In the fall of 1959 a very shy Carolyn Davey entered the doors of Camellia City Chorus for the very first time. She was with a friend that had encouraged her to go to the rehearsal. It was almost 50 years ago when Carolyn became a member of Sweet Adeline International. During those fifty years she changed from that shy young woman to a very exuberant outgoing upbeat woman who loved to share her love of barbershop harmony with all who cared to listen.
Carolyn was a member of Camellia City Chorus for many years and during those years she served as president for five or six terms. Years later she was a founding member of the Sacramento Valley Chorus, It all started in her family room where they met and rehearsed until her home could no longer accommodate the growing number of members. Carolyn was the first president of Sacramento Valley Chorus and she served several terms there, also.
Carolyn was active and worked hard for her choruses, but her true love was quartet singing. She sang Lead in several quartets including the Whipporwills, the Gala Gals, the Capital Malls, and Gold Pan Alley. The Whippoorwills placed second in Regional competition in 1972. (Had it not been for one of those dreaded penalties they would have been in first place.) Carolyn stammered a bit when she spoke, but she was able to sing her part with no problems at all. She had a beautiful voice for many of her 50 years of singing.
When she left her chorus she became a Chapter At Large member and continued to support her singing sisters by attending almost every Regional competition and many regional events. She was one of those people you could always find in a crowd. She was the lady with a thousand hats and outfits to match. Even those people that didn’t know her looked forward to the greeting she gave each competitor each year.
She was a member of the Harmony for Lunch Bunch. This is a local Sacramento group of barbershoppers, men and women, that get together once a month for lunch at the Hof Brau. They eat, chat, and sing the old songs and tags. Over the years many close friendships were formed between the members of this group. Carolyn loved to go each month so she could quartet and sing the tags she’d sung for so many years. Many of her fondest memories were of the days when she used to bust chords in the wee small hours of the morning.
In her other life Carolyn was married to Dixon Davey, was the mother of one son, and had four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She and her husband were married for fifty years.
Carolyn was an avid gardener. Her rear yard was designated by the National Audubon Society as a backyard wildlife habitat and she welcomed all the little creatures and birds that visited there. She was always an animal lover and raised and trained a series of German Shepherd dogs as family pets. