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Harmony Chorus offers lessons

Angie Mack describes Lawton Harmony Chorus as a "fellowship of women" with a common goal: to sing.

Mack has been director of the Lawton branch of Sweet Adelines International for 11 years. Even though it has taken on many names, Lawton's branch has been going strong for 49 years. She said the women have been through it all, together.

"The fellowship with other women has helped so many women through many, many things, whether it be becoming a widow or a divorcee or a husband deployed, we're there for each other," she said. "It's like a fellowship of women, and we all have one common goal, and that is to sing in such beautiful chords  it's that common bond that we have."

Lawton Harmony Chorus is a women's a cappella barbershop group, which gets together for practices weekly on Monday at Westminster Presbyterian Church. But starting Monday, the chorus will add a different aspect to its regular schedule. The chorus will offer free vocal lessons for the month of September during its practices to anyone 16 and up. The lessons cover a variety of topics for those interested in honing their vocal skills, including posture, breathing, tone, how to get the most out of your voice, vowel matching and, of course, barbershop fundamentals.

"And unlike other years, we're going to be doing a lot of singing," Mack said. "I'm teaching two songs, and we have learning tracks, so it'll be easy for them to learn it. And if they want to bring a recorder to record those sessions, they're encouraged to do so. We have a tag book, and it's a book with hundreds of songs, and that's how you get the barbershop sound  you start listening to that barbershop chord, and it's easy to pick up when you hear all that. And right now, a cappella is the thing."

Each lesson will begin with vocal and some physical warm-ups that, according to Mack, helps prepare one's voice. She also believes singing is good for one's health. As a person who has undergone open heart surgery, she can speak from experience.

"For one thing, it teaches you to breathe," she said. "There's so many health benefits to breathing and you start to relax once you start singing. And it's a known fact that it's good for your health."

The Lawton Constitution

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