Fort Riley, Kansas



Singing, performing with Pizzazz! quartet

By Suet Lee-Growney | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | June 09, 2017

     Pizzazz! an a capella quartet will be competing in the Sweet Adelines International competition at Las Vegas Oct. 10 through 15.

     The all-female a capella group recently won the regional Spirit of the Midwest competition in Topeka, Kansas, with their rendition of “Jasmine Blues” and “The Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square.” Winners of 20 regions all over the world and 10 wild card teams will sing to win in Las Vegas.

     Kelly Petersen, wife of Lt. Col. Erik Peterson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, is the newest member of the quartet. Petersen sings tenor and has been with the group since December 2016.

     “We sing mostly 30s and 40s music,” Petersen said.

     The Sweet Adelines singers focus primarily on barbershop quartet style of music. However, in recent years and with the popularity of movies such as the “Pitch Perfect” series, pop music choices has been on a rise at a capella competitions.

     Petersen met the other members of the group, Susan Ives, lead; Janice Mohr, baritone; and Donna Kready, bass; through Topeka Unlimited Chorus five years ago while her husband was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas prior to Fort Riley.

     “I used to drive an hour west,” Petersen said.

     She said after they found out they were going to be stationed at Fort Riley, she was ecstatic to know she could stay with the group.

     “They’re great people and it was the right fit,” she said.

     Pizzazz! get together at least once a week to rehearse for the upcoming competition. They practice show tunes and learn new songs. Ives said, they will probably sing the same set of songs for the semifinals.

     “For the finals, there will be an entertainment package with talking,” Ives said. Pizzazz! will have to perform to not only showcase their vocal prowess and showmanship, but also their abilities to win the crowd over with some interaction with each other.

     The members of the quartet have an amazing relationship. While, some groups rely on a strong leader, Pizzazz! members are all leaders in their own way.

     “There’s a lot of respect,” Ives said. “It’s very collaborative as we are all in leadership in the (Topeka Unlimited) chorus … We gel pretty well.”

     Ives added since they are leads in their vocal groups, it was only natural they came together to form an active quartet to compete in the Sweet Adelines International competitions.

     “It’s an incredible outlet,” Petersen said.

     She first got involved in Sweet Adelines in 2009 with a group called Lawton Harmony while her husband was stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. “(Sweet Adelines community) is like an extension of my family and network.”

     “You meet people,” Kready said.

     The quartet have a lot of fun and have many opportunities to travel all over the world to sing.

     “Because you’re part of Sweet Adelines sisterhood anywhere in the world,” she said.

     Petersen will be moving for a permanent change of station soon to Fort Benning, Georgia, but she is not too stressed out about leaving her beloved a capella quartet because she’s already made contact with a Sweet Adelines group there.