When Harmony 4 Women takes to the risers at its “Lifting Hearts" concert Saturday at Bend High School, three generations from one family will add their voices to the women's a cappella chorus: Barb Heagy, 68; her daughter, Brenda Timms, 42; and Timms' daughter Allison Timms, 13.
This marks the first time Heagy, a previous participant in the chorus, will be joined by her daughter and granddaughter.
Brenda Timms, who sang in church choirs in her youth, says her mother is a much more seasoned singer than she is.
“It's pretty neat," Timms says. “I've watched my mom sing for a lot of years, and I've watched my daughter sing for a lot of years, so it's fun to be up there with them. I get to stand right next to my mom, which is fun. She gets me to stay on tune."
Heagy has always had an ear for music, she says. “I can remember, when I was 5 years old, singing with my brother, harmonizing," she says. “I've been given a gift of music, and being able to hear music and sing it or play it. I played the piano by ear from 3½ to 7 without reading a note, and I played three or four other instruments that same way."
Heagy says that singing a cappella harmony can be challenging.
“You have to be able to hold your part, and I sing baritone, which is, they say, one of the hardest parts to sing. But I find it challenging, and I find it fun," Heagy says.
Singing with her daughter and granddaughter has been special. And while there's support for newer singers in the chorus, the two need no extra help from her, she says: “Brenda doesn't (normally) sing, but she has a gift like her mom. She's pretty much able to listen to it and learn it quite fast." Allison, who's sung with Youth Choir of Central Oregon in the past, “has always sung beautifully."
Heagy is also part of the 24-member Bella Acapella Harmony, which will perform eight songs to open the concert. She belongs to Stepping Out, a quartet that will also appear on the program Saturday. And, of course, she'll sing along with her daughter and granddaughter during the second portion of the event, when the 70-member Harmony 4 Women chorus takes to the stage.
This marks the third performance by Harmony 4 Women, which began in 2009, took a year off in 2010, and presented its second concert in 2011.
According to Connie Norman, director of both choruses and a member of Stepping Out, mother-daughter members in the Harmony 4 Women Chorus are nothing new, but it is highly unusual to have three generations performing together.
Though Bella Acapella is a year-round concern, Harmony 4 Women is always seeking new members of all ages, and begins rehearsals just eight weeks before its annual concerts. “It's been a fabulous experience," Norman says. “It gets a little hectic as we're trying to get together."
The name Harmony 4 Women, or H4W, speaks to its mission of fundraising on behalf of four organizations, but it's about more than that, Norman says.
From its inception, “It's always been about harmony, not only in spirit, but in voice, and in body, in every way, creating harmony and presenting it to the community. It's always been a harmonious connectivity that has gone on, and of course, it's driven home by the fact that we're singing four-part harmony."
The concert program will include “Lean on Me," “We are Family," “Let There be Peace on Earth" and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight."
“The show is a little more on the theatrical side," Norman explains, “as opposed to just a concert where you sing a song, then another song and then somebody may say something, and then you sing another song."
Each of the songs intertwines with the missions of the nonprofits benefitting from the show: Women's Resource Center of Central Oregon, Grandma's House, Saving Grace and Bella Acapella Harmony.
The concert will also feature four finalists from the Central Oregon Teen Acapella Contest. The chorus-sponsored competition for high school juniors and seniors began in the spring, Norman says.
“It's pretty exciting. Those kids are just phenomenal," Norman says.
“I think it'll be just a great show. There's so much benefit all the way around. It's a win win win win win win all the way around," Norman says.
“It's kind of like how you see a duck on the water. It looks like it's all going smooth, but everyone's paddling like heck underneath to make it happen."
For the naturally tuneful Heagy, the experience is very much about the camaraderie of the chorus.
“Coming to chorus, if you're down or upset about something, if you're bummed or upset or feeling bad about something, by the time you leave, you don't have those feelings anymore," she says.
Having her daughter and granddaughter along just adds to the joy.
“It's very, very special to have them with me. I'm very glad Brenda decided to try it out and join us," Heagy says. “I'm hoping that she's enjoying it enough that she might consider staying with us."