Sweet Adelines perform for hometown


The San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines, including La Jolla residents Marina Hayden and Veda Palmer, will perform on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church.

The chorus has been entertaining audiences with their notable a cappella, four-part harmony style for more than 53 years. The 150+ member ensemble has received international acclaim with numerous awards, medals and competition wins.

Hayden said she is looking forward to the upcoming performance in La Jolla, not only because she is from the community, but because she’s also a member of La Jolla Presbyterian Church.

Married, mother of three children ages 8, 9 and 12, and employed as a technical review editor, Hayden joined the chorus when she relocated from Chicago in 1993.

“I was introduced to this style of singing when I was in high school,” Hayden said.

Barbershop is four-part harmony – tenor, lead (melody), baritone and bass – performed without musical accompaniment.

Hayden sings bass, putting in at least three hours of practice time every Wednesday. Holiday performances or special events may require additional rehearsals. The group also holds weekend retreats, coaching sessions and quartet rehearsals.

“It’s one of those hobbies that can, at times, be more encompassing,” Hayden said. “We are expected to go over things. Just like anything you do, you need to practice on your own.”

Another element to the Sweet Adelines’ performances is choreography. Their shows feature swing dancing, rock ‘n’ roll, Broadway and country.

One of the dynamics that keeps Hayden involved with the Sweet Adelines is the sense of family shared among the singers.

“You’re standing, rehearsing with these women for hours on end,” Hayden said. “You develop friendships and bonds that surpass regular friendship. Many women in the chorus are like each other’s family.”

Veda Palmer, a chorus member for two years, finds motivation and fulfillment from another source.

“I love the fact that the San Diego Chorus (has) such a high level of musical quality,” Palmer said. “The chorus has won international competitions before and placed really high other years.”

Palmer shares her love of singing with her husband, a six-year member of the men’s Sun Harbor chorus. She squeezes in rehearsal time between her job as a software developer at Pfizer and taking care of her 7-month-old son.

The technical demands of barbershop make it more than a hobby for Palmer.

“Musically, I’ve learned a lot about … how to sing well,” she said, citing improvement to her vocal technique, better tuning and refined resonance. “

Because there is no instrument to keep singers in tune, they must learn to stay in the right key. Listening to other voices and learning the relationship between the different notes in the chords takes a great deal of time and practice.

“Music written for barbershop is beautiful,” Palmer said. “Visually, it’s very energetic. People have a lot of fun doing the performances.”

San Diego Chorus responds to requests from churches, business owners, community groups and private residents. They have performed at Petco Park and SeaWorld.

One of their most popular events, which serves as a fund raiser for the organization, is their annual Singing Valentines offered on Feb. 14.

The chorus is raising money to attend an international competition in Hawaii later this year.

La Jolla Presbyterian Church is located at 7715 Draper Ave. Tickets are not required, and child care is available. For concert information, call (858) 729-5531. To learn more about the San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines and upcoming performances, visit