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The 'Olympics of barbershop' is bringing women from around the world to Phoenix

Women from around the world are competing at the Phoenix Convention Center for the 74th Annual Sweet Adelines International Competition.

PHOENIX — It's characterized by sequence, pitch pipes and harmonies. Four-part harmonies, to be exact. 

"It's not your grandparents' barbershop," competitor Angie Kunasek said. 

It's women from around the world competing at the Phoenix Convention Center for the 74th Annual Sweet Adelines International Competition

They call it the "Olympics of barbershop"  as contestants perform in barbershop harmony and acapella music in both quartet and chorus formats. 

"It's old-fashioned. But we actually sing a lot of barbershop we love barbershop. But we also like really fun music too," competitor Beth Paul said.

It's the first time in three years the competition is being held in person. 

Despite the pandemic, competitors say they've been practicing anyway that they can. 

"It has been tough, you know, because we started out on Zoom. So that lasted about a year, and then we got to go back, but we were outside," Director of Motor City Blend Chorus Leann Hazlett said. 

Both Paul and Kunasek are members of the VOCE Quartet. They sing with Deanna Sargent and Cheryl Brusket. 

The members of VOCE will be back singing in the quartet finals. 

"It was tough, tough competition," Brusket said.

"The level of singing that came into being in a lockdown or being not rehearsing for three years was like - we were honored," Paul said. 

The members of VOCE said they kept each other in their COVID bubbles, testing before they got together for each rehearsal.

"It really kept us focused, and I don't know, safe?" Paul said. 

"Same," Kunaskek said. 

"Exactly," Paul said. 

The convention and competition is a six-day event, with competitors from around the world sharing their voices as they find community and camaraderie.

"I think singing is something that brings you together," Anna Alvring, an emcee and director of Rönninge Show Chorus from Sweeden. 

An Arizona chorus is still vying to take home the gold. The Tucson Desert Harmony Chorus is in the semifinals and performing Thursday evening. 

Information on the remaining events of the competition can be found here

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