing and wear costumes. Bob and I created and put on several shows for the barbershoppers in Miami.
My parents moved up here from Delray Beach in 1978. We loved the area and finally got retired and moved by 1995 to an unfinished house. I got to be retired for about 6 months when a new library position with NWACC opened up. My mother was a volunteer so I got to know the staff when I subbed for her. I became the second librarian at NWACC and stayed for over 10 years before retiring again. Bob kept busy finishing the house.
A month after moving to Arkansas both Bob and I started singing with the Northwest Arkansas Chorale. Bob was also singing with the Men’s Chorus as was my Dad. We both were in Village Players summer musicals and Hootenannies. We continued to put on shows for the local barbershoppers here in Arkansas. I started with Perfect Harmony about 2000. I also sang with the Women’s Chorus for several years.
Besides singing--being smart, and being tall are essential parts of my self-image. That also has meant being a smarty-pants and too tall to be asked to dance, to get the role in a play or to stand in the front row.
I have loved to travel including several trips to Europe. I have done a lot of sewing including making most of my college clothes and doing costuming for plays and musicals. I have no children but I have given many rescued dogs and cats a good home over the years.
Love and harmony to all my singing friends. Sally
“Songs sung in any style, always make me smile” Thank you Sally for all you have done, and always with a beautiful smile.
SARAH JEAN FISHER - BASS
When Sarah Jean joined Perfect Harmony, she was already a seasoned Barber-shopper. Her rich bass voice and beautiful smile enhance every performance. When we perform, you can count on Sarah Jean to be perfectly groomed, her snappy white hairdo is perfection, and her makeup looks as though it was done by a professional. Now, getting past the superficial portion, there lies a warm, loving individual who is anxious to work on whatever project is thrown at her. She stepped up for our Concert last fall and made sure every member had their items identified so there would be no mix-ups in the changing room. Sadly she leaves us for a few months every year, but we always welcome her return. Sarah Jean, we are delighted to have you as a member of Perfect Harmony. – Sue Barrett
I was born the first of three children. My parents were Canadian from Newfoundland who emigrated to PA, Mom first, just after her 20th birthday. My father was a construction worker and Mom stayed at home. I was always singing at home, so when singing in the school glee club started in fourth grade for 10 cents a week, I begged for the money. I was hooked on group singing. In high school, I got a job babysitting every day after school for spending money and to pay my prom expenses, so that eliminated high school glee club and all other after school activities. I married my high school sweetheart the summer after graduation, getting pregnant right away. I had a girl, Sally, and three more children, (one boy, Brian, and two more girls Kelly and Jennifer) followed in the next 5 and a half years.
When my youngest child was three, I joined our church choir (17 years) and found Sweet Adelines. I was a barbershop member for the next 7 years. During that time, I was also part of an octet, The Moonlighters. My husband left us in 1976, and there was no extra money for singing when trying to pay tuition for the children, so I had to leave the chorus. I met another man whom I fell in love with, but unfortunately, he suffered the same weaknesses as my children’s father. He left us in 1987.
I had worked as a daycare teacher, executive secretary, bookkeeper, receptionist, and hostess at a health club. In 1987, my second daughter encouraged me to attend college to become a nurse, a dream I had as a child. I went to Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) and graduated in 1992 as a registered nurse. During my time in CCP, I won a scholarship to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. I accepted and became a 42-year-old coed, graduating from Bucknell in 1994 with a BA in English, as writing was my second love. After graduation, I worked as a charge nurse in nursing homes for 2.5 years and realized that nursing homes needed overall change desperately. I could not bring about the needed change from behind a med cart, I needed to be behind a podium, teaching or auditing care-giving. By this time 3 of my children were married and had given me 7 grandchildren. I was helping each of them with their tuitions and paying my own towards a master’s degree in nursing. I asked the Lord for guidance and received an answer. My employer offered a scholarship program with a requirement of 2 years pay back in employment after your degree. I won a full scholarship and graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in 2005 with a master’s degree in nursing. Coincidentally, my youngest child graduated from Holy Family University the same year with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. What a celebration that was!
Three years later, I was offered a job to work as an expert consultant for geriatric cases, reading medical records to determine if I could support an attorney’s suit claim for reasons like abuse, neglect, denial of appropriate rights/care. I loved it. Though it was only part-time, it was quite lucrative, paying 3 figures/hour. That first year, I purchased 2 computers and took my whole family to the Outer Banks for a week. I did this work until my credential expired in 2018.
During most of this time I only sang in the shower. While attending a men’s barbershop show, I rekindled acquaintance with 3 former Sweet Adelines and we formed a fun quartet, Together Again. We have been meeting for 8 years and still sing when I am in PA. A senior center in PA that I visit has a chorus of seniors who go out to sing each week to a different senior center, adult day-care, or nursing home, giving a one-hour performance. These sing-outs were rewarding. One winter while in Bella Vista, I heard about and joined Arkansas Show Chorus of Sweet Adelines, and later found Perfect Harmony, joining it too.
I had always wanted to travel but could not because of children or school. Now that my children were married, and school was finished I could go. I have done 2 New England Coast cruises; one Southwest States, Alaska, Ireland twice, China for 10 days, the Western Caribbean, the Eastern Caribbean and a Mediterranean Cruise including Greece, Sicily, Turkey, four stops in Italy, Marseilles, France and Barcelona, Spain.
When it was time for me to retire, two of my children were buying new homes and invited me to choose a room as my own, since I funded their children’s tuitions instead of my retirement. I spend Christmas of odd years here in AR, and Christmas of even years in PA. This way I get to see my now 11 grandchildren and 3 great grands each year. I am truly blessed! Sarah Jean
Sarah Jean’s hobbies include jigsaw & word puzzles, movies, trivia and making throws. Chocolate and purple are her favorite colors. A trip to Japan is on her wish list. She is a great addition to the chorus. Thank you for sharing the incredible experiences of your life-- so far!
LINDA GERSTEIN, TENOR
A cute, hesitantly feisty, slightly chubby lady joined Perfect Harmony as a tenor at about the same time as Julia, a bass.
I rarely got to socialize with either of them, as they sat on the opposite end of the pews. A group of us had gone to Karen’s house to work. When I called Linda “Julia” she corrected me, with that “look” that only a fellow legal secretary recognizes (get your head on straight and get my name right!). Thus began a wonderful friendship. Always being a little overweight, I was fascinated with her resolve to lose 50 pounds and SHE DID! I was as proud of her accomplishment as she was! She has served as President and as Secretary of our Board. We sang in the Kord Konnection quartet together and spent us much time visiting as we did practicing every Tuesday afternoon. When she took over the MC duties at our sing outs, the rest of the choir also recognized her comedic talent and delivery. Our choir is a better group because of multi-talented, full of resolve women like my friend, Linda Gerstein. – Sue Barrett
Yep, It's Who I Am
I was born in Texas in a town with a name that describes it – Levelland – near Amarillo where I grew up. I sang in high school choir and in a church that frowns on instrumental music and choirs. So, I learned to read music. I married a military man during the Vietnam War era and lived in Adana,Turkey on the Syrian border (Incirlik AFB) for 2½ years. And I can tell some kind of stories about that place! I worked as the school secretary on Base and took trips around Turkey with the teachers, guided by our Turkish teacher named Aysel Bulca. I had a Turkish maid who came four days a week for $2 a day. [No, I didn't make that up!] She was afraid of the washer, so she washed our clothes in the bathtub with her feet. Because Incirlik was a “remote” assignment (that means difficult assignment), we saw many places in Europe by flying military cargo planes. Definitely not luxurious first class seating, but we got there! One trip was to Berchtesgaden, Germany for learn-to-ski week, but there was no snow, so we went on to Vienna, Austria to spend a few days with church friends and experienced my first real White Christmas.
After our time in Turkey, we came back to the “land of the round door knob” and were stationed at Eglin AFB, Florida, where we lived in Niceville. And, yes, it was nice. From Niceville, we moved to Tallahassee, Florida where my husband studied at Florida State University, and I worked for the State of Florida. After we divorced, I met and married Ray Gerstein. We lived for several years there in Tallahassee before we moved to Birmingham. And the thrill of my life was singing for my first time in a church choir at a very large Methodist church, where I first experienced musical instruments in worship and heard a huge pipe organ for my first time. My fabulous music directors were music teachers in two large high schools in Birmingham. I worked as a legal secretary in large law firms. My time in medical malpractice was VERY interesting.
But, as the old saying goes, “things change.” After 25 great years in Birmingham, Ray's job brought us to Bella Vista. I worked for a short time at Walmart before taking early retirement. With lots of time on my hands and needing friends, I began looking around for activities and friends. At TOPS Club, my special new friend was Julia Blair, who was a “itty bitty” woman with a beautiful bass voice. Perfect Harmony came to entertain at our TOPS Christmas luncheon. When I heard you sing, I told Julia I wanted to do that, too. So, in January 2010, I joined the chorus. And the rest is history!
