Susan Ives is a two time Queen of Harmony, winning 1st place in International Competition singing lead with Classic Edition in 1998 and Zing! in 2010. Susan has been the Director of this chorus for 25 years and has led the chorus to numerous first place small chorus awards at Regional Competitions. She was most recently honored at the International Convention in 2019 with the International Sweet Adelines NAFme award for her many years of promotion of barbershop music through Music Education at schools and through Young Women in Harmony events.
Susan, became a music educator in 1981, the same year she discovered a local Sweet Adelines chorus and fell in love with the beautiful harmony and resonance that a barbershop assembly can produce.
The TAU director admits she didn’t always sing, even though she grew up in a musical family. Her mother could play just about anything with strings or a keyboard, while her dad played brass instruments. Susan began singing to her parents’ accompaniment at age five while they led music worship in the church her dad and mother served as ministers.
But singing wasn’t her childhood passion. She loved sports, and didn’t even focus on music until it became her major at Washburn University. But when she found Sweet Adelines, she discovered their focus on vocal education and hasn’t looked back.
Besides leading TAU, Susan Ives is currently the most decorated barbershop singer in a five-state area and, certainly, in Kansas. Since Sweet Adelines promotes quartet singing, she has been part of one since 1982 when she won her first blue ribbon at her first regional contest. She now coaches other choruses and quartets around the country. Her biggest achievement in this arena was singing at an international level contest the year that the Sunflower Harmony chorus took first place in a five state region.
Director Susan Ives wants prospective members of TAU to recognize the joys that come from the barbershop learning environment. Each week we work on our voices, breathing, posture and vocal production. We work on improving as a singer, but also as a person.
Each performance brings a sense of pride and joy and Susan loves seeing each singer’s growth in skills, confidence and assertiveness.
“We’ve seen some shy blooms become big, beautiful blossoms. And I believe it is through this organization of love and support.”
Her advice for anyone considering joining the local barbershop harmony chorus: “You’ll not find a nicer group to belong to than Topeka Acappella Unlimited…where the women are caring, loving and downright sisterly. They’re just good people!”