Sweet Harmonies

Flowers, candies and cards are the typical Valentine’s fare.

Some of the cards even sing.

But, 20 people looking for a bit more splash this year went above and beyond – a box of candy, a single rose, and a live, old-fashioned serenade in four-part harmony.

The Conewango Clippers took their talents around Warren County on Thursday.

For less than the cost of a dozen roses, the assembled voices of the Clippers harmonized “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, “Sweet and Lovely”, and “Heart of My Heart.”

“It was wonderful,” Betty Jo Pearson said. “What a surprise.”

Her husband of 44 years, Terry, arranged the visit to the Allegheny Community Center where Betty Jo works. “Very romantic,” she said. “Very special.”

Sandy Lanza was working at the office of the Pennsylvania Department of Health when the tuxedoed men walked in.

Her husband of 35 years, Frank, showing up added to the surprise.

“I love the thoughtfulness that went behind it,” she said.

“She lights up my world, so I had to let her know how much I love her,” Frank Lanza said.

Don Anderson surprised his wife of 71 years, Naomi, with a Valentine’s serenade at Golden Living.

Most of the time, the Clippers were singing to women.

But, they have no objection to serenading men.

Tuesday afternoon, the traveling minstrels made their way to Superior Tire.

There they met Jeff Gustafson. “I was totally shocked,” he said.

Shannon MacArthur had called him earlier to let him know she had received the flowers. “She definitely one-upped me,” he said.

“It was incredible. Amazing,” Gustafson said. “I’m still smiling.”

Another man “was blushing for four songs,” Tom Jones said. “So we did a fifth.”

When the group of men wearing red vests and bow ties shows up and starts singing blushing is a common response among both men and women.

“A lot of times they’ll blush,” John Shaughnesy said. “We’ve had people cry.”

Crying, blushing, and even smiling enough will encourage the Clippers, if time permits, to perform an encore or two.

The current version of the Valentine’s event is in its third year, but the Clippers and their predecessors first started making Valentine’s appearances for about 15 years, according to Jones.

Making people’s Valentine’s days special and memorable is the primary goal behind the event, but the effort also puts them in the public eye and raises a little money.

The members hope events like this one and their concert to be held May 4 at the Struthers Library Theatre will encourage men who enjoy singing to join them. “We’re always looking for new members,” Shaughnesy said. “You don’t have to be an expert singer. You don’t have to read music.”

The Clippers meet at 7:29 p.m. Mondays in the basement of Grace United Methodist Church in Warren.

“Another motive for doing this is how much we enjoy it,” Doug Angove said.

They got more chances to enjoy it this year.

In 2011, the Clippers visited 10 lucky Valentines. Last year the number was 16. On Tuesday, they gave 20 performances.

Many more and the group will have to split up. Until that time comes, every willing and able Clipper will perform for each Valentine.

Eight members – Bob Holt, Shaughnesy, Kevin Babcock, Ray Shield, Angove, Al Ludwick, Jon Meyer, and Jones performed Tuesday morning, with the number fluctuating as other obligations took members away.

No matter how many members performed, they did not disappoint.

“Everybody should have a romantic moment like that,” Pearson said.