Sweet Adeline(s) of the Year 2022



Meet our Recipients!


Josie Wood

Josie has served in support and leadership roles for our chorus for as long as she has been a member. In positions ranging from enthusiastic and talented riser singer, to director trainee, to baritone section leader, to supportive committee member, to high profile leadership as Team Leader a few years ago, Josie puts all of her heart and her intellect into doing the best job she can.

Josie applies her considerable music knowledge and skill to the important job of Baritone section leader. She consistently studies our repertoire, becoming completely familiar with the most minute details of not only her own baritone part but the other 3 parts as well. She even took the leap of joining the bass section to try something new and broaden her skills in the lower part of her range. And she had no trouble fitting in as a section leader for the basses as well. She keeps the Music Advisory Team on track with thoughtful queries, forward-looking views, and inspiring ideas. Her dedication to musical excellence is at the very heart of her investment in the Spirit of Spokane and our chorus is better for it.

If it were only for her musical excellence, Josie would make such a strong candidate for the Sweet Adeline of the Year. All of her past contributions on the Management Team (as Team Leader, Visual Coordinator, and Finance Coordinator) certainly show what kind of a dedicated leader she is. Yet there is one area in the most recent past which makes my nomination even more relevant. For over 4 years Josie has worked while serving as SoS Finance Coordinator, and most recently Bookkeeper, to strengthen the chorus’s financial management systems. Our entire chorus has benefitted from one of the most underappreciated efforts in our chorus history.

In an area of chorus life which is so firmly behind-the-scenes, Josie has spent literally hundreds of hours laboring to establish new mechanisms for managing our chorus finances. Her new systems are so user friendly that they can be handled by relative novices yet still meet the most stringent accounting standards. What has resulted is an expansion of the Finance Coordinator role to include a bookkeeper as an “assistant” to work alongside the duly appointed Finance Coordinator. While these two roles have been done in the past by one person (Josie being such a person), accomplishing all that is required under both job descriptions takes a high level of skill and experience in accounting and fiscal management. Recognizing the increasing difficulty of finding volunteer chorus members who can undertake such roles, Josie saw that the tasks would be better shared among 2 or more people. She broke the tasks down, painstakingly defined the necessary division of labor, and crafted newer and better ways for a Finance team to handle their assignments.

Josie undertook this project before we could have even foreseen all the ways the pandemic would challenge our chorus. Yet it was precisely her forwarding thinking, and prior prudent fiscal strategies, which enabled our leaders to make choices to lower expenses for chorus members and to spend money where needed to preserve our chorus life beginning in 2020. Today we are lucky to be not only a survivor of the Covid-19 disruptions, but we’re poised for growth and expansion. Our chorus finances are in good hands with the finance team that Josie designed. We can continue to practice our musical craft because she took such good care with this often-unseen area of chorus life. Furthermore, the systems are designed for effective transition to the next set of volunteers so that finance management should not have to over-burden future chorus leaders.

For all of the practical reasons named above, and for the way that she so generously offers all of her time and talents with such a kind and thoughtful spirit, Josie is truly deserving of the honor of Sweet Adeline of the Year.

Cherie Letts

Cherie lives and breathes music and puts her heart and soul into her choruses – she is a dual member of both Spirit of Spokane Chorus and Coeur d’ Alene Chorus.  Cherie –

Exudes Positivity – Cherie’s spirit for the barbershop craft and what it takes to be successful as a chorus and an individual is evident as she looks for the good and pushes for positive ways to push forward.

Unique Challenges – Cherie’s hearing loss and not being able to sing in person for a large part of the last year have been tough on her.  During ZOOM rehearsals, she couldn’t sing as the host, and wasn’t always in her section when breakout rehearsals were part of the rehearsal plan. Cherie still learned her music the best she could and participated in rehearsals. 

Completed a Project – The most recent project comes to mind.  Cherie was asked to take on the travel arrangements for international and was highly successful in securing discounted rates not only for flights, but also in partnering with Pride of Portland Chorus, made it possible for us to have shared rehearsal space and time to get to know another chorus and celebrate in the end.

Overcoming an Obstacle – Cherie’s obstacle she has to overcome quite often is self-doubt.  She is sometimes discouraged to the point of not participating in an event, but often comes around with a little help from her friends.

A Shoulder to Lean On – Cherie has the broadest shoulders of anyone I know!

Quiet, Consistent Contribution – Cherie has definitely made consistent contributions; however, the “quiet” part is questionable!

The Barbershop Ambassador – Cherie is a true ambassador for Spirit of Spokane Chorus and Sweet Adelines as a whole.

Music or Performance Excellence – Have you ever watched the joy and incredible facial expressions Cherie exhibits not only onstage, but even during rehearsals?  Cherie also spends a great deal of time outside rehearsals going over her music and singing and recording to improve her accuracy.

Super Service – Cherie is an out-of-the box thinker – she is selfless as she always is ready to jump in and offer assistance whether specifically asked to dop so or not.  She is always the “above and beyond” girl! 

It is for all of these qualities - Cherie’s love for the chorus, her chorus sisters, Region 13 and the whole Sweet Adelines organization - that Cherie is the perfect person to be named Sweet Adeline of the Year.

Read about how we choose our Sweet Adeline of the Year HERE!