History of Sweet Adelines

SAI_logoHistory of Sweet Adelines International

After World War II, barbershop singing was growing increasingly popular for men. In 1945, a small group of women wanted to participate in the chord-ringing, fun-filled harmony that the men were singing. So these women organized “Sweet Adelines in America.” From its humble beginnings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sweet Adelines International, as it is now called, has grown to a membership of almost 30,000 women in countries all across the globe. Geographically, there are more than 600 Sweet Adelines chapters located throughout the U.S. and 11 other nations. Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances.

A Sweet Adelines chorus is a musical asset to its community. Sweet Adelines choruses regularly entertain at civic events and charitable functions. Proceeds from performances often are shared with scholarship funds, health care and social services programs, and the arts and humanities. Sweet Adelines promote harmony, friendship, self-esteem and the sense of belonging among women of all ages, races, ethnic backgrounds and levels of performance readiness.

As Sweet Adelines International grows in size, stature and scope, it remains committed to recognizing talent within its membership. Local chapters are the laboratories where members receive basic training in barbershop harmony. Material that supports music education has been created by members. Programs designed and developed internally identify and train members as music leaders and teachers, contest judges, arrangers, and administrators. These opportunities for growth and volunteer commitment are available to all who take advantage of them. Sweet Adelines perpetuate barbershop music – one of a few forms of music native to the United States.

Singing and friendships are the main reasons members join and stay with Sweet Adelines. Our singing hobby allows you to get involved with performing and competitions, which add excitement and challenge to your musical experience. Many members find that their self-confidence grows as they learn skills they may have never known before.

Young Women in Harmony is an outreach program for secondary school-through college-level voices. Member-developed student songbooks, educators’ guides, videotapes and audio cassettes are provided gratis.


What is Barbershop?

Barbershop music, is close, unaccompanied four-part harmony with ringing chords. The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonizing above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completing the chord. The barbershop harmony of today is a highly stylized art form requiring the same high degree of singing skill as other types of choral music. Barbershop has a varied repertoire suitable for many occasions. The music includes special arrangements of today’s ballads and upbeat songs, popular show tunes, and even jazz. Choruses range in size from 15 to 150 or more, and members have found this singing style a challenging and exciting musical experience.