A Chorus of Good Cheer



Ella Fitzgerald once quipped, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

That sentiment resonates with the Hilton Head Shore Notes, an all-female a cappella chorus that ushers in every holiday season by performing a repertoire of new and traditional holiday songs at local retirement homes.

“It’s just joyous,” says Marcia Cornell, who has been with the group for more than 20 years and currently serves as publicity chairperson. “We see a lot of happy faces in the audience.”

Clad in matching outfits that blend with the Christmas season’s emphasis on shades of red and green, the group always adds a bit of spice (perhaps distributing a cache of candy canes or twirling bright red boas) and humor (you’ll always spot a pair of reindeer ears or a festive Christmas tree on someone’s head) to liven up a performance.

“We try to make it interesting and fun,” explains Cornell. While a group of five women started the Hilton Head Shore Notes back in 1997, today’s version consists of nearly 24 women who reside in Beaufort and Jasper counties, which is why the chorus recently moved their practice location from Hilton Head Island to the Okatee Baptist Church in Ridgeland. Visitors and prospective new members are welcome to attend their Monday evening rehearsals.

In 2001, the group was chartered to be a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, which uses the four-part harmony of barbershop quartets.

“I’m a tenor, which is the range of a first soprano,” says Cornell. “The lead sings the melody, the bass is the foundation of the chord, the baritone provides the intricate harmony, and the tenor is the high, light harmony.”

The Shore Notes are well known for their holiday performances, but they also produce an annual show with portions of their proceeds donated to a local organization’s music program.

They annually compete in the Region 9 Chorus Competition in Daytona, Fla., where they have won medals in the Small Chorus Division. Passionate about singing in the community, the Shore Notes ensemble recently participated in Hilton Head Plantation’s Veterans Day event.

Throughout the year either the entire chorus, a smaller ensemble or their in-house quartet is available for hire to perform at weddings, deliver singing Valentines and entertain at community and private functions. The Shore Notes, directed by Iris Christ, will kick off their holiday caroling at The Shops at Sea Pines Center on Dec. 1 before heading to The Bayshore, TidePointe, The Seabrook, The Cypress and Indigo Pines in the following weeks.

To learn more, visit hiltonheadshorenotes.com