I was scared to sing, but had lots of encouragement. I remember one performance when Karen told me to get my hands out of my pockets because I was pulling my pants legs up short. At one of my early sing-outs, I was the only tenor – and terrified is the only word I can come up with to describe that day. At one point in a song, there was a tiny tenor solo part – and I froze before the sound finally came out. But Karen believed in me and goaded me on. She invited me to sing in the quartet along with her and Sue Barrett and Helen Smiley. From a shy, very quiet, frightened woman, Karen created a monster. She gave me confidence to sing, to announce the music, and to “milk” my Alabama accent and tell some corny stories. Thank you, Karen, for believing in me, and thank you all for being my friends.
In spite of circumstances, life goes on. It's what we make of it, and I choose the
abundant life promised to us. When the
gift of church attendance became impossible because of COVID, my brother and I
had a laugh or two when I told him I never thought I would get too old to go to
church. Mama had us all in church every
time the doors opened – and that started when I was two weeks old. But now, I find time to worship and study at
home. I stay busy with yard work, sewing
and quilting, reading, and my piano gets a workout. Life now isn't what it was, but it is
simple. I miss you all and look forward
to the return to Normal, whatever that is. Linda
Linda enjoys playing classical piano music. Her favorite color is red (always check out her socks for the latest fashion and colors!). A cruise to the Panama Canal is on her wish list. Linda is very active in the TOPS group and gave the KOPS address at the TOPS State Recognition Day in 2016. Linda’s Radio Show during our Sing Outs keeps the audience and the chorus laughing. We never know what to expect: “Sometime you feel like a Nut!” What a beautiful story, written by a beautiful woman, inside and out.
SUSAN WILDMAN, LEAD
was an extremely lucky day when an attractive and enthusiastic Susan Wildman
decided to join Perfect Harmony. She never meets a stranger, just a new friend
to be made. Susan tackled the daunting job of membership chairman with the same
flair and dedication exerted in every aspect of her life. She helped develop
the mentoring program for new members, and perfected forms to help ease new
members into the chorus. We have all grown to love her Who Am I? quiz.
It is my privilege to serve with her on the Board of Directors and, more
importantly, to call her a dear friend. Here is her story. --- Sue Barrett
I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. My mother was a stay at home Mom and my father was an accountant at United Gas Corporation. I have an older brother and younger sister. As a child I loved to play jacks, jump rope, Ring around the Rosy, Hide and Go Seek, Pick up Sticks, Monopoly and Clue. My girlfriends and I had lots of slumber parties and we also liked to go roller skating together. I was a Brownie and Girl Scout and always had fun going to camp. I sang in our church choir as a young girl and later in junior high, I was a member of the Glee Club. I took violin lessons for several years in music class. I was a cheerleader and loved the enthusiasm at our pep rallies. I was involved in various activities in high school, I was inducted into the National Honor Society my senior year. Throughout high school I dated my future husband, Jerry. After graduation, I attended Northwestern State College for one semester and after that, Jerry and I got married. We lived in Shreveport and I attended Centenary College. Within months he was drafted and joined the Navy. The following year, our daughter, Kennon was born. We were so excited and life was good! At this time Jerry was stationed at the US Naval Base in Annapolis, Maryland and we lived there for 18 months. We returned to Shreveport and our son, Jonathan was born 3 years later. Now we had our girl and boy!
My first job the summer after high school was with Headstart Program for early childhood education. I thought I wanted to be a teacher but later decided to pursue a career in finance and accounting. I have held positions as a bookkeeper, medical secretary, receptionist, material control supervisor, payroll accountant, vice president of operations and financial accountant.
18 years of marriage, we divorced. Four years later, I moved to Arkansas. I had
visited friends that lived in Rogers on several occasions, so I was familiar
with the area. I loved the beautiful lakes, the nearby Ozark Mountains and the
cooler temperatures. I have been blessed with five wonderful grandchildren,
ranging in age from 9 to 26, Sara, Jacob, Leah, Jon David and Avery. I was at
the hospital when each one was born and what a joy it was to see their sweet
face within the hour after their birth.
I have been fortunate to have traveled to many beautiful and historic places over the years. I flew to Honolulu and took a cruise to all the islands. I caught a glimpse of history seeing Pearl Harbor & took a stroll on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.Went down on the Nautilus Submarine in Maui and was never so happy when that sub went back up to the surface! I had a severe case of motion sickness! Ugh!! Kauai (called the Garden Island) was the most beautiful of the islands with dramatic mountains. Attended my first luau and dined on a lavish buffet while keeping my eyes on graceful hulas and traditional fire dances that were spectacular. One of my favorite trips was to New York City with my daughter and two granddaughters. We saw two Broadway shows - the Phantom of the Opera and The Little Mermaid. Took a carriage ride through Central Park, saw Times Square and Ground Zero.
In 2015 I met the love of my life, Bill at our church singles group. The following year we were married and along with Bill came his dog, Daisy. Our life together has been a real blessing with lots of love and laughter. Since both of us are retired, we have had time to travel. Our most recent trip was last year when we flew to Los Angeles, California, rented a car and drove north on Hwy 1 along the Pacific Ocean, to Big Sur, Rockaway Beach, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Our last stop was in Las Vegas and we flew home from there. We drove over 2200 miles and we saw many beautiful sights along the way.
I like working jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing Words with Friends. My two favorite football teams are the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints and we watch their games every season.
I found out about Perfect Harmony when I attended a performance that was held at my church in September, 2017. The ladies that were singing were having such a good time and sounded beautiful! I talked with Karen F. about attending a practice and not long after that, I joined. What a joy to be a part of this wonderful group of ladies! We truly love and care about each other. And we have fun, too!
Her favorite color is pink or purple and she would like to visit Australia. Susan is a volunteer at Helping Hands and with Meals on Wheels. Currently, she serves on the PH Board of Directors as Membership Chairman. Thank you Susan for all you contribute to the success and unity of the PH Women’s Barbershop Chorus.
MARTY SHREVE, BARITONE
In quiet beauty she enters the room, smiling and friendly. Marty Shreve is one of the most dedicated, hard-working members of Perfect Harmony. This accomplished singer exhibits a flair for publicity and works with the Glovers on keeping our website relevant. Additionally, her history books can capture your attention for long periods of time. She is now in her fifth year as a member of the Board of Directors and also served on the Anniversary Committee. Thank you, Marty, for becoming a part of our group and so willing to do whatever needs to be done. Sue Barrett
I was born in California; I consider myself a “California girl” even though my family left the state when I was five. My father was a Railroad man and a part time Preacher. We moved a lot when I was young, making me both a gypsy and Preacher’s Daughter! But when the Railroads started consolidating the smaller stations, my father decided it was time to move his family from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Arkansas, a better environment to raise his five kids. I vowed at 14 years old, to leave Arkansas ASAP. I was hired after High School graduation to work a summer at Glorieta Baptist Assembly near Santa Fe, New Mexico (my escape plan). But as fate would have it, I accepted an engagement ring just before leaving town. After 25 years and two fantastic sons, we divorced…and I was still in Arkansas! My sons and their wives continue to be the joy of my life and have blessed me with four beautiful grandchildren. Besides being with my family, I enjoy singing, playing the piano, cooking, reading and photography.
My career was exclusively 40 years in Banking, retiring from Arvest in 2011. The bank moved me around to several positions during these years including Teller, Middle Management, Operations, and International Wire Manager. Participating in volunteer work was always fun, beginning with the Prairie Grove Chamber of Commerce (I was one of the founding organizers and Secretary for years), very active in the Prairie Grove Junior Civic League, and worked on some committees within the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. I currently volunteer at Crystal Bridges, an education in itself for me.
My father introduced me to music when I was 10, in Leadville, Colorado. He was a natural musician with the keyboard and accordion: he bought a piano and taught me the fundamentals, but I didn’t have his ear. Over the years, I have played piano and organ in any church we belonged to and sang in the choirs, singing alto. I sang in the acapella choir in high school, joined various community choirs as an adult and played piano for a Gospel quartet for several years, making 2 LP Albums with them. Also branched out one summer and played for a Country Western Band. The Arts Center of the Ozarks Chorale in Springdale was a great learning experience for me. The Director introduced me to songs from Broadway Musicals, some songs in Latin and some classics. I was fortunate to perform in two ACO Musicals, so much fun. I learned so much. While living on Grand Lake in 2006 I joined the Grove Community Theater group and performed in the Christmas production of “The Man with the Bag”. We had a sold out crowd every performance, maybe a maximum of 30 seats! But it was fun. That was quite a different experience from the Musicals and Theater of the ACO, to say the least!
In 2000, through a mutual friend, Jim and I started dating. We married in 2002. We enjoy life to its fullest! After we both retired, we made several road trips including all the lower states in the US from East to West coasts, visiting the wine country in California twice, the wine country in Oregon and the wine country in Washington State. We tried being Snowbirds a couple of winters, but decided home was just as good.
