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Gathering In Harmony Men Find A Common Voice In Singing Competition

Members of the Pages of Harmony did not need an excuse to sing.

The clock in Riverfront Park signaling the arrival of the noon hour and the ending of a post-performance photography session proved ample reason to whip the 45-man choral group into an encore performance in front of the Opera House.

The performance - complete with a line of leg kickers and a slightly more grown-up version of Ring Around the Rosey - drew cheers from a crowd of 40 or so who gathered to listen on Saturday afternoon.

The chorus had just moments earlier completed its performance in the 1995 Evergreen District Fall Convention and Competition inside the Opera House, but they were just getting warmed up.

“We’ll be singing informally at (Cavanaugh’s) Inn at the Park until the wee hours,” Larry Sundholm said.

Pages of Harmony, of Spokane, practices as a large chorus once a week at St. Paul’s Methodist Church and sets aside a little extra time on the weekends as competitions approach. Many of the chorus members also perform in quartets.

And though members estimated they spend a minimum of $500 a year on competitions, they said it was worth it.

“The camaraderie is excellent,” said Ron Reed, the chorus director.

“It’s competitive, but the spirit in most is having fun,” Sundholm added.

Pages of Harmony is made up of singers from all walks of life. Its collective resume includes such occupations as radio announcer, retired firefighter, retired physician, restaurant owner and various types of businessmen.

“Nobody really cares what profession anybody is, we’re all equal,” Don Tipke said. “When we’re down there to sing, we’re all friends.”

In fact, the ability to learn music is about the only requirement newcomers have to meet to join the Pages of Harmony.

“The old joke that goes around is that 60 percent of all barber-shoppers don’t read music, the other 40 percent don’t read,” Reed said. “Reading music is not a prerequisite.”

But it does take a bit of showmanship to don a brown robe and white cord and kick your hairy legs in front of thousands.

“You’ve got to be a little bit hammy of course,” Tipke said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo



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