Singing breaks through shyness

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sheena Griffin of Chelsea readily admits that she’s very shy. But her love for singing helped her summon up the courage to audition for an international prize––winning vocal group.

And in March of this year, she sang in a regional competition in Chattanooga with Harmony Hills, a Birmingham–based women’s chorus that’s part of Sweet Adelines International. The group placed first in the small chorus division, fourth in the overall competition and, as they later discovered, ninth worldwide.

Griffin most recently sang in an Aug. 9 concert at Oak Mountain High School, where the chorus shared the stage with Three On A String.

Interspersed between songs that night were comedy routines. King’s husband Ben, along with Tommy Brown, drew many laughs as “Grumpy Old Men.”

When King first joined Harmony Hills, she sang baritone, a part her niece now sings.

“That’s a hard part to sing,” she said. “Sheena has the hardest part.”

“It does hop around a lot,” Sheena laughed.

But she loves the challenge of learning new songs and new parts, she said. And singing in the chorus helps her overcome her shyness enough to lead music at her home church, the K-Springs Church of God.

For Harmony Hills’ Christmas Concert last December, Griffin wore pajamas, her hair in pigtails and carried a stuffed toy.

“The Holiday Chorus is kind of an introduction to people who might be interested in becoming a member,” she said. “They have open night for tryouts, so you can see what it’s like.”

With her aunt Debra King of Columbiana there, she didn’t feel quite so shy auditioning, Griffin said. King, who sings bass with Harmony Hills, joined the group in 1996.

“Women of any age can try out,” she said.

Griffin, who recently turned 26, is the youngest member of Harmony Hills. Others range in ages up to around 70.

Sweet Adelines International is a not–for–profit women’s educational organization which promotes barbershop singing. Women in Sweet Adelines often form lasting friendships.

King plans to attend the Sweet Adelines International Convention in Honolulu in November. Both women plan to attend the International Convention in Tennessee next year.