Ma, he's awful nice to me," sing the ladies of the Payson Choral Society as they practice for the May 13 spring concert. "Ma, he wants to marry me, be my honey bee," their beautiful voices sing of being twitterpated and trying to resist falling in love.
"Ma, He's Makin' Eyes At Me", composed by Sidney Clare and Con Conrad in 1921, is a melody that resonates with the concert's theme of Sing and Celebrate -- from love to reformed pirates.
"Each culture of the world celebrates with music," said Daria Mason, director. "We celebrate the diversity of the country we live in with songs such as, ‘O Sinfuni Mungo,' and ‘Come Christians Join to Sing.' Finally we celebrate mom with, ‘Music In My Mother's House.'"
The Choral Society will give two performances, at 2:30 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13 in the Payson High School auditorium.
"The choice of music is a good cross section of faithful and secular," said choral member Pat Watson.
She and her husband Dick are pictured on the cover at their wedding in 1955. He started making eyes at her three years earlier.
This is Pat's second season as a member and Dick's first. The couple enjoy, as do several other couples in the choir, the shared activity.
For Pat, who has muscular dystrophy, the ability to lift her voice in song offers something more.
"It builds my lungs up," she said.
It is an exercise that keeps her healthy and she does not mind that she sings alto now, rather than the soprano of her youth.
"No More Sailor Songs" is reportedly a favorite of the director's. In it, the men of the chorus will get their musical say.
In fact, they'd rather sing about love than "Sixteen Men On a Dead Man's Chest" or "Pirate Tales of Gold" again.
The three featured soloists of Sing and Celebrate are Robert Nicholas singing "You Belong To My Heart," John Landino singing "What A Wonderful World" and a barbershop quartet performing two songs.
The bass in the quartet is Del Bohlmeyer, a five-year member of the choir and former music educator.
"Mountain High" is his combined arrangement of two songs, "High Up On The Mountain" and "Gonna Build A Mountain."
"They are American folk songs that are almost gospel-like," Bohlmeyer said.
The second song, "Celebrate the Simple Things," is one he composed and wrote the lyric to.
"I enjoy creating poetry and setting it to music," he said. "The words are very important. They come first and the music must reflect strongly the message I want to get across.
"Besides, if I arrange it I can give myself a part I like to sing," he said with a laugh.
Net proceeds from ticket sales benefit the concert's fund scholarships and other musical needs in the community.
"We are dedicated to bringing the cultural experience of music to the Payson community and helping to develop the students musical talents," Landino said.
"We celebrate the future of our young musicians with performances by our five scholarship winners," Mason said.
This year's scholarship winners are: Chelsey Smith, Kit Buskirk and Kendra Schroeder, all seventh-graders from Rim Country Middle School who earned $500 each; Victoria Tellez, ninth grade; and Matt Barr, 12th grade from PHS earned $1,000 each.
Barr, a senior at PHS, will play his acoustic guitar as he sings an original composition.
Sing and Celebrate is a concert designed to uplift the spirits of everyone in the audience with renditions of old favorites and new offerings that the Choral Society hope will make people feel good inside.
"It is a joy and a pleasure to stand in front of this group each week," Mason said. "They are joyful and dedicated people who work hard to continue the excellence and personal growth required of the membership."