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Harborlites Diva Day 2023 Update from Co-Chair, Sheree Mills

After a three-year absence from this in-person event, Harborlites hosted its 16th annual Diva Day music festival on Saturday, February 4th at the Robert B. Moore Theater on the campus of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. In attendance were 160 enthusiastic students from 16 different high schools from across Southern California who experienced a full day of barbershop immersion, culminating in a Festival Showcase at the end of the day, The showcase was open to friends, family and the general public

This year we were excited to have NAfME Award winner Melody Hine as our festival clinician. With her extensive barbershop background, Melody did a fantastic job of leading the students while also teaching some of the nuances that make barbershop music so cool. Melody was also the arranger of the three songs the students learned. Additionally, Melody created and taught choreography for the performance. Also joining the festival were the Rising Star Champions, The Valkyries, who assisted with section rehearsals. They preformed one song to kick off the morning activities and were the featured performers on the Festival Showcase. The youthful energy these women brought to the festival was relatable to all students who attended.

During the lunch break, choral directors met with Harborlites music team members and the festival clinicians to share successes and ideas on how to incorporate barbershop harmony into their curriculum. We shared information on how to access the free resources available through SAI. We promoted the upcoming Region 21 “Stars of the West” YWIH contest and offered to sponsor interested quartets. All of the directors expressed appreciation to Harborlites for organizing Diva Day and emphasized the enthusiasm it creates for their students. Since Diva Day, all participating schools have received information on the YWIH Video Contest.

The Festival Showcase was a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate the skills they has worked on during the day and to watch the Harborlites Chorus perform. The showcase also featured chapter quartets who enjoyed some “rug time” by performing one song. The final song of the show had both the Diva Day and Harborlites Choruses singing an arrangement of “Fight Song” together to a very appreciative audience.

The success of Diva Day reflects the dedication of Harborlites Director, Pam Pieson, and all of the Harborlites members who volunteer throughout the day. Plans are already underway for Diva Day 2024 to be held on Saturday, February 3rd. We’d love to see Region 21 represented in our audience, so save the date and plan to attend. Follow our Harborlites Instagram @harborlitesdivaday to view images of this unforgettable day of harmony.


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