Lavina Sweitzer of Spokane got the barbershop singing bug some 30 years ago and hasn’t been able to shake it since.
“Some people golf. Some people bowl. I’m a Sweet Adeline,” Sweitzer said.
Sweitzer is one of 1,000 Sweet Adelines in Spokane this weekend for a regional competition and convention at the Opera House.
Performances by chorus groups start at noon today, and a concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. Winners from the weekend competition will qualify to perform at an international convention in New Orleans later this year.
On Friday, about 200 of the barbershop-style singers performed a free concert on the Opera House steps in Riverfront Park.
“It’s the singing and the camaraderie,” said Sweitzer, a bass voice in the group’s Lilac City chapter. “These are the best friends of my life.”
Many of the convention-goers were dressed in costumes Friday, including a pair who wore a horse outfit, and a group of Renton women dressed as singing nuns. Their habits included black garbage bags and white crepe paper.
Joan Sneva, the mother of race car driver Tom Sneva, has been in the Sweet Adelines for almost 40 years. She said the singing has kept her busy while other members of her family go away to races.
Her group, the Classified Ads, does charitable concerts at hospitals and nursing homes. They belong to the Spokane Falls chapter.
“We love all the old songs,” said Sneva, who sings bass. “It’s fun.”
The Sweet Adelines have about 100 members in Spokane, and that’s one reason the regional convention has been held here year after year since the 1960s, Sneva said. Once every four years, the convention is held in another city to give the local members a break from the work of putting on the show, she said.