Chorus charms lovebirds


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When Dianna Mosier went into work on Feb. 13, she got more than a sandwich at lunch time.

Mosier was told someone was looking for her outside, and she appeared from behind the counter at the Coralville Wal-Mart with a knowing, and slightly embarrassed, smile.

Four women dressed in silky, red jackets began singing a cappella for Mosier, with approximately 50 other Wal-Mart employees and customers looking on. While the quartet sang, Mosier blushed and fought off a smile.

“Even though it was embarrassing, the singing was very wonderful,” she said, joking that her husband must have had a “death wish” when hiring the quartet.

This is the second singing valentine that Mosier’s husband, Todd Mosier, 26, has given her in their almost decade-long marriage. Though she was embarrassed, he said he knows she appreciated and enjoyed the gift.

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“It’s a gift that is different from anything else,” he said. “Everybody gives flowers and chocolates, but those things aren’t as memorable.”

The two ’50s-style love songs, along with chocolates and a rose, were delivered by a quartet of the Metro Mix Chorus, a group of women who have sung barbershop-style music in eastern Iowa since 1964.

“Barbershop style is the true American form of music,” said Jo Shoemaker, who has been a part of the chorus for 40 years. “This really is the best-kept secret in town.”

The chorus, which is associated with Sweet Adelines International, is divided into four quartets of women ranging in age from early 20s to late-80s.

“We all have different educational backgrounds, different lifestyles, and different dreams,” the 69-year-old Shoemaker said. “But our common denominator is our love of singing and entertaining.”

The four quartets delivered more than 25 singing valentines in Iowa City over this past weekend, down from last year’s 35, Shoemaker said. The chorus also worked all weekend this year, rather than just on Valentine’s Day, she noted.

“We don’t know why numbers are down,” she said. “The numbers change year to year, so you can’t ever know how one year’s going to go.”

In addition to the singing valentines, the chorus runs a concession booth outside Kinnick Stadium during football season. The group also performs at special events and hosts shows in which it charges admission.

The nonprofit organization uses the money from its various fundraisers for singing coaches, costumes, choreographers, and travel to the Sweet Adelines Regional Competition, where it competes against other groups from the region. Since its establishment, the Metro Mix Chorus has consistently placed in the top five, and it has won the competition eight times.

On Sunday afternoon, as the group delivered its final valentines, the members greeted Jan Buckholtz, 74, and Norm Buckholtz, 78, at their door, courtesy of a close friend.

As the quartet sang in their living room, the married couple giggled at each other as they swayed to the music in each other’s arms.

“I’ve never had a gift like this, and it’s really thrilling,” Jan Buckholtz said. “It brought the Valentine’s Day spirit to our home.”

The wife of 56 years said the key to having a long, successful marriage is to be a good listener.
“Oh, yeah,” she said, winking. “Being in love doesn’t hurt, either.”

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