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HERNANDO AND CITRUS COUNTY
Send a Singing Valentine!
By Donna Blevins, PhD
Forget the candy, cards, and flowers. Stop texting. Tell your loved ones how much you care by sending them a Singing Valentine. It’s an affordable Valentine gift they will remember forever.
Over the years, I have personally received numerous Singing Valentines, as well as Singing Telegrams, and I remember every single one. From my point of view, they are heart-warming and worth far more than spending money on fleeting memories.
According to ABC News, in 2017, 54 percent of Americans were expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day and spend upwards of $18.2 billion – an average of $136.57 per person. Compare this to a Singing Valentine personally delivered by the Hernando Harmonizers for the bargain basement price of only $40!
How to Send a Singing Valentine
For two days, February 13-14, from 8 am to 6 pm, barbershop-style quartets will touch hearts in their three countywide travels – southern Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco. Singing Valentines come complete with two love songs, a silk rose, a card, and a photo that is taken and printed on the spot.
Imagine surprising your husband, wife, or partner at home, at a restaurant, or even in a beauty salon, or barber shop. Consider the joy you send to your grown kid at college or in their work place, or to a loved one in a nursing home.
The Director of the Hernando Harmonizers, Doug Stewart, has devoted six decades to singing. His most moving experience was singing to patients at a hospice. Stewart said, “When we sang, we’d see their eyes open and see their hands tap. The staff stood by and smiled with tears in their eyes.”
In 2016, CNN reported that one Singing Valentine experienced an “emotional serenade” involving an elderly man in a nursing home, who apparently had not spoken to anyone for quite a while, even his family. “When the quartet started singing, ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart,’ he smiled and sang along with them.”
Singing Crosses Cultural and Generational Lines
Music goes across every spectrum and touches the heart. Sound therapies have long been used for relaxation and restoring one’s health. Singing clearly crosses cultural and generational lines while uplifting the mindset and lowering stress.
Up until 2017, under the umbrella of The Barbershop Harmony Society, the Hernando Harmonizers brought “men together in harmony and fellowship to enrich lives through singing.” Now, they have opened their doors and are welcoming women into the membership.
As a charitable organization, the Hernando Harmonizers raise money for worthy causes, including: the Pasco Hospice, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and honoring the military. Last year, they raised $7,000 to honor a police officer, who lost his life in the line of duty. They accomplished this feat by filling the 1,000 seats at the Northcliffe Baptist Church in Spring Hill.
Today, membership spans five generations, from ages 40 to 88. In the past, high school students, as young as 14, joined. Parent approval is required for those under 16.
The high schoolers join for a few years, and after graduating from high school, generally move onto college or to work out of the area.
Today’s youngest member, at 40, is Jack Voorhies, who stepped up to accept the responsibility of being the public relations director. Voorhies said, “For me, being a member of the Harmonizers is my way of untethering from the workplace.”
In high school, Voorhies was in a quartet and did what they called “woodshedding,” finding a place to practice without being heard. During college, he studied music and was in a rock and roll band. For him, singing barbershop-style “bridges generations.”
At a recent Monday night weekly rehearsal, there were three women and 30 men. Women singers of all ages are now welcome and are eligible to become associate members of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Singing and music are more of a therapy than most people openly acknowledge. In May 2017, Inc. Online magazine wrote, “In this age of constant bombardments, the science is clear: if you want your mind and body to last, you’ve got to prioritize giving them a rest. Music is an easy way to take some of the pressure off of all the pings, dings… texts, emails… and deadlines that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious.”
Regardless of gender, if you enjoy singing, I encourage you to drop by the Hernando Harmonizers Monday night rehearsal at the Nativity Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, in Weekie Wachee. Guests are welcome. They open doors at 6 pm and sing from 6:30 pm to 9:15 pm.
In the meantime, you can decide who deserves a Singing Valentine, and give Paul a call, at 352-684-5267. Leave your contact information, and someone will follow up to get the details.
About Donna Blevins, PhD. Donna is a mindshift expert and author of MindShift On Demand: QUICK Life-Changing Tools. Visit the book site www.MindShiftOnDemand.com and reach her at Donna@DonnaBlevins.com.
Hernando Harmonizers surprised this student at school with a Singing Valentine. Submitted photo
Hernando Harmonizers go to a bowling alley to surprise this lady. Submitted photo.
The Director of the Hernando Harmonizers, Doug Stewart
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