In 2009, Jim and I moved from Grove, Oklahoma, to Bella Vista. I soon realized I was in need of an outlet for my music and singing interest. There was an article in The Vista for a Christmas Concert by Perfect Harmony, I went to that and loved the chorus. I asked Sally, the MC, how I could join, she said “just come to rehearsal!” So, I did and joined in 2010. Perfect Harmony is the best thing I have done for myself. Karen’s directing, the music selections, the harmony is everything I was looking for. I value the friendship of all the wonderful, loving women of the chorus. Getting to know each other better through our Web Spotlight strengthens the bond and sisterhood that is the core of our chorus.
I feel fortunate to have lived in or visited many US States and Cities, but I’ve learned it’s good to be home…in Arkansas! Marty
CARLA BROYLES, LEAD
arla is a dependable Lead Singer for the chorus. At one point she volunteered to help the Tenors out, learning their parts to the songs she sang as a Lead, a difficult task. Currently she serves the chorus as our telephone contact person, calling the members that do not use email to alert them of cancellations and/or information needed before our next rehearsal or Sing Out. She is a friend to all with a warm smile and instant welcome. Here is her story:
I am A Child of The King, a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend!
I was born September 29, 1955 in Quanah, Texas to Ray and Thelma Hall. At the age of two, I moved to the panhandle of Texas. I lived and went to school in Perryton, Texas through ninth grade. Moved to Chickasha, Oklahoma for two years and then back to Perryton to graduate with my class of my first nine years. I married in 1976 there in Perryton and my daughter was born in 1978. We moved to Enid with my husband’s job in 1980. Later we divorced and I remained in Enid. My parents lived there. I lived there for twenty-four years. I met Gordon in 1986 and dated for about a year. Went our separate ways for about four years. I moved and then returned to Enid the end of 1990. Gordon and I began dating again. We married in October of 1995. With our marriage I gained three amazing children. Our children are Cameron (Florida), Amy & Anthony (Bentonville), Philip (Washington DC; USAF) and Elizabeth & Kent (Alaska). We have three beautiful grandchildren and another one due in June. Our grands are in Alaska! Gordon and I will be married twenty-five years this October. We have been so Blessed!
During my working years I did many things. I first worked for Sears in a catalog store then worked as a receptionist/secretary for a mental health outpatient clinic until I had my daughter. After having Amy, moving to Oklahoma and divorcing, I went to work for United Supermarket. I checked, stocked and managed the dairy department for several years. Moved to Chickasha, Oklahoma where I started my career as a medical receptionist, working for a medical clinic. After moving back to Enid, I worked a short time as a receptionist for a Home Health Agency. From there I worked for NW Orthopedic Clinic for six Orthopedic surgeons for seven years. Went from there to a Cardiology Clinic for very short time. Joined a Family Practice and Pulmonary Practice and worked eleven years. Was really burned out with the medical field. I then joined a group and audited for an independent company, Jiffy Trip Convenience Store. Worked there the two years before we move to Bella Vista in 2014. After moving to Bella Vista I have worked part time as a caregiver. Care-giving has been the most rewarding of my working career. My clients have been such a joy and a true blessing to me.
I sang in choir in Jr High thru High School. Sang in church choirs through the years also. I have always loved to sing. I have been a Beta Sigma Phi (women’s social sorority) for 40 years. Held many most offices with them over the years. I participated as a Casa in Oklahoma.
Some of the things I enjoy are reading, cooking, baking pies mostly, but just love to bake, fishing, sewing, embroidery. Cookbooks are one of my favorite things!!
When I moved to Bella Vista and began wondering what I would enjoy since I wasn’t working full time I thought “I love to sing”! One day I saw in the paper that there were two ladies choirs. I had intentions of visiting both. I visited Perfect Harmony first. All the ladies were so friendly and welcoming. I loved the barbershop harmony. I started in late fall of 2015 but was working quite a lot so I postponed joining until January of 2016, when I had more time. I love the wonderful group of ladies and the music we make. Thank you for including me in this wonder group. I love you Everyone! Carla
“Mary Did You Know” a crowd favorite, is also her favorite song to sing. “I love this song, the harmony is so beautiful”. She would like to visit Nantucket and Ireland. Her favorite color is pink. Carla’s has a positive and caring attitude towards life and the people around her, including Perfect Harmony. It is a joy to have her as a member of Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus.
BARB COMPTON, BARITONE
Barb currently serves as Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus’s Program Director, scheduling our Sing Outs. She has also served on the Perfect Harmony Board. While serving on the board she initiated the guidelines and procedures for New Members Joining the Chorus and Members resigning. Her open and friendly personality is freely bestowed on guests and members of the Chorus. She has shared her story below:
I was born in 1942 in Wichita, KS. My dad worked at Beech Aircraft. My folks were from Western Kansas and grew up on farms, but they moved to the city to get jobs, and my 2 sisters and I grew up city girls. My nickname was Bobby Jo.
My dad got a vasectomy after his third girl was born, and knowing he’d never have a son, he often called me “Robert”. My mom saw to it that we had tap and ballet lessons, she taught us all how to play a ukulele, I was elected to take the piano lessons, one sister was the tap dancer, and the other sister did acrobatics.
My middle sis and I discovered we could harmonize, so we sang at church and some local programs when we were teenagers. I graduated High School in 1960 and sang in the chorus. I attended Wichita Univ. and Kansas State Univ. While there, I ran into a High School friend, we dated and married in 1963. We moved to the San Francisco Bay Area as his folks lived there. That was a massive move for me, a real adventure. We lived in Daly City for 2 years while hubby finished college and I worked in the city at the Merchandise Mart building. We then moved to San Luis Obispo, CA where he worked for Montgomery Ward for a few years. We had 2 sons during that time. We moved back to Wichita and had our daughter, Sara. He went to insurance school and 5 years later we moved to Great Bend, KS where he remained in the insurance business. I worked as a teacher’s aide and later was a secretary for him, and also was a secretary in the Lab department of Fuller Brush. I typed formulas for cleaners, waxes, and other products. It was interesting work, but I never sold door to door. As an adult, I sang in church choirs and in a church trio. I coached my kids to sing and play instruments and made them entertain when guests were over. They all like to perform now, and we always have jam sessions when we’re together. Grandchildren are musical as well.
We had visited Bella Vista and bought a lot for vacationing purposes. When business was good we bought a townhouse here and rented it out. When the oil market crashed and wrecked his insurance business, we left Great Bend after 10 years and moved to Bella Vista in 1986 to our townhouse. My sons were out of the house by then, but my daughter was 14 and she graduated from Bentonville High. I got a job at Simmons Bank in 1986 and worked in the Bella Vista branch in Town Center for 15 years. We divorced in 1991, enough said.
I met a man through a golf group and we became friends first, then serious friends and married. He played music, dobra, banjo, guitar, harmonica and we started going to bluegrass festivals in the area. He got me a tenor guitar and I started playing with him. He developed lung cancer and died in Feb, 2003.
At Christmastime that year, I attended the English Tea at BV Comm. Church. Perfect Harmony was the entertainment. I recognized Janeen Anderson in the chorus as she was a bank customer of mine. I ran into her a week or so later and told her how much I enjoyed their program. She invited me to come sing, but to wait until after their Holiday party in January. So I did, that was Jan. of 2004, 16 years ago. It was a Godsend for me as I had been through a very tough year after losing my husband and I needed something uplifting to do. Perfect Harmony filled that bill.
About that time I met Ron through our church at a grief support meeting. He had just lost his wife to pancreatic cancer. Ron sang in the church choir and invited me to join. We’re still singing there. We married in 2006. We were in a Bible study and a few people played instruments, so we decided to get together and sing some old gospel songs. This was the beginning of the Friday Night Gospel Sing Alongs at BVCC. We started out in a classroom in the basement and within a month, we had moved into the sanctuary as so many people were coming to sing those old songs. It was my job to plan the playlist and type all the lyrics into the computer to put on the big screens so people wouldn’t have to use books. We did this for 10 years and due to some band members moving, and others having health problems, we stopped doing the sing alongs. We still will do sing alongs at Concordia or elsewhere if invited. I played my tenor guitar and later the electric bass, and on occasion a small old accordion. Ron plays the juice harp. Actually it’s an instrument imported from Europe to trade with the Indians in early America called a “Jews Harp”. Jews in German is Jaw, and became known as a juice harp.
Now I play my tenor guitar and sing with a little 3-4 people band called “Skunk Hollow Band”. We do an hour program every Tuesday, either at Concordia Nursing Home or Brookfield Assisted Living. I’m the joke teller in the group.
