By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A quick phone call to have your sweetheart serenaded in four-part harmony Thursday may be your ticket to some two-part harmony later that night.
And procrastinators can relax, just not too much: There's still time to book this unique public declaration of love, as long as you call soon.
Singing Valentines by South Valley Sound Chorus
When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Appointments still available, but call soon, 346-6190
Cost: $35, which includes two songs, a card and a brownie pop
"We provide two songs, a gift and a card," said Tamara Shimmin, team coordinator of South Valley Sound Chorus, which is affiliated with Sweet Adelines, an international organization of women singers who perform barbershop harmony.
The chorus has been using Valentine's Day as a clever way to raise funds for several years, Shimmin said. The ladies will go to businesses, homes, restaurants -- basically anyplace they're asked to, within reason. The fee is $35, the repertoire consists of barbershop standards like "Let Me Call you Sweetheart," and the performance lasts five to seven minutes (as an added inducement, the client gets a brownie pop).
"Usually if we get a big group, we embarrass them pretty well," Shimmin said. "Most of them love it. They get really, really embarrassed. But then we hear later from people who bought it for them that they loved it. We get people who order it every year."
The chorus will get started at the exceedingly unromantic hour of 7:30 a.m. this morning, when the ladies perform at the "State of Downtown Breakfast" at the Bakersfield Marriott downtown. After that, the schedule is pretty flexible.
"Last year was probably our lowest because of the economy," Shimmin said. "We had about 40, but in years past, we did 150. This year we lowered the price to help people out."
If clients really love the experience, Shimmin noted the 19-strong chorus is always looking for new members.
"You don't have to have a lot of experience or even talent. People can sing -- it's just a matter of learning how."