Last weekend was auspicious for New Spirit of Maryland -- Glen Burnie's barbershop chorus of 20 women.
A year ago, the group was made up of six women who wanted to harmonize. By March, it had grown to 14.
On Saturday, in ceremonies at Glen Burnie United Methodist Church, the group celebrated its first birthday by becoming the first Harmony Inc. affiliate to be chartered in Maryland and the first Harmony Inc. affiliate to be chartered in 2000.
Harmony Inc. is an international organization of female barbershop singers. It was founded in 1959 and has more than 2,500 members. Harmony Inc. supports volunteerism and service. Beverly Jackson, Harmony's international president, came from her home in Toronto to officiate at the charter ceremony and the installation of officers. She was joined by Marjory Gillis, who attended the ceremony as a representative from Plymouth, Mass.
As part of the ceremony, Jackson read the organization's creed to New Spirit members. All 20 women received their pins and signed the charter.
The group's new president, Linda Grant DePauw, and the other members of the first board were introduced to those who packed the room, mainly family members and friends, plus a contingent from Sons of the Severn -- a group that has supported New Spirit since its earliest concerts. Several dignitaries also came to offer citations and congratulations recognizing New Spirit's s love of singing, the happiness they bring to the area, and their spirit of volunteerism.
The group included state Sen. James E. DeGrange Sr., Dels. Mary Ann Love, John R. Leopold and Theodore J. Sophocleus, and County Council Chairman Daniel E. Klosterman Jr. County Executive Janet S. Owens, whose husband is recuperating from knee surgery, was represented by Cecilia Fabula, who read Owens' citation. Klosterman said the county appreciates the group's dedication to community service and the happiness their singing brings.