In 2011 I saw an ad for line dance lessons at Riordan. Needing a fun way to exercise and loving to dance, I went. I had to take off for knee replacement in 2012, and the other one in 2013, and since recovering I’ve been dancing ever since. Line dancing and Perfect Harmony are my 2 favorite pastimes. I have wonderful friends in both groups for which I am ever so grateful. Barb
Her favorite color is yellow and in her free time she reads, knits, cooks and keeps up with Facebook. She does get the best jokes, and often shares them with the chorus for a hearty laugh. She has such musical talent, her accurate pitch in singing is what we listen for. Hawaii is a place she would like to visit again. Barb wrote on her profile for her Personal Accomplishment is “quitting smoking 45 years ago!” Thank you Barb for your dedication to the chorus by your regular attendance, your service and attaining Sing Outs for us.
JOYCE MARIE ELROD, TENOR
Joyce joined Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus in 2011. She is one of our four spectacular Tenors! In addition to singing with the chorus, she is the Treasurer and Board Member for Perfect Harmony. Her welcoming smile is easily given when she catches your eye. Get to know Joyce better as you read her unique story.
I was born in a very small town in Burlington, Michigan. I lived on a farm just one block off the two-lane main highway between Detroit and Chicago, Each day, while attending first through eighth grade, I crossed this major highway to attend the two room elementary school. During my years in Elementary School, I did participate on the radio in a spelling bee contest, and I was the big winner. At my home, daddy farmed with horses, not tractors. We raised fruit and vegetables, dairy cows, beef cattle, chickens and rabbits and I personally raised several baby goats and one baby lamb.
I attended High School in Union City. I majored in Home Economics, but also took several math and accounting classes along with the other required classes. I participated in a Cherry Pie Baking Contest, which was sponsored by a Kiwanis Club. I did win the local contest and went to the State Cherry Pie Baking Contest, which was a major experience for me as a small town farm child.
One week after graduation at age 17, I was married. I worked briefly at a department store, then was hired by the State of Michigan to work in a Mental Hospital where patients lived full time, unlike care for mental patients at home in today’s world. The patients aged from children through adults, some ambulatory, some full time bed patients, and some in a medical ward. I worked there for 3 years before quitting when I was seven months pregnant. My husband had family in California, we moved there one month before my first son was born. I was a stay-at-home mom and gave birth to two more sons in the next few years. Later, while the kids were still small, I went to work for a medical doctor. It was a one-girl office and he trained me in all areas including front desk, insurance billing, bookkeeping, taking x-rays, working back office and assisting in surgery. I worked there for eight years. After quitting the doctor’s office, I sold World Book Encyclopedias door to door. Later I decided to divorce my husband – my kids were only about 9, 10 and 11, and since they were all boys, no girls, their dad got custody of them, which was devastating for me.
I went to work at a local hospital as an Admitting Clerk on the pm shift. This hospital was owned by a company that owned and also managed hospitals. While working there I became acquainted with a Plastic Surgeon on staff, who offered me an Office Manager position. I loved my job there and worked with him for several years. When I was offered a position with the former company that I had worked for, I accepted the position as it was a big step up for me. I was to work with training staff in the managed hospitals which involved full time travel in several states. While on the job in one of the hospitals, Don and I met. Since we were both staying in motels all week and eating in restaurants every night, we shared meals together and hung out afterward just to fill the evening after work hours. This resulted in falling in love and marriage. We both quit our travel jobs and moved to Fairfield, California where Don worked in the hospital. I then was hired as office manager for a medical office. I was a Certified Medical Assistant and was also State President of California Medical Assistants Association (CMAA) for one year.
The Regional Occupational Program (ROP) was a state program designed to train unemployed people in skills to work. Programs included many various skills such as vehicle repairs, construction, heavy equipment, and medical offices. As teachers, our expertise came not from college but from work experience, and for the 5th year of the teaching credential, we actually attended college to learn to create lesson plans and teach the skills to students. I started as part time in 1979, but advanced to full time, teaching the office part of health care. Class started out 5 days each week for half the semester, followed by internship second half of semester. I worked closely with the managers in hospitals, skilled facilities and medical offices to be sure the skills they needed matched the students I placed there. I visited each internship site every week for follow up. I now work 2 ½ to 4 days each week in our Bella Vista Assembly of God church office.
I started singing in the Choir in our church as a teenager. I sang in the High school choir throughout High School and I have always loved music. Don was very active in Men’s Barbershop and I loved their music and going to the concerts. After we both retired, we moved to Bella Vista and Don became active in the Men’s Barbershop Chorus where Karen was director at that time. I met Karen at a band concert at Blowing Springs. Don suggested that since I loved music and loved to sing, that I try out for Perfect Harmony and Karen agreed. I have really enjoyed being a part of Perfect Harmony. You are all a Wonderful Group of Ladies. Joyce
Joyce’s hobbies include sewing, reading and music. She enjoys being at home doing nothing but relaxing and listening to music. She loves most colors, when she is a “Lady in Red”, she looks good. Joyce is dedicated to PH, coming to rehearsal on Mondays after being on the job and also fitting in Sing Outs with her work schedule when possible, she keeps her “Sunny Side Up”. Thank you Joyce for your support and dedication to the chorus.
Ann Glover, Bass
Singing brings us joy. We can see it in our faces, smiles and sparkling eyes. All of which Ann has when singing and in her everyday life. Ann is dedicated to Perfect Harmony and received a 2nd place award, tied, for rehearsal attendance. She is the chorus’s Music Librarian, Board Member and Assistant Web Master for our web site. In addition to singing with the chorus, she sings in a Perfect Harmony Quartet. Get to know Ann better by reading her unique story, then listen for her mellow Bass voice on our web site or next concert.
I came from a Catholic, military family…Marines. We moved often. By the time I was 53, I’d moved 33 times! I was second-born out of six kids. Growing up, I was a tom-boy and athlete, loved to dance, acted in some school plays and musicals. I started singing in choirs in grade school, continued through high school, then in church and community choirs all through my adult life. I sang in mixed choirs, 8-voice acapella ensembles, a swing quintet, gospel quartets, sacred music duets, and even solo (one time – so nervous!). In my high school hippie days, I loved Motown, disco, bluegrass, and barbershop…I still do!
My dad retired after my senior year and moved the family to Arkansas. I stayed in South Carolina where dad was last stationed and married my high school sweetheart. We had two boys and raised them there. Harry was a boat captain and mechanic, so we had many boating adventures on the coast of SC for about 17 years.
I had a long career in banking so after our divorce, I moved from Hilton Head Island to Columbia, SC where I took another banking job. I was single for eight years, had several “learning” relationships, then met my second husband, Erik, two months after he moved in next door to me with his mother who had dementia. After she died, we got married and started a handyman business, which we took with us to Minnesota where Erik wanted to finish his seminary training to be a pastor. We found out I was pregnant two weeks after moving…21 years after my youngest son!
When Inga was born, we took her on jobs with us. We served two churches in Sandstone, MN, then a church in Duluth, MN.
I went back to school at The College of St. Scholastica to finish my degree in Religious Studies the day Inga started kindergarten. I graduated with highest honors at age 52 -- my greatest accomplishment, after my kids! I worked six years as Program Coordinator for the seminary Erik went to in the Twin Cities, bringing classes to Duluth. I took a few classes as well. That marriage ended after 15 years.
Inga and I moved to Eureka Springs in 2010 to help my sister take care of our mom who had multiple strokes and dementia. Singing in The Ozarks Chorale gave me great relief from care giving.
I finished writing and self-published a book for pre-teens in 2011. It’s titled "Hood Vibrations" and is about using the power of positive thinking to create a better life. I wasn’t comfortable marketing myself, so it didn’t sell well.
Inga was still in high school so to bring in more income, I decided to resurrect my “voice over” talents (voicing commercials, PSA’s, business telephone messages, book narration, etc.). I had taken training in Minnesota and bought the equipment for my home studio, but never taken it further. So, I got another coach, made some professional demos, put up a website, and even got a little work.
My oldest son died in a car accident in 2013. It took some time to heal.
I met David at a conference planning committee meeting. He asked my mom for my hand and helped me take care of her before she died in 2016. David moved me to Bella Vista, we got married, started a handyman business together, and he helped me find Perfect Harmony…the perfect outlet for my passion for singing! Ann
In her spare time she enjoys golf, reading, singing and traveling. On her bucket list is a trip to the Grand Canyon. Electric Blue (like her eyes) is her favorite color. After attending a PH concert at Cooper Chapel, she joined the chorus in January 2017. Thank you, Ann, for all you do towards the success of Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus.
Sue Barrett, Baritone
Current PH Board President, Sue Barrett is noted for her organization and leadership skills. She shares with us how she developed a knack for these skills through her various careers and activities. Her drive for perfection and the work ethic instilled by her Mother, enabled her to advance and be rewarded in both her career life and community service. Sue was named Legal Secretary of the Year in Oklahoma and Missouri, received the Diana Award (for outstanding community service) from the Lambda Chi Chapter of ESA and was Chairman of the Centennial Committee for Noel, Missouri’s 100th Celebration, to name a few.
