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Sweet Adelines International is a world-wide women's organization devoted to developing the musical art-form of barbershop through education and performance. The organization had its 50-year celebration in 1995.

Barbershop music, with its close, unaccompanied four-part harmonies and ringing chords, is a uniquely American folk art. It evolved in much the same way as other forms of vocal music. Although no one can say exactly when or where barbershop music began, the growth of the tradition was certainly aided between the 1860s and 1920s by the types of songs popular at the time -- songs characterized by sentimental lyrics and uncomplicated melodies that could be harmonized with a variety of four-part chords.

Why did women organize to sing barbershop harmony? For many years people believed that barbershop harmony was best suited to men's voices. Not so! Anything as nostalgic, as poignantly sweet, as romantically and historically interesting as barbershop harmony -- anything as colorful and fascinating in its costuming and dramatic possibilities has certain and potent appeal for women.

Sweet Adelines International, a nonprofit music education organization for women, was founded in 1945. Today the organization has more than 30,000 members in more than 600 chapters in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and six countries in Europe.

The reigning International Champion Quartet is Signature Sound from Baltimore, Maryland. The current International Champion Chorus is North Metro from Toronto Canada directed by Judy Dale. These singers will hold their titles until September 2000, when, in Orlando, Fl. the 2000 international champions will be chosen.

Sweet Adelines International's President is Rita Hull from Virginia. She oversees the work of a 13-member international board of directors responsible for managing the annual $3.7 million budget.

The mission of the organization is to advance the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performance. Through its outreach program, Young Women in Harmony, educational materials about the art form are distributed free to any vocal music teacher who requests the information.

The international headquarters is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Women interested in learning more about the organization go to the Sweet Adelines web site or call