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Thankful Thoughts

By Meryl Kelleher

This is the time of year for giving thanks. We have so many blessings in our lives. Chief among them is the fact that we are Sweet Adelines, and members of the amazing South Florida Jubilee Chorus. I asked our members what they are thankful for:

I am thankful for all the women and men who give their time and talent to this wonderful and rewarding organization and that I am still able to be a part of it. I am thankful for the members of SFJ and for the opportunity to meet new friends from many cities and states. – Barbara Parga

I am thankful for a place I can go and share my passion for singing with an amazing group of ladies! - Laura Knowles

I am thankful that I can take the time each week to share in learning, laughter, and song with so many kind, passionate people. - Victoria Purvis

I am thankful to be a partner with all of us who share in the joys of creating harmonious sound. Pythagorean theory, “The Music of the Spheres” taught us that there is a harmonious universe of which we are a part and one of the ways to promote joy, peace and healing is to be as one in sound. I recently learned that each planet and the Sun emit a unique sound that is in perfect harmony with each other. Unfortunately scientists have noted that at this moment the earth sounds are more dense, sounding like we are chugging along and not in sync with the others. I experience immense joy in our singing and knowing that our harmonizing can play a part in re-aligning the world so we are once again in harmony with our galaxy neighbors. It’s no accident that our Sweet Adeline’s motto is called “Harmonize the World”.- Arlene Louis

I'm thankful for the many wonderful friends I've met in Sweet Adelines. They were certainly there for me when I had my heart attack a year ago on Nov. 11th by visiting me in the hospital and sending such lovely get well cards. I know it all helped in my recovery and I appreciated all the kindness shown me. I'm also thankful to all of you for making this year’s luncheon & fashion show a big success. – Doris Pfenniger

I think I am just thankful for the music and the friendship. Sometimes on Thursday night when I was tired from a hard week’s work, I always knew that singing with everyone would make all the stress go way! When I come home from Chorus, I always have a ton more energy and a new lease on life! Music really does soothe the spirit! - Linda Arnold

I grew up singing harmony, but I didn’t sing for a lot of years. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to sing every week and to learn how to be a better singer. Plus, joining South Florida Jubilee two years ago introduced me to a new group of friends.-Teresa Mears

I’m thankful for the joy of singing with a great group of ladies from many diverse backgrounds and age ranges, and for the new friendships I’ve been making with them all. – Alice SIlverstein

From my earliest memories, music was part of my life, of our family life. Until I went to high school, the focus was always on instrumental music - violin and bassoon. In high school, I joined the chorus and sang alto (because I could read music). The music I knew then was always classical. Joining South Florida Jubilee and becoming a Sweet Adeline, was my first experience of singing a cappella. I love the challenge of harmony and ringing chords with other women. As we have become an ensemble in producing exquisite sound that cannot be produced by other than the human voice, so too, have we knit our lives together in lasting friendship. I am so thankful that Winifred Graham, a former member, kept after me to join South Florida Jubilee long before I learned the magic of barbershop harmony a cappella style. – Ginger Ruoff

I feel grateful for all the friendly faces that have made me feel instantaneously part of the SFJ community. Music is my passion and I feel so lucky be part of a group that not only shares my interest but expresses them in a fun and beautiful way. Thank you SFJ!-Sara Jo Battat

I'm thankful for the opportunity to help grow a chorus whose primary effect is the empowerment of women.- Celeste Burke

I am thankful I found such a wonderful group of women with whom I could become friends...and can sing too!! – Vivian Ruggles

I am Reyna Rodriguez, and I was born in Victoria, Texas. I started drawing and singing when I was very little, around six-years-old, I wasn't a very good artist at that age, but I was definitely a beautiful born singer! I kept singing and drawing throughout the years, and by the time I was a teenager, I got better and better. When I was in middle school, I participated in the youth group choir at Blessed John the 23rd Roman Catholic Church, which is right across my street in Miramar, until I stopped when I was in high school. In high school, life was spectacular there, I was in the drama club, the choir we call 'Spartans in Harmony', AND the girls' soccer team! Everyone knew I had amazing talents, and that I was a very special person even with Asperger's Syndrome, a kind of disorder of Autism that's makes me do things completely different from other people, but I'm still very smart and sensible! One day, I hope I get to be a producer for TV and movie animation! Now I'm going to say what I'm thankful for, I am thankful for drawing, singing, my family, my friends like Angela because she's a sweetheart, and she's always there when I need advice, cheering up, or when I just want to chat with her about a lot of things, and I am also thankful for my pet puppy dog Clarinda because she's just so adorable, she's like a daughter to me, and every day when I come home from university, she's always there waiting for me, and she always cheers me up when my days get rough. – Reyna Rodriguez

Oh, there is so much to be grateful for in this organization. I could probably write a book about what I'm thankful for. But at this moment, as I start out as assistant director, I am most thankful for the support and encouragement that I have been given from the chorus. It is so much easier and less scary to stand in front of the chorus because I can feel the love coming from everyone. –Kimberly Heilbrun

I am thankful for the opportunity to practice and improve my lifelong craft with women whom I enjoy, respect, and appreciate. I am thankful for a kind, intelligent, generous, knowledgeable director who challenges us regularly, but is also patient with us when we’re just not “there” yet. I am thankful for the friendships which blossomed from a love of singing and performing, and have become so much more. I am thankful for the opportunity to share our talents and hard work with so many people locally and even globally! And I am thankful to be able to work with and learn from coaches who offer a wealth of tips, tricks, unique perspectives, and motivation.-Heather Elswick

I am thankful that I live in the same town with my children, grandchildren, and granddogs. I grew up spending every weekend with visits to grandparents. My move to Florida away from family was gut-wrenching. But here I am, a transplanted Floridian, who is able to enjoy weekly visits with my three adorable grandboys. They enjoy sleeping over, and Jackson even asks, "Mommy, when are you leaving?" I keep everyone's special snacks, and even--grudgingly--allow the giant golden retriever granddogs full rein on the family room and dips in the pool. Our holidays are like the ones from my childhood, with three generations filling two large tables, all answering the question that Mother used to ask, "What are you thankful for this year?"

I joined SFJ at the time I was retiring. I had always enjoyed singing, but had told my friend Barb Parga that I didn't have "time." That first night, I joked to her, "Why didn't you tell me how much fun this is???" SFJ has been a big part of my new life as a retiree. Not only has it allowed me to meet new friends and reconnect with a hobby I enjoy, but also it has allowed me to hone my skills and become a much better singer. The instruction James gives us every week makes me a better singer. Most importantly, I know that every Thursday night, I will come away with a positive feeling from the rehearsal. I had always heard that singing awakens positive endorphins. Indeed, it does. So I awaken them all week long, as I prepare for rehearsal, whether at home or singing away in my car, rehearse Thursday night, or participate in a performance also. - Carol Sheppard

And now thoughts from our wonderful director, James:

This is a tough question for me to answer because there are so many things that make me thankful to be a part of this chorus. I am thankful for all the friendships that I have and have made over the years. I'm thankful to work with a group of women who trust and respect me enough to allow me to be creative. I'm thankful for everything that I have learned about being a better director, musician and person. But mostly, if it wasn't for South Florida Jubilee, I most likely would not have met my wife and have the wonderful family I have today and for that, I am indescribably thankful. - James Kastler

I’d like to close with Lynne Guadamuz’s three simple words to describe her thankful thoughts about what our chorus means to her:




Blessings to all of our readers, as we celebrate with friends, family and sisters in harmony!

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