I grew up on a farm in Noel, Missouri, in a family of one boy and seven girls. I, next to the youngest, was born when my brother (the oldest) was 18. My sisters and I sang harmony together for entertainment. This has proven to be good training for my participation in church choirs and barbershop.
My mother, her twin brother and an older brother, were placed in an orphanage when they were very young. Later they were part of the Orphan Train project and shipped to the Midwest to find homes. They were never adopted but were kept together. I’ve always loved telling her story.
I moved to Tulsa, OK after graduating high school. I took a job in an insurance adjuster’s office and attended Draughon’s Business College in the evening. After marrying and having two children, we lived in Phoenix AZ for a short while. Upon returning to Tulsa, I began working in a small law office where I was introduced to my first electric typewriter, but no copy machines were yet in sight. All legal briefs had to be filed in duplicate original copies, with no errors. I became an expert with a razor blade carefully scraping the ink off the paper so you could not detect an error! My job included doing legal research and running an office efficiently. I joined the Tulsa County Legal Secretaries Association. Served as president of the local chapter, the State organization and later was elected to officer positions of the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). After seven years my Cinderella-syndrome was burst as I sadly went through a divorce.
I spent nine rewarding years traveling around the country to NALS meetings and organizing/supporting state and local chapters. I was next in line as President. During this time, I had remarried and moved to Kansas City, MO. When I discovered I was pregnant with twins, I had to face reality. I knew I could not do justice to the demanding job of National President, so I reluctantly stepped aside. At this time, I was working for a law firm of 75 lawyers as assistant to the Managing Partner, and eventually became the Supervisor of all non-legal personnel. I resigned my job after my two older children became self-supporting and the twins had started first grade. A period of avid volunteer work began, working with schools, churches, civic groups, children’s sports teams, Cub Scouts, Campfire.
After my husband retired, we moved to southwest Missouri and I became involved in local volunteer work. Most notable was chairman of the Centennial activities for our little town, which was a two-year commitment. This celebration spawned a job offer at a new weekly newspaper. I eventually became co-owner and editor. After five years, my partner and I were totally exhausted and broke. We always met payroll and expenses, but there was nothing left for salaries for either of us. I spent the next seven years as office manager at the local medical clinic.
When my twins were through college and settled in their careers, my husband of 30 years and I divorced. I sold my farm, moved to Bella Vista, and began working for Cooper Communities. Within a short time Cooper moved their headquarters to Rogers and, drat, I was back in commute mode. After seven years I resigned from Cooper and began doing electronic contract administration for a consulting firm, working from home. I no longer do a lot of volunteer work, but love being able to spend quality time with my four children, their spouses, my nine grandchildren (three of whom are married), and I now have five great-grands. What a lovely bunch of people…I am truly blessed! However, they all love to play practical jokes, so they keep my life interesting.
Terri Ross, whom I sang with in St. Bernard’s choir, invited me to go with her to a Perfect Harmony practice. I had never sung barbershop but loved singing harmony. I wanted to be in the Lead section, but Director Karen said, “No, you are going to be a Baritone.” Helen Smiley, who sang baritone at the time, became my mentor and great friend. I was hooked and still am, getting ready to enter my 17th year with the Chorus! It has been a wonderful experience and I love the camaraderie of our ladies, both past and present.
Sue’s hobbies include, playing cards, dominoes, board games and working puzzles. She has aspirations of someday becoming an author (and she should pursue this dream!). Her most rewarding event is not her stellar career but “being with her growing family, being the child of an Orphan Train rider and having twins born on different days.” She would like to visit the “Orphan’s Train Museum in Kansas and be at the San Antonio Riverwalk at Christmastime.” In her spare time is likes to “cook for a group, play on the computer and NAP”. There is a lot more to tell about Sue and her life experiences, ask her to tell you! Her dedication and contributions to ensure the success of Perfect Harmony is valued by the chorus. Her smooth Baritone voice blends well with the Sisters in Song of the chorus, a tribute to her being raised singing harmony with her six sisters.
Shirley Moore, Lead Singer
Shirley is yet another member of Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus with a very interesting and special life story. Since she has been a member of the Chorus she has rarely missed a rehearsal or Sing Out. Shirley is one of our quieter members, but her presence is known through her musical voice. You will learn more about Shirley as she shares her Life Story.
“My life began in St. Louis, Missouri. At age 9, my parents moved me to Austin, Texas where I lived most of my life. I married at 17, wasn’t a happy marriage so I won’t go into that. Divorced after 22 years, but the marriage did bless me with 2 sons. Since I did not go to college, nor did my husband, and a baby was on the way, I had to go to work. I spent my whole career, 34 years, working in various offices for the State of Texas. First I worked at the Bureau of Vital Statistics with birth and death certificates. Then I moved to the Department of Mental Health and Retardation as a statistical clerk working with mental health records. The next 25 years I spent working at the University of Texas at Austin at the Institute of Latin American Studies as an Accounting Clerk, where I paid all their bills. During this time I received a Presidential Award (University of Texas, Presidential award) for good work. I received a plaque and $500.00.
Since my early 20’s I have been a dedicated Christian, so after my divorce I prayed for my soul mate to come along. He did, after 12 years of being single. We married after only 6 weeks of knowing each other because we were both positive God had put us together.
I was a city girl and he was a country boy, so we moved to the country just north of Austin in Georgetown. He built homes for a living. During our 20 year marriage he pastored a Baptist Church as bi-vocational for most of that time. We then retired and moved to Burnet County where we bought a ranch. He left in 2014 to go to heaven to see his first wife and to wait for me. We had no biological children together as I was in my 50’s when we married, but he had 4 children. So, I now have 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 3.5 great-grand children. Two of the children live up here with their families and the rest are still in Texas. After visiting up here many times and much prayer, I decided to move to Bella Vista January 4, 2018. I love it here.
My husband and I loved to take short trips around the country. We also went to Mexico and the Bahamas. While I was single I went on two mission trips to Brazil and one to the Holy Land (Israel and Jordan). They were amazing trips.
My favorite pastimes, besides Perfect Harmony, are watching Hallmark movies and water walking in the Branchwood swimming pool. For those of us who can’t walk much, it is a good exercise and relieves pain. I do it 3 times a week, then I relax in the hot tub.
I have always loved to sing. I have sung in church choirs all my life. In my 40’s a co-worker talked me into taking a singing class with her, so I did. In addition, for almost 18 months, I also took voice lessons. Thus, I improved my voice and gave me the confidence to sing solos, which I did in church (small churches). I led the music for 12 years in the church my husband pastored. I also belonged to a Sweet Adeline chorus in Austin for almost a year until I got married and moved away. Currently, I sing with a couple others in Concordia Care Center on Wednesday afternoons. And I have sung in nursing homes for years. As soon as I moved to Bella Vista my daughter was looking for activities for me and found Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus. I joined the chorus the 1st week of February, 2018. Besides the beauty of the harmony, I love the support we give each other and the fun we have.” Shirley
Shirley wrote in her profile that her personal accomplishments are “Being a dedicated Christian and a Prayer Warrior”. She also enjoys working Crossword Puzzles in her spare time and her favorite color is purple. As you have read, she has traveled extensively and has no desire to travel any more. “I’ve traveled enough, I’m satisfied to stay home. I am a happy, contented person.”
Thank you Shirley for letting us get to know you better.
Dee Fitzgerald, Lead
Dee was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Park Ridge a NW suburb of Chicago. She has a passion for singing and helping others, that’s why Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus is a “perfect” fit for her. This is what she has to say.
“After getting my Masters degree in Social Work, my career began establishing School Social Work Programs in three Catholic Elementary Schools in Chicago. Then I moved on to work with people who had chemical addictions. Later I was Director of Counseling in an all boys Catholic High School, and then Asst. Principal and Director of Counseling in an all girls Catholic High School. I worked for 40 years as a Social Worker. I also worked in Community Mental Health in Bentonville, Arkansas.
After retiring I began working at Helping Hands in Bentonville, managing the Book Department. Helping Hands is a re-sale store that was started by 21 churches in NW Ark. The money that comes in from purchases is given out to people in need that live in Benton County.”
St. Benedict’s calling is to prayer and work, Dee obviously has answered this calling for over 40 years. She has retired from Social Work but continues to help others. She organizes the Perfect Harmony charity drive for Restoration Village at least twice a year, staying in contact with the Staff for current needs, concerns and immediate help.
“I began singing in choruses when I was in high school. After I had entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago in 1965 I sang in the community’s Schola. We sang Gregorian Chant and other music. After I moved to Bella Vista I sang in St. Bernard’s choir for a brief time.” Dee found Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus after “going to a concert, I enjoyed watching Karen direct. I knew she would make singing fun!” Dee joined the Chorus as a Lead soon after. “I enjoy singing with the great women of Perfect Harmony”.
