It was a clean sweep for Alaska at the Regional Championships for women’s barbershop groups held in Spokane, Washington this weekend (April 27-29) Alaska Sound Celebration, the Anchorage based group
which produces the highly popular Fur Rondy Melodrama, took the gold medal against opposition from 15 other groups from Alaska, Washington and Idaho.
The win means Alaska Sound Celebration – directed by Karen Leet of Palmer and Peggy McBride of Anchorage - will qualify for the Sweet Adelines World Championships in Hawaii in November 2013. The Chorus, comprising 60 women from Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, received a second gold medal for being the highest scoring group of its size.
But the success didn’t end there for Alaska. For the first time in 30 years the quartet competition was won by an Alaska quartet, “Backbeat.” “Backbeat” comprised Karen Leet, Cheryl Cullen and Carol
Bailey of Anchorage, and Katy Hawley of Washington. Katy stepped in to sing after Backbeat’s tenor Kathy Laymon of Anchorage was unable to travel to Spokane. Backbeat’s win means they are eligible
to compete at this year’s World Championships in Denver, Colorado.
“After coming second in the competition three times it’s a huge thrill to finally take the gold medal,”says Karen Leet. “We could not have done it without the love and support of our families and Alaska Sound Celebration. We are very excited to compete in Denver”.
But the weekend was also bitter-sweet for Karen. She has decided to return to her home state of Wisconsin with her family in the summer. She told the Chorus of her plans in January, leaving the members determined to send her off on a high note.
Peggy McBride, who will continue to direct Alaska Sound Celebration, paid tribute to her close friend and co-director. “When Karen and I suggested merging our two separate choruses five years ago, it was
with the aim of getting us to the World Championships. We have now qualified for a third time at our highest ever score. Despite our emotions at Karen’s decision to leave us, we were all determined to put
on our best ever performance for the judges as her crowning achievement in Alaska. We wish her well and thank her for all she has done to done for Alaska Sound Celebration.
Alaska Sound Celebration is now looking forward to recruiting new members to join the group for the Hawaii World Championships. Anyone interested should email email@example.com