Sweet-singing sisters live together in harmony
The family that sings together clings together.
That's certainly the case with Linda Wilson, Joyce Fetherolf and Barb Lowe. The sisters live together in harmony in the Forest Park neighborhood of north Columbus and harmonize together as members of the Scioto Valley Chorus, a Sweet Adelines International musical group now in its 25th year of existence.
The Dublin-based award-winning chorus, directed by the mother-daughter team of Char Gurney and Kerry Denino, will perform again at this year's Northland International Community Festival, which has been expanded to include the North Side Health Advisory's annual health fair.
Pared down from its two-day inaugural showing and moved up from the original August date, the festival and health fair will take place June 22 in and around the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd.
The hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Scioto Valley Chorus is scheduled to perform from 1 to 2 p.m., along with some of the quartets within the group.
Nicknamed "Sister Sledge" after the 1970s singing group composed of four sisters from Philadelphia, Lowe and Fetherolf will be on hand with their singing mates.
"The tie that binds us is a love of four-part harmony, a desire to be an entertaining and exciting chorus and a love and support for each other as a 'family' of singers," according to the SVC website.
The Northland sisters take that family approach to a whole new level.
Wilson, 61, was the first to join the Scioto Valley Chorus 10 or 12 years ago. She'd been in various Sweet Adelines groups, the female counterpart to barbershop quartets, since 1977. Wilson said she was dating a member of a barbershop quartet at the time.
"I just fell in love with the four-part harmony, so the attraction was the music," she said.
After joining the chorus, Wilson said she discovered she had so much in common with the other members.
"You have friends for life," she added.
It was Fetherolf's turn in 2002.
"Linda dragged me in," Fetherolf, 60, said. "I was screaming and kicking the whole way. Then I got there and actually found that I liked it. She'd been trying to get me to go for years, and I ran out of excuses."
Two out of three wasn't bad, Wilson thought, but why not go for a trifecta and bring younger sister Lowe, 56, into the mix?
"It was the same thing: Linda dragged me," Lowe said.
Now, wild horses couldn't get her to leave.
"I fell in love with it, too," Lowe said. "Barbershop is one of those things that you either love it or you hate it."
"I think it's because I made so many good friends," Fetherolf said. "You see them every week unless they're on vacation. We're a very close-knit group. It's just good clean fun and you just make a lot of good friends."
The sisters have been living together in the Northland area since 2002, after Wilson and Fetherolf returned to Columbus from some time spent living in Atlanta. Wilson was living alone at the time.
"We just kind of imposed ourselves on her, and we've been here ever since," Wilson said. "We found we could share expenses that way. We're very close as a family, so that worked to our benefit also."
The performance by the Scioto Valley Chorus at what was called the Northland Community International Festival last August was well-received, the sisters said, and they are looking forward to singing for the crowd again.
"We have a repertoire that we will sing, but it's a little bit of all kinds of music," Wilson said. "It's not just old barbershop standards. We do some more modern songs also. We pretty much cover all age groups."
"We always generally get a good audience response because they're not expecting that it's not just the old barbershop," Fetherolf added. "I think we completely surprised people."
"I would say that everybody enjoyed it, and that makes it even more fun to do when you see people are enjoying," Lowe said.