In keeping with the theme of “Meet the SaddleBrooke Singers,” this month I’d like to introduce you to our singing couples. Throughout the years, the SB Singers have included not only individuals who love to sing, but many talented couples who have joined the musical journey.
In last month’s article, I introduced you to Flo and Dave Schlesinger, 15-year members who shared with me their enjoyment of the SaddleBrooke Singer experience. Now I’d like to spotlight the other six current “Singing Couples.” These members have been active in the organization for many years and I certainly look to them for their insight and expertise. Serving on the SB Singer board, holding all leadership positions in the club and participating in every aspect and at every level of SB Singer productions, these dynamic couples have done it all!
Our most recent singing couple is Bruce and Claudia Kistler, who bring with them a packed resume of musical experience. Lead and chorus roles in Gilbert and Sullivan productions, performing classical choral works by a variety of composers and singing/directing a four-part mixed quartet show the depth of their talents. The Kistlers met when Bruce was a church choir director and Claudia was his choir accompanist. Claudia says that they “are new to SBS, but the group already feels like home,” and that they hope to keep “adding what they can to the mix.” The SaddleBrooke Singers is fortunate to have these two accomplished musicians as members.
After a few years away from the group, it is so nice to have Jerry and Susan Gustafson back with the singers. These two harmonic tenor voices have lived in SaddleBrooke for almost 20 years and have been involved in a variety of musical endeavors. Both are graduates of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and they were members of their church choirs. Susan has also sung with the Sonoran Singers group, and Jerry continues to sing with the Canada del Oro Barbershop Chorus.
For those of you who have attended the SaddleBrooke Variety Shows over the years, you have no doubt witnessed the singing and dancing talents of two of our couples. Jim and Kathie Barrett and Sam and Laurie Page are great stage performers, who have delighted SaddleBrooke audiences for many years. In the SB Singer spring show, concertgoers were regaled with moments such as Jim’s Music Man portrayal and Sam and Kathie’s solos from My Fair Lady. A future article highlighting the officers of SB Singers will introduce you further to Jim and Kathie Barrett.
Laurie and Sam Page are long time members, with Sam joining in 2005 and Laurie a few years later. They were childhood sweethearts who have sung in various choirs throughout the years, including singing together as teenagers in church choir in Downey, California. The Pages say, “We love singing with the SaddleBrooke Singers and the friendships we have formed while being members.” Besides singing in SBS, Laurie is a member of the SilverBelles Performing Dance Team and has appeared as both singer and dancer in several Variety Shows. Sam had the privilege of dancing on stage with the SilverBelles in this year’s show. Sam also plays and sings with the Mele O Hawaii group and SaddleBrooke Jam.
While compiling information for this article I had the opportunity to visit with Jim and Barb Mackay. Members since the fall of 2000, they attended their first rehearsal under director Betty Little and liked it. They have always found the SB Singers to be a friendly and welcoming group. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. Their musical backgrounds include Barb’s piano playing and Jim playing drums, Barb’s lifelong church choir involvement and Jim’s experience as a choral member in his Penn State fraternity. They have both worn many hats in the organization, including all levels of committee and leadership positions. When asked which SaddleBrooke Singer shows they especially enjoyed, both Jim and Barb listed the recent themes of Broadway, ’50s and patriotic music as personal preferences. They told me that being a part of SaddleBrooke Singers is one of their favorite things about living in this community.
Whether you are an individual singer or a musical couple who are looking to add a rewarding activity to your schedule, the SaddleBrooke Singers would love to welcome you! Our rehearsals will kick off in September. The SaddleBrooke Singers Organization is comprised of SaddleBrooke residents and has been presenting programs to the community for almost 25 years. For more information about the SB Singers, please contact Jay Hansen at 520-271-8542.