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‘Laugh-In’ revisited through song at Clark Center

‘There’s always a song in my heart,” Judy Beach said when asked why she loves singing in the Celebration Chorus — the San Luis Obispo County chapter of the larger Sweet Adelines International group.

The Grover Beach woman has been a member for three years but has been singing since 1967, starting in Minnesota.

The Celebration Chorus is currently rehearsing for its June 26 concert at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. The theme this year is Laugh-In Revisited, based on the popular NBC television show from 1968 to 1973, which was hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The show’s roots were in vaudevillian humor.

Members will be presenting skits representing the different characters from the show and singing songs from the era.

Skits involve “Goldie” (Hawn) played by Karen Betancourt, “Cher” played by Shar TerBorch, a go-go dancer played by Debi Chew and “Henrietta Gibson” (Henry Gibson) done by Sally Bullock. There is also “Dani” Rowan played by Dani Prigge and “Dixie” played by Stacy Martin, representing Rowan and Martin.

“Gladys,” originally played by Ruth Buzzi, gets to whack “Tyrone” with her purse. The “Poet” holds a huge flower and reads offbeat poems, while the “Judge” strides across the stage introduced by the phrase, “Here comes de judge.”

Some of the songs that will be performed include “Feeling Groovy,” “Put the Lime in the Coconut,” “So Happy Together,” “I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Something in the Way She Moves.”

Prigge of Shell Beach has been the director for five years and was a charter member 10 years ago, but has been a Sweet Adeline around the country for 32 years. Her quartet won the championship for the International Queen of Harmony, for which she has a crown.

Prigge started singing solos professionally at age 10 in Southern California, then moved on to be the lead singer in folk groups and bands there and in Utah. She still does some solo work.

Sally Buccola of Avila Beach is president and show chairman of the chorus. She explained that while the show at the Clark Center is the biggest one they perform each year, the chorus also performs a holiday show, sings at Mission San Luis Obispo in August for Creative Women’s Day and most recently performed at the Strawberry Festival in Arroyo Grande.

Beach gets “a lot of satisfaction in singing songs that speak to the heart.”

“You get friendships that last for a lifetime,” she said of maintaining friendships from her Minnesota days many years ago.

Beach, a charter member there, has also sung in the Los Angeles area and has sung every part, including bass and soprano. She has a very broad voice range and currently sings lead or melody.

She also has done song arranging in Minnesota and would like to do more of it.

Beach explains that there are two basic kinds of barbershop singing:

1. uptunes and ballads as the mainstay of traditional barbershop; and

2. expanding from the traditional to more contemporary, gospel, opera and art songs.

Beatles songs are in the latter category.

The “Laugh-In” show will be presented June 26 at the Clark Center at 2 and 7 p.m. For tickets, call 489-9444 or go to www.clarkcenter.org.

For information on joining the chorus, stop by a practice at Judkins Middle School in Pismo Beach on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m., or call Prigge at 773-3532 or Buccola at 595-7770.

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