“I used to come to Bella Vista to visit my sister and brother in law who lived here. I fell in love with the beauty and peace of the area. After I had left my religious community, I knew that I could financially afford to live in this area and that my need for beauty and quiet would be met as well. I have not regretted that decision for one minute.
Getting my Masters of Social Work degree and then my Licenses was my Best Personal Accomplishment. Entering “The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago” a monastic community, has been the most rewarding event in my lifetime. I lived in the Community for 32 years.”
Reading, camping and creating crafts of various types are her interests or hobbies. In her spare time, (which is not much) she reads, reads, reads! And walks her dog. On her wish list is a visit to Ireland someday. That may be why her favorite color is green.
Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus appreciates her dedication to the chorus. Her genuine smile and the joy she shares at our rehearsals, our Sing Outs, and throughout our communities is a testament to her life’s story of helping others.
Joyce Reid, Baritone
Joyce became a Perfect Harmony member in 2009 after being encouraged to join by Sue Barrett. She rarely misses a rehearsal or Sing Out. Joyce has many talents in addition to music. Joyce has been a Professional and Hobby Craft Person for years. It would be a privilege to have one of her quilt creations or pottery pieces in your home. Enjoy reading how she evolved into a talented Craftsman over the years while raising her family.
“Joyce Reid was born and raised in central Kansas, wheat farming area, my Dad was a farmer. I graduated from Great Bend High School in 1956 where I sang Soprano in the chorus and choir. I also sang in the church choir. My parents paid for music lessons for me, two sisters and a brother. I joined the church choir in Bella Vista about 2003, as a soprano. I later switched to alto. My voice has gotten lower pitched, like many, so I now sing Baritone in Perfect Harmony.
I have had three occupations. I went to college and became qualified to teach home economics, general science, biology, chemistry and all elementary grades. I taught for six years; second, fourth and sixth grade. Then I switched to substitute teaching for Science mostly at the 7-9th grade levels. This was my first occupation. When I took a potter class to keep my teaching certificate up, I got hooked on clay. My first potter’s wheel was made by my husband using a wagon wheel that my father supplied. Because I was making so many items, I started exhibiting at arts and crafts shows, my second occupation. I eventually purchased two kilns and two other electric potter’s wheels. I traveled to arts and crafts shows from Nebraska, St. Louis, Missouri to Middleland, Texas. At the time I was living in Norman, Oklahoma. For over twenty years I did about twelve shows a year. In 2000 my husband, Henry and I moved to Bella Vista. All the clay items were moved but because it took months to get electricity to the lower level of our home, I started making quilts. Now, I make quilts for family members, the Quilt Guild (Calico Up-Cuts), and my church’s bazaar. Last year I made 33 small quilts, 16 cloth books and a number of other items, my third occupation.
Henry and I raised six children and have encouraged 13 grandchildren. Since the adults are all gainfully employed and five grandchildren have graduated from college so far, for me these are major accomplishments. Plus, Henry and I have been married forty-nine years come June, second time around. Traveling is a favorite thing to do. I would go anywhere if someone else was paying the bill. Just give me time to pack. Henry and I have been to about fifteen foreign countries and I think all the states. Of course, there are many places we have not seen, even in the USA. I would like to cruise around South America, it is about a 50-60 day trip. Henry hasn’t agreed to that yet.
While the children were growing up I was a Girl Scout Leader and Boy Scout Trainer. Later, I was a volunteer for Legal Aid and I heard some very sad stories. I have been Treasurer for my local art guild in Norman, Ok, Perfect Harmony for five years and the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. The orchestra traveled to China during those two years I was Treasurer and I learned to wire money to the travel company in NYC, there were 105 people on that trip. Now, I volunteer each week at the Bella Vista Library. Four hours every Monday morning for 18 years. I always say that is the last volunteer job that I will give up. To me, education is the most important thing we can give our children. Enjoy reading, Joyce”A favorite memory for Joyce was singing with her children in the car when they went on camping trips. Joyce and Henry both like the color blue which makes it easy to decorate their home. During the winter they enjoy watching the college level basketball games on TV. She is a very dedicated member of Perfect Harmony in attendance and support. She has booked several Sing Outs for us at some of the organizations she is involved with, as well as serving on the PH Board, Committees, as Hostess and a time as the card lady. Joyce knows that you can’t go wrong, “If you start off each day with a Song".
Sharon Krumrei, Bass Singer
Sharon joined Perfect Harmony in 2009. When we need a fill in for a section of the chorus, delivering the Shepherd’s Pantry items or serving on the board Sharon is our girl. She is quick with a smile for you and enjoys a good laugh. Here is her life story.
“I was born in California and when I was five years old my parents moved back to their home town in the north woods of Wisconsin. Around that time, my Father became my primary care giver. The main industries in town were logging, farming, or working in the big lumber mill in the neighboring town. My Father was a logger. He also was the seventh of twelve children, most of them still living in the area. So, I had many surrogate "Mothers". Since in those days, loggers bought sections(640 acres) of land to work, camp was made there and for many years I was under the care of a Native American woman in the summer. I learned so much from her, and it's sad that their culture was lost. My Father decided that I needed "culture"!! A woman came to town during the school year to give piano lessons and he signed me up. From the time I was eight until about twelve. Practice was a good excuse to get out of evening chores and then I began to actually like playing and began appreciating Bach, Mozart, Chopin, etc.
High school brought a retired music teacher in my life who decided that I could sing. She was a precursor of our Karen, she expected great and pushed and prodded until you produced!! The first place starred medals that I received at the state festivals really taught me that if you wanted something bad enough you could achieve it.
In my senior year of high school, I met this guy who was dating a friend of mine. His name was Chuck Krumrei and from the first day I met him, I just knew we were meant to be together. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam had other ideas. I went off to college and sang in their choral group, but when Chuck got out of the Army, we got married. His parents owned this small general store and decided to turn it over to us. For the next twenty-five years, we worked on building that business up to a destination store, and had four wonderful children. The years now are kind of a blur of being a 4H Leader, Cub Scout Den Mother, Rescue Squad member, church organist, school piano accompanist, and for nine years an elected member of the school board. In the years before massive ATV and Gator and snowmobiles, our business was quiet enough from Dec-April that we could slow down and enjoy life. In the late 1980s that changed and we were burnt out, so we sold. That lasted for almost five years, until my darling husband got the bright idea to take over this failing hardware store. We were in a good sized recreational area with a lot of building going on, so we had to figure out how to get these "shackers" to buy locally instead of hauling up from the big box stores. We did it! Then our love of golf and the times we had spent in Bella Vista made us decide to retire and move here. I got bored and applied at Wal-Mart and spent the next six years in their ISD division, retiring at sixty-five. I joined the Women’s Chorus and one day, the director wasn't there and this wonderful woman got up to direct. The first thing she said was "get your nose out of your music and look at me!" I asked someone who that was and was told it was Karen Frankenfeld and she directed a barbershop group. My next thought was "I want to sing in that group." Never having any experience with barbershop singing, there was definitely a learning curve. This group is the best thing that happened to Bella Vista! My husband and I both love living here, our children visit often and one son has moved here. We have one daughter and three sons of whom we are so proud! They gave us eight grandchildren who are equally awesome.” - Sharon
In addition to her talent in music she likes to have a vegetable garden each summer and in the winter she looks forward to reading a good book. “I was a golfer, but back troubles ended that sport!” Her favorite color is Navy Blue. The most rewarding event in her lifetime was “marrying the love of my life, Chuck, fifty-seven years ago.” Best personal accomplishments were “raising her four children, who are also wonderful parents.” On her bucket list is a “visit to the coast of Maine and have lobster fresh off the boat!” She must also be a fantastic cook because her chocolate chip cookies are "to die for"!
Delores Haley, Bass
“Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends not years.” This was the theme at Delores’s 90th birthday Party (which Perfect Harmony sang for last year). She lives up to this with her instant smiles and the abundance of the friends she has. Delores is a quiet woman, and modest about being on the web spotlight. Enjoy what she has written about her life.
On July 18, 1928, it was one of those hot, humid days in Illinois, with an electrical storm brewing outside. Inside this farm house was the wail of a new baby girl. Delores Rose Reutter was the fourth and last daughter of Minnie and Fred Reutter.
Three quarters of a mile from our home was a small school house where I attended all eight years of my grade school education. It was what they called a "One Room School House", and they were on a corner of a farm every 2 miles.
The only spanking I remember Mom giving to me was when I refused to go to school because it was too cold, so I’d just stay home. After the “warm up” administered from my Mom, I walked to school and never sassed her again!
During my Freshman year in high school, we moved from the small community of Cissna Park to an even smaller community of East Lynn. I graduated from East Lynn High School and there I also met my future husband, Bill Haley. Then it was off to nurses training at Lake View in Danville, Illinois 30 miles from home. Bill would hitch hike to see me on weekends. Two years later we decided to marry and I dropped out of nursing. I remember my Mom telling me that my duty was at home. We were just two love sick “kids” who grew up with their 3 older children, Carin, Dennis and Dana. Years later Teresa came along and later still we added Leonard to the family.
