Singing Valentines spread love and music in East Tennessee
What may be the most romantic day of the year for many is the busiest for some singers—two weeks out from Valentine's Day, the members of the Smokyland Sound Chorus have already been practicing their harmonies.
John Oxendine's father sang in the 1960s, and in 2018, John and his men have begun warming up their voices for the performance-packed holiday.
"We did as many as 150-plus in a single day," Oxendine told Local 8 News reporter Chynna Greene. "We started about 7 in the morning, and we didn't get finished until after midnight."
For Oxendine's group, though, the packed schedule has been worth the payback, which he said is more than just the cost of a song.
"Music, for all of us, it's more than just a hobby it's an emotion, it's a feeling," he said. "It's how we express feeling, it's how we care."
The Smokyland Sound Chorus are hired to show East Tennessee Valentines those feelings.
"When you show up with quartet in costume, and you deliver that rose and you deliver that song, we get everything from laughter and excitement to tears," Oxendine said.
The quartets have been given as singing Valentines for decades.
"We started in the late 1970s, and it was our primary fundraiser, and still is our primary fundraiser to fund every other activity that we do through the year," Oxendine said.
The quartets bring couples a moment they will never forget, and in return, they create memories the singers said they will always remember.
"It's the reactions you get and the stories you hear," he said.