The search for the first recipient of the Spirit of 26 Award began in the fall of 1997 when Region 26 choruses nominated those special members who they felt best demonstrated the qualities of an exceptional Sweet Adeline. Nineteen fine candidates were nominated. The committee, after careful deliberation, proudly announced at the First Nite Gala, Honourable Mentions to Shirley Bleackley (Regina Chorus) and Audrey Gregory (Magic City Chorus). Loud congratulatory cheers to them, and to the top award winner, from Regina Chorus, Betty Green!
Betty's talents and contributions to Sweet Adelines are well known both regionally and internationally. Anyone who sings baritone for 35 years is well deserving of "Spirit of 26"recognition! In recounting her career, the word first appears often! First joined Saskatoon (Magic City) Chorus in 1962 and served on the chapter executive and most committees. Moving to Regina in 1967, she jumped in as an assistant director to help prepare the fledgling Regina Chorus for their first contest. Betty went on to initiate the first novice quartet contest for Region 13 (which Region 26 was a part of at the time). Betty was much sought-after as an entertaining MC for regional events and chapter shows, and was invited to MC the 1975 International Contest in Milwaukee! She still keeps her hand in script-writing and training new MCs.
Betty was the first Saskatchewan Sweet Adeline to be elected to the Region 13 Board of Directors, going on to serve as secretary, vice-regent, regent, and Immediate past regent. A very effective International Extension Rep (now MDR), she served there for two years, during which she convinced the Saskatchewan government to establish grant money to assist prospective choruses, ultimately resulting in four charterings. In recognition of her outstanding service, Betty won Region 13's prestigious Grace E. Woodward Award. One of the core administrators at the inception of our "Sparkling New in '82" Region 26, she continued on countless committees both at chapter and regional level, including chapter president (twice), vice-regent for 26, and twice chairing Regional conventions in Regina.
Retired in 1992, from the Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Betty now volunteers for the ESL program and with the Red Cross, and happily for us - still sings a mean baritone. Congratulations, Betty! Region 26 continues to be a vital, exciting place to sing because of members like Betty, who generously share their talents, time, and unfailing "spirit"!