We were pretty much home bodies, but we made a memorable trip to England. We took a train from London in search of some of Bill’s ancestors on his mother’s side. We found them! But no one could say for sure how we were related. It was much more interesting than a castle tour. On a lark, we came to Arkansas on one of those free Cooper Holidays. Bill told me not to act interested in anything the Cooper salesman tries to tell us. I didn’t, but he did! So here we moved.
Bill was asked to be the first electrical inspector of Bella Vista. I was his partner and at first I had my doubts how that would be since we would be together 24 hours every day. We made it work and Bill always said “it was the best three years of our married life!” After 45 years of marriage, Bill passed away after a bad fall. We were in the process of building a new house. Leonard had to step in and help me finish it. It wasn’t an easy time for either of us.
Barb, my minister’s wife, was wanting me to join her in checking out a new group starting up a Barbershop Women’s Chorus called “Amazing Grace”. It was 1993 when we started traveling to Rogers every Tuesday to their practice. We both like it and as a new widow it was good therapy for me. This was the best thing I could have done after suddenly loosing Bill. It’s impossible to cry the blues and learn music at the same time. When Amazing Grace disbanded, some one encouraged me to check out Perfect Harmony, I’m glad I did. I think it was 2009 when I joined. I’m very thankful for the joy of Barbershop singing and I’m very thankful for Karen and her patience with us. Delores
reading a good book and playing Hand Chimes at Concordia. For some time now,
Delores has been Perfect Harmony’s consoling card lady, as well as being
hostess for our Holiday parties or a committee member on special projects. Her favorite color is pink, that she wears
very well. She now lives at Concordia, enjoys her new home and her many new friends.
“I like my nap time!” is something she admitted in her profile for our spotlight, and after all she has done and seen, she deserves it.
Sherrie (Shari) Crawford Brooks, Lead
Sherrie Crawford was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, she calls herself a “Mayo Clinic baby”.
Her life moved on from Minnesota and gave her several homes in locations all over the mid-south and southern cities. She has given us a short version of her life so far and has more stories to tell. Here is what she has given us today.
“I left Rochester in 1965, why you ask? I was a run-away bride! I ran to Kansas City, found work, an apartment and roommates! I worked two jobs, one for an Insurance Company and one for a Home Decorator, she even used some of my smaller paintings, never dreamed I could make any money with my paintings.
I met Jon Allen Brooks, my husband of 48 years, what a blessing he was to me. He kept calling me for a date and I said No Thanks, until February 14th, when he called to take me to lunch I said OK. (I was broke and hungry!) He gave me a rose, nice! When I got to my apartment that night I found 12 more roses waiting, two years later, we were married. Jon’s work sent us to live in a lot of great places. Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit, Birmingham, Mobile, Houston, St. Louis and back to Kansas City. His work also sent us on lots of trips. Key West, San Francisco, Washington DC, Denver, Chicago, Mexico, Omaha, Nashville, St. Paul and I’m sure I have forgotten a few. No matter what place we lived, I was busy with PTA, Garden Club, card clubs and church. We got “Garden of the Month” in every city and one place gave us three awards and also the “Award of the Year”.
When our daughter went away to school, I found a job with Clinique. Clinique was great to work for. When we moved, my job went with me. Clinique was a very fun job. I love problem solving and showing people how to look great with just a bit of color. I received lots of awards and gifts and they sent me to classes in great place like Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis and Little Rock. My story of working for Clinique for 35 years and being Master Sales for 10 years in a row, was featured in the Clinique paper.
As the oldest girl of five, by the time I was 12 my mother (Irish) worked 2 jobs. I took over the job of running the family. They tell me I was tough on them with my Work You Must Do List. But they still love me, Thank You, God! One of my sisters was a Girl Scout and sold cookies. When my dates showed up she would ask me to give her a bit of time to sell them cookies, and they always ordered.
When I was 3 years old I was singing in the back seat of the car. My father (Scot-Irish), said to Mama, tell her to sit down and stop singing. So I did, but I cried very loud! Dad said "Tell her to sing, it’s better than the crying!" I really started my singing in school and at church at 12 years old. When we lived in New Orleans and Detroit I joined a Sweet Adeline group. I joined Perfect Harmony in 2004.
Dancing started in High School when a friend offered me free classes. Painting also started in High School and advanced to classes in Kansas City. Sewing was revived when I was 8 months pregnant in Atlanta. When I picked Jon up at the airport I was wearing a dress I made with my new machine, he didn’t know I could sew. My daughter, years later, said “we” could make some black out curtains for the Fayetteville High School football locker room by the next week, her “we” was actually me, and I did it!
Our daughter and family (my 3 grand kids) moved to Fayetteville in the late 90’s. I talked Jon into retiring by telling him he could golf every day for the rest of his life. His blue eyes started to shine, Bella Vista! Let’s Go. “Good” I said, “because I have a Real Estate agent coming in 30 minutes.”
I have more stories to tell, but that would be more like a book. Thanks to all of you for your friendship and I will say THE END.” Shari
Pink is her favorite color. She would like to visit Ireland, In her spare time she likes to read. Some of Shari’s hobbies are painting, dancing and sewing. You can appreciate Shari’s artistic touch when you are at her house where she has a few of her paintings displayed and her decorating experience shows inside and outside her home. Shari is dedicated to Perfect Harmony because she loves the chorus and singing. She also promised Jon she would not quit the chorus. Shari has been an inspiration to our chorus with her fun loving and energetic personality. Next time you sit next to her ask her to tell you more about her interesting life in our Southern cities. Shari says “Bella Vista is a good place to live”. She may be through moving.
Zanetta Bedwell, Tenor
You can depend on Zanetta being at the Monday afternoon
rehearsals, and all the Sing Outs she can, given her busy schedule. Her clear, high Tenor voice is what we all
need to hear to balance our four parts out. She has a spontaneous sense of
humor that often surprises Karen and the rest of the chorus, and results in
Here is her story.
“I have been with Perfect Harmony for 16 years. I began singing in the choir at church as a teenager. My father was the choir director and to keep my mouth shut, he put me in the choir where he could control my talking. I sang in a women's choir in college and have been singing in church choirs ever since.
I went to college in Conway and Joplin, earning a business degree in Conway and an Elementary degree in Joplin. I taught business one year and the rest was spent in the Jr. High Level and the Library in four schools.
After teaching business one year we moved to Columbia, Missouri, where my husband was working on his masters degree. I was secretary to the Assistant Surgeon at the Ellis Fischell Cancer Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. While living in Little Rock I worked at Baptist Hospital as secretary to the head of interns.
I retired after 32 years of teaching, 11 years ago. It was time. The first three years I did a lot of substitute teaching.
The next year I was asked to go to Africa to help set up a library in Tanzania. Missionaries that had been here in Gravette for several years were my contact people. I was gone for 3 weeks. While there I spent 2 days seeing all the animals and sites, enjoyed the Safari very much. What an experience!
After I retired, I began working at Care and Share in Gravette. just part time at first since I was still busy at school. I am in charge of the books, magazines, DVDs, etc. This work I really enjoy. There is no one there to talk back to me or talk too much and I do not have to discipline or do lesson plans. Oh, and I go home when I get tired.
I had two daughters. Sarah passed away 16 years ago from a seizure. Melanie lives in Springdale. She’s a busy woman getting ready for her daughter's wedding.
On Wednesday nights I cook at the church for the 50 children they bus in from Sulphur Springs. Well the adults get to eat also.
Some of my hobbies I enjoy are reading and cooking.
Everywhere I have worked or sang I had a good time Laughs are important in our everyday life.” Zanetta
Zanetta’s favorite color is blue. She would like to visit Ireland. In her spare time she plays solitaire. On her Member Spotlight form she mentioned she is a painter, we should find out more about that talent!. Zanetta’s key to happiness is Laughter, the chorus is glad she shares that with us.
