Greeley Harmonix began in 2011 as a twinkle in the brains of two friends: Julie Palagi and Tonya Olson. Both had been members of other Sweet Adelines International choruses in Colorado - notably Skyline Chorus in Denver for Olson and The Blend Chorus in Fort Collins for Palagi.
With their Sweet Adelines experience (and individual tenacity), Harmonix was able to earn their Sweet Adelines International charter in 2012, about one year after their very first rehearsal. (That’s really fast!)
Shortly after chartering, Greeley Harmonix went to their first ever Sweet Adelines regional chorus competition in 2012 and earned second place Division A (small chorus) and fourth place overall. Talk about a thrilling experience! The decision to start a chorus in Greeley was validated in the best possible way.
So that’s the short and sweet story of the Greeley Harmonix beginnings. But that's just the start.
Besides the fact that Harmonix is for all women of all ages and all walks of life, Palagi and Olson wanted to instill in the chorus certain fundamental principles that were important to each of them as singers and as women.
Palagi is an experienced classical vocalist and an educated voice instructor. Not a rehearsal goes by without the introduction and/or reinforcement of healthy vocal techniques. In fact, many of the singers freely admit they’ve learned more about singing as a member of Harmonix than in any other singing group, including high school and college choirs.
Harmonix rehearsals are a place where women can leave their worries “on the doorstep” and just enjoy quality singing.
“As women, we want to feel fulfilled in our lives, yet the multitude of things we do everyday can leave us feeling depleted,” Olson says.
“We want women to feel respected, included and supported,” says Olson. “The common goal of singing a cappella brings us together. Through singing we learn to accept our differences and, more importantly, accept and love ourselves.”
You can feel the warmth when you walk into a rehearsal, but you’re also aware that this barbershop harmony thing is not for the faint of heart!
Rehearsing in Greeley Harmonix is like a master class in choral singing. We learn about matching vowels, how to synchronize lyric delivery, how to tune chords and blend our voices . Singing in Greeley Harmonix makes you a better musician all around. You develop a keen ear for accuracy and discover how much fun it is to perform a song.
"Music is meant to be felt. The best classicial singers in the world understand this. Singing is understanding the meaning behind the music. It is a performance - and that's what we do in Greeley Harmonix," says Palagi. "We learn the music so we can perform."
“All of this work provides a level of confidence in the music that allows us to get into the message of the song,” says Olson. “We move and emote and sing with joy and passion. Then we take that emotion and share it with our audiences!”
And their audiences love it! Since its inception, Greeley Harmonix has performed their “Sparkle!” Christmas Concert to sell-out audiences. Open to the public, Sparkle! is the chorus’s primary fund-raiser that includes a silent auction along with a concert of everyone's favorite Christmas and holiday songs. Plus, Harmonix always adds a new or quirky holiday song just to keep it fresh and fun for all ages.
In addition to their annual Sparkle concert, they’ve opened for the Kreme of the Krop's big swing band's Festival of Trees performance at the Hensel Phelps Theatre, they regularly performing at Grace Pointe Continuing Care Senior Campus and routinely open the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s annual dinner and silent auction by performing their stunning rendition of the National Anthem for about 500 people, they performed songs from WWII at the 2017 Chautauqua at Aims Community College, the Johnstown Quilt Show in 2015, and the Silver Bell Social, to name just a few.
So now you know something about the Greeley Harmonix. Yet one question remains - what in the world is harmonix (pronounced har-MAH-nicks)? Simply put, harmonics are the resonance frequencies of a tone.
In barbershop harmony, when all voices are singing the correct notes, in tune, with vowels matched magic happens!
That “magic” is the additional, unsung note (or notes) above the written chord or highest part sung. Not only that, there can also be the perception of a bass note below the female vocal range. That's got to be some kind of vocal magic!
Harmonix knows how to make this magic happen. You’ve got to hear it to believe it, and you’ve got to sing it because you can actually feel it! All the women of Greeley Harmonix will tell you, there’s no other singing quite like it.