Katie and Mary Ann, pictured at right, each being presented with the Skidge Heath Memorial Award as Co-Directors of the 2010 Championship Chorus, by Barbara Ann MacIntosh of Harmony Heritage.
The award is named after Skidge Heath, who was a Past International President and founding member of both Harmony, Inc. and the Harmony Heritage chapter
In 1959, she designed the original Harmony, Inc. logo, which was used as the official membership pin (until 2011), and then five decades later she created the design of our 50th Anniversary pin as well.
Skidge passed away in 2009.
Mary Ann Wert (Assistant Director) began singing wtih Northern Blend in 1985. In 1995 we were fortunate to have her step forward and become our director. She has a wealth of musical talent and can always be found humming a barbershop tune! She was awarded the Jerry Dunlop Novice Director award in 1998.
Mary Ann's life has been filled with barbershop! She and her husband, Chuck, and their two daughters are all barbershop singers. Chuck sang bass for over 20 years in Cornerstone, a well-known Society comedy quartet, and daughters Katie Taylor and Lorie Autote, both joined Northern Blend Chorus when they turned 12. Their family quartet, "Compound W", can be heard singing a few songs whenever they happen to all be together at a barbershop event.
Mary Ann, along with Katie, Lorie, and dear friend, Laurie Shepherd, become the 1996 International Quartet Champions of Harmony, Inc. For Heaven's Sake has traveled extensively, sharing their love of barbershop with everyone they meet. In addition to performing, Mary Ann also dabbles in arranging and coaching and has taught several music related classes at Area and International Education events. She received the "Kay DeLong Award" at Area 3's AC&C in 2010 for her service to her chapter, Area 3, and to Harmony, Inc.
In 2013, after a wonderful 10-year stint with mom and daughter working side by side, Mary Ann stepped down (or perhaps aside is a better word), turning over the reins to Katie, who is now the front line Director of Northern Blend.
Katie Taylor (Director) became a Co-Director with her mother in April of 2003, and together they led the chorus ever upward to their first GOLD medal in 2010 in Saint John, New Brunswick (oddly, the same place For Heaven's Sake won their Gold!!). In November 2013, Katie became the front line Director for NBC. The chorus is and always has been thrilled to be on the receiving end of the vast wealth of musical knowledge and talents that Katie has to offer. Her talents are surpassed (only slightly) by the way she teaches her craft and her zestful personality!
In her real life, Katie is a K-12 Vocal Music Teacher and directs the annual musicals at her school. In 2007 she was awarded "Music Teacher of the Year" by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra with nominations by her principal, peers, and students of past and present. Katie also recieved the "Kay DeLong Award" at Area 3's AC&C in 2008 for her service to Northern Blend, Area 3, and to Harmony, Inc. Katie acts as Youth Coordinator for Area 3 and loves to work with young ladies who may become members of our organization in the future! She has served as clinician for the girls chorus at annual summer Harmony Explosion Camps since 2007.
In 2008, Katie competed in her new quartet, U4X, on the International stage and took her 2nd Gold - only this time in tenor instead of bass! She continues to sing with both For Heaven's Sake and U4X and is thrilled to once again be representing HI as a queen! Katie loves to coach quartets and choruses in both HI and the BHS. She also makes learning trax - www.TaylorTrax.homestead.com - that she happily offers to help quartets and choruses learn their new music!
Northern Blend feels blessed to have such a gifted and talented woman, and a teacher and friend leading them forward!
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