Sweet Adelines & Cookie CrumbsHow Singer Patricia Hummel Shares Her Gifts

My joy comes from giving and sharing. I am grateful for the blessing of a nice voice.

Tell us about your start in music.
As a child, I loved to sing and dreamed of being a singer, but family finances would not allow for formal lessons. In those years, Catholic churches didn’t have choirs; the congregation just all sang the hymns together. I loved the hymns. Then, as a young adult, any thought of being a singer was buried under living my life as a wife and mother.

Your dream of being a singer finally bloomed with Sweet Adelines. How did that come about?
I discovered Sweet Adelines in 1991 when I interviewed a group for a small newspaper I was working for. I was very excited to think, “I could do that.” So I joined Sweet Adelines in March of 1992, not really knowing what I was getting into, except I loved singing with other women and loved entertaining.

So, just what is Sweet Adelines?
Sweet Adelines is a worldwide organization committed to elevating women singers. It was established in 1945 and is committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, performance, and competition. Sweet Adelines is made up of quartets or choruses. You don’t have to have a great voice, as many non-solo quality voices blending together make for a beautiful sound.

If you are a woman and sing in a church choir, a school choir, sing in your car, or in the shower, Sweet Adelines may be the place for you to express yourself. Besides expressing yourself in song, Sweet Adelines helps to grow the whole woman. The Woodlands Show Chorus is the local Sweet Adeline’s group that I sing with.

You also share your gift of voice with “Cookie Crumbs.” Tell us more about that.
Sure! I also sing with another group called “Cookie Crumbs.” We are a group of women from St. Matthias Parish in Magnolia, Texas.  We practice once a month, and then we sing once a month at one of the nursing homes in Tomball, Texas.

We give the word pages of our songs for that day to the residents, and most of them sing along with us. This is quite a different experience from Sweet Adelines and is also very rewarding.

How is this rewarding for you?
Since they are nursing home residents, their days are not spent with much activity. They tell us that we are a blessing to them. The blessing goes both ways.  I feel we are blessed with voices and the ability to provide respite time for them. Their joy warms our hearts.

On a personal level, at times, the situation brings me close to tears. But I can’t not go. If not us, who?  So I just pray in thanksgiving for all God’s blessings, for their caregivers, and for my ability to give for that short time.

“I’ve been with her for a while, and I have never heard her voice. But she sang with you.”

Has there been a memorable nursing home singing experience?
Yes. Once “Cookie Crumbs” went to sing at a nursing home. As the staff wheeled some folks into the room, others rolling in in their wheelchairs, I noticed one attendant bring a resident in a reclining chair or rolling bed.  She went to the very back of the room. The resident looked to be in a very poor physical/mental state.

While we were singing, I looked to the back of the room to this lady with her attendant sitting next to her, and I could see her mouth moving some. It touched me.

When we finished our singing, the attendant came to me, thanked me, and said, “I’ve been with her for a while, and I have never heard her voice. But she sang with you!”

I thanked her for telling me and silently thanked God we were able to reach her for that short time.  I still get chills when I think of it. Thank you, God, that we are able to do this.

What do you like most about using your gifts as a singer?
People like to be entertained. It gives short spurts of relief from everyday affairs. So too, with those who entertain. It’s a symbiotic relationship.  My joy comes from giving and sharing. I am grateful for the blessing of a nice voice.

Do you have any challenges as a singer?
The challenges would be the time commitment and, I guess, the expense. But doing anything that you love doing comes with time commitment and very often expense, so it’s really not much of an issue. Also, age and allergies have changed my voice, but I’m grateful I can still sing.

Any advice to those interested in sharing their vocal talents?
If you like to sing, I would just say, “Find an outlet.”  We would love to have you in Sweet Adelines, and you would find the finest quality of vocal training and personal enrichment.

The Woodlands Show Chorus competed in our Region 10 Competition on March 25 and won first place in mid-size chorus and first place overall. We rehearse every Monday night at the Family Life Center Building of First Presbyterian Church of Conroe at 7:00 pm.

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