By By Kendra Williams, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 30, 2018
Brilliance Quartet poses for a photo Feb. 1, 2018. The group sings a cappella, four-part harmony music. (Courtesy Photo)
Brilliance Quartet show their awards April 30, 2018. The group sings a cappella, four-part harmony music. (Courtesy Photo)
While stationed thousands of miles from home in Alaska, one Air Force officer received the heart breaking news that her sister had been murdered. It was her love for music that she credits for beginning to heal.
A fellow Airmen, Capt. Laura Reefer, who has since separated from the Air Force, introduced her to the Alaska Sound Celebration, a division of Sweet Adeline International, a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance.
This independent, nonprofit music education association is one of the world’s largest singing organizations for women, with approximately 23,000 members. Members extend over five continents and belong to more than 500 choruses and 1,200 quartets.
Upon visiting a rehearsal for the first time Capt. Leslie Mead, 55th Medical Group education and training commander, was overwhelmed, she said.
“I felt a joy that I had never experienced and was surrounded by a community of unimaginable love and support,” Mead said.
She instantly knew she wanted to be a part of the program but was unsure of her skill set.
“I grew up loving to harmonize with my dad; my sister Shanna and I sang together often at weddings and community events,” Mead said. “I’d taken voice lessons and was in a chorus. But when Laura started talking to me about music I hadn’t been in a structured singing environment for ten years.”
She eventually teamed with three other women to form the Brilliance Quartet in 2016 who sing a cappella, four-part harmony music.
The quartet decided to compete at a Regional Sweet Adeline event and to their surprise took second place. Mead and Brilliance Quartet went on to the international competition in St. Louis in October 2018.
The quartet members have been able to continue their two hour rehearsals weekly due to social media and technology.
“Military life is difficult because you establish yourself in a place, only to pick up and leave and start again,” Mead said. “Being a Sweet Adeline can help ease that burden and provide joy in song.”
Since arriving at Offutt, Mead has joined a local group called Acapella Omaha and is excited for her future with them.