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Suncoast Harmony Chorus brings Broadway to New Port Richey

The stage at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge will swirl with music, dance and color when the Suncoast Harmony Chorus performs its annual big show, this year titled "Steppin' Out on Broadway," on Feb. 21.

The group is a part of Sweet Adelines International, the world's largest singing group for women.

The Suncoast program includes Another Openin', Another Show from Kiss Me, Kate; I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair from South Pacific; Give My Regards to Broadway from 1904's Little Johnny Jones; Tonight from West Side Story, plus many others from Broadway and the movies.

The show is more than singing; the 35 members add movement to most numbers and dancing to others, all in full costume, said Betty Warrick, a longtime member.

The choreographer is Cindy La Porte of Spring Hill, who was the group's president for three years. She has been a member of Sweet Adelines for 28 years and with Suncoast since 1993.

Members drive from all over Citrus, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties to the weekly rehearsals at Gulf High School. They perform for civic and social organizations in several counties and, once a year, put on a really big show with a new theme and guest artists.

Special guests this year are the Ditchfield Family Singers, a dozen singers from three generations of the Ditchfield family: mom, dad, six kids and four grandchildren. The group has performed on the 700 Club television show several times and it does an annual Christmas concert at the Sarasota Opera House.

The family's quartet — dubbed "My Three Sons," indicating father and three sons — was the 2003 Florida State Championship Barbershop Quartet.

The Ditchfield Family sings songs from the 1930s, '40s and '50s, including Broadway show tunes, but they won't be doing the same songs Suncoast does, Ms. Warrick said.

The Suncoast Harmony Chorus is celebrating its 23rd birthday this year; its 35 members range in age from late 20s to mid 80s.

The group is revving up for statewide competition in April. Last year, the group won second place in the "small chorus" division at Daytona Beach. It was named "Most Improved Chorus" in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was in the Top 10 Overall in 2002 against choruses three times its size.

Some members have been with the group since its inception, but others come and go. Still others have joined in recent years.

The director is Amy Riddle, who is also the chorus director for Gulf High School.

The master of ceremonies will be Rosemary Mc­Ateer.

if you go

On Broadway

What: Suncoast Harmony Chorus in "Steppin' Out on Broadway"

Where: Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey

When: 2 p.m. Feb. 21

Tickets: $12, open seating. Call (352) 597-4376 or (727) 857-4525 or send checks payable to Suncoast Harmony at 14275 Brookridge Blvd., Brooksville 34613. Also available at the center's box office one hour before the show.

Suncoast Harmony Chorus brings Broadway to New Port Richey 02/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:50pm]
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