Kathy Hohl, Lead
Kathy has had a very unique life. And she has many stories she can tell. Here is what she has shared with us:
“I was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While my Mom & Dad were divorcing my grandmother sent me to a Catholic boarding High School during my Freshman year. Roller skating was my hobby and after High School I followed the love of my life and husband for 66 years, Marvin, to California. He had joined the Marine Corp in San Diego, and I was living with my Great Grandma in San Francisco. It was there I achieved many skating medals for Dance, Freestyle, Figure Skating & Judging. I also worked for 9 years as a Comp-to-meter (a forerunner of today’s computers) for a company that made the “Jaws of Life” used for Emergency Rescue by Fire Departments. Before Marvin went overseas, we married and when he got back from Korea we started our family in Milwaukee. Within a 13 year period I had 9 children, 6 are living (4 boys & 2 Girls) and I was a Foster Mother for 1 child who grew up in our family until she was 5 ½ years old. Our children still invest in our lives today. When my oldest child got a job, cashiering for a Roller Rink, it enabled all of her family to enjoy skating for FREE! After a few years our boys, and one daughter joined the speed team and I started to Judge again. After I got to be known I was gradually asked to Judge at different local meets. (Of course, I couldn’t judge when my own children were competing.) Later I went to the Olympic Grounds in Colorado Springs to review twice a year, every year. One week I reviewed for speed, and 1 week for Art, which included dance, figure skating & freestyle skating. Sometimes I would get Airline tickets and hotel accommodations when I judged a meet. I was chosen to be a National Judge for the National Speed Meets. I did that for eight years. I judged for a few Art Meets but was uncomfortable when I was told by other judges WHO was to win. At the Olympic Training Center I asked if I would be eligible to be an International Judge and was told “I would never become one because I was a woman”. This was in 1985! I walked away and never looked back. My daughter did earn the right to be chosen for the US National team in 1977, which is a great honor. She competed Internationally as well. My son made a career of skating, owns a Roller Rink, and competes in Senior Competition Meets today.
In 1997 when Marvin retired from Pfizer after 47 years in Senior Management for the Hospital Supply facility, and our children were all gone, we moved to Bella Vista. Since living in Bella Vista I have volunteered at the BV Library as a reader to children and worked with them in small crafts. I supplied the craft pieces for them, it was wonderful to be with children again and I enjoyed working with them for 14 years. One of my hobbies is repairing, painting and dressing Porcelain Dolls back to their original beauty. I have a bedroom dedicated to all my dolls. I also do restorations for clients. While at the Catholic boarding High School, I had my first encounter with a wonderful teacher who coached me and taught me music. After one year I had a four octave range and could sing high soprano down to bass, but I enjoyed singing Soprano because it was the easiest. One day during my water aerobics class in Bella Vista I was singing with the music when Helen Smiley heard me and asked me to join the Perfect Harmony group. After a few weeks I came to a practice and I was HOOKED! The group is so welcoming and loving, I am grateful to Helen, Karen and all the girls who participate. Now, when Perfect Harmony calls, I’M READY!” Kathy
The most rewarding event in Kathy’s lifetime is “acknowledging to the Lord that I am 86 years old and still alive, when all my relatives and friends have already passed”. Kathy would like to visit Disney World and revisit the Badlands and the Black Hills. She has several fond memories of traveling from Wisconsin to California with their 9 children (and a babysitter) and stopping in the Dakotas. Some trips they hauled a camper and packed a tent so they could explore the area on the way. Her favorite colors are blue, particularly aqua. When Kathy first wheeled into the church parking lot for rehearsal in her little red convertible, you knew she was a woman you would want to know! She has shared many interesting stories that have made us laugh. Her dedication and support for the chorus is obvious when she walks into rehearsal with a smile. Undoubtedly, there will be more chapters that will be added to her life story, her experiences with Perfect Harmony will be one!
Katie Scherz, Bass (occasionally Baritone)
Katie is one member that has had an exciting career with Barbershop groups, here is her story.
In 1951 in Peoria, Illinois at 14 years old I was asked to sing Baritone in a quartet called "The Mellowaires". My sister sang bass. The quartet felt that even though I was young I could handle the Baritone part. I surprised them and did better than they expected! Then in 1958 I joined a struggling Sweet Adeline chorus in Fairbury, Illinois and chartered with them singing Bass. I drove 15 miles to rehearsal each week. In 1963 I moved to East Moline, Illinois and immediately found a Sweet Adeline Chapter and a Harmony, Inc. chorus to sing with. I was in seventh heaven singing with both groups for several years. One quartet I sang Baritone with called “Chord Teasers" decided to get serious and compete in the Harmony Inc. International competition. I decided why not? We competed 4 times and placed 5th in Ottawa, Canada in 1967, 4th in Hamilton, Ontario in 1968 and 2nd in Burlington, Vermont in 1969. We FINALLY, won the International Title of "HARMONY QUEENS" in 1970 in Providence, Rhode Island. It was a wonderful time during our year of reign doing Barbershop shows all over the United States. Flying to and from at their expense and being featured on their annual shows. We even made an LP record during that time. After The Chord Teasers broke up, I started a new quartet called "Moline Tradition". I was singing Baritone. We had top notch coaching and it paid off. We won the competition in Harmony Inc International competition the 1st time on stage in Montreal, Quebec in 1973. We spent a year of traveling to and from shows. Another wonderful year. “Being part of the winning quartet two times in Harmony Inc. competition is a special Personal Accomplishment for me.”
I married Chuck Scherz in 1968. Chuck also sang Barbershop harmony and loved the hobby as much as I did. I was singing Baritone in 1976 with a Sweet Adeline quartet called "IV Part AlaCarte". We competed in a Regional Contest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and WON the Regional award. That win allowed us to compete in the Sweet Adeline International contest in Cincinnati, Ohio. What a RIDE for six years. I was the luckiest girl alive. In l977 Chuck & I purchased a fishing resort in Minnesota. The nearest Sweet Adeline chorus was 65 miles away in Fargo, North Dakota. I drove it once a week for 18 years to sing Bass. The Fargo chorus did place 1st in AA Division in San Antonio, TX in 1993 at International Competition. In the winter Chuck & I would become Snowbirds and found groups to sing in such as Sweet Adeline and Harmony, Inc choruses in Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Iowa, across Illinois and Texas. My 'favorite' time was singing with the Houston Horizon chorus for 3 winters. They were top notch and worked hard. I was 1 of about 70 members.
I sang with a group in Joplin, Missouri for 6 years driving 50 miles to rehearsals. In Arkansas, I helped charter the Sweet Adeline group and also started the quartets "Special Design", "On-the-Go" and most recent "Persnickety". My most memorable time was when the Harmonaires (a group I sang with from Illinois) called me in Bella Vista to ask if I could learn 12 songs in 2 weeks singing Baritone for a couple of important performances in Illinois and a biggie in Florida and I DID IT. They sent me a tape to listen to and it was in my ear for 2 solid weeks. That was the only way I could learn the songs since I don't read music. Those two jobs didn’t pay well, but I had a great time! Barbershop singing is a wonderful hobby that I've enjoyed for 66 years now. I’ve counted over 14 groups I have sang with, which include mixed quartets of men & women. I just gotta hear those Barbershop Chords, I love Barbershop! Katie
Although Katie no longer sings competitively, she continues to use her harmonizing skills in our Perfect Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus. During the time Katie was so active in competition singing she also had a career of a Caregiver for 40 years. With all she has accomplished she considers her most rewarding events to be her “two beautiful daughters and four wonderful step children.”
Yellow and blue are her favorite colors (no surprise here! they reflect her blue skies & sunny disposition).
Hats Off! To Katie for her years of Barbershop experience and her love of MUSIC.
Karen Frankenfeld, Director
We feel fortunate to have a Director with the experience and dedication of Karen Frankenfeld. Perfect Harmony was started in 1999 by Karen when she was asked to start a women’s barbershop chorus in Bella Vista after the Sweet Adeline chorus lost its director. She will celebrate 20 years of directing our chorus this fall, 2019. Barbershop singing has been a part of Karen’s life for many years giving her a resource of tunes that account for the variety of songs we have in our portfolio. These songs may include classics from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, modern pop, seasonal songs, patriotic, gospel and novelty numbers. Some songs give her an opportunity to add a special touch to the arrangement and to let the women have a little fun with it for audience appeal. Arrangements in Barbershop style are four part harmony. Karen researches a wide variety of music before selecting a song for the chorus to sing. Her vision of our Perfect Harmony Barbershop Women’s Chorus was to have a group of women that would have fun singing and entertaining others. And she has done just that, as well as encouraging a sisterhood relationship within the chorus.
Before coming to Bella Vista Karen retired from 38 years of teaching in Missouri and Iowa where she taught high school Vocal and Band music. She received her Master’s Degree in 1968 and was recognized as Outstanding Alumni at Park University in 1983. Her directing experience also includes Sweet Adeline choruses and church choirs. However, her most rewarding events in her lifetime were “marrying my husband Bob, now deceased, having two wonderful children and hosting 8 exchange students from all over the world”. Another rewarding event for Karen is “having four grandchildren all in their 20’s who are busy with their lives but make time to visit grandma 2 to 3 times a year.” She credits their parents for having done a great job with them. (No doubt those parents learned their parenting skills from Karen and Bob.)
In her spare time she enjoys reading magazines, watching sports and game shows. For 16 years she has found time to volunteer at NW Medical Hospital and currently sings in the BV Women’s Chorus.
A train trip across the NW United States and returning by way of LA and KC, is on her bucket list. If you visit Karen in her home you will see that she has an interest in antiques and amazing South West décor.
Purple is our Director’s favorite color, she looks good in our purple outfit!
Thank you Karen for your dedication to Perfect Harmony and the love of Barbershop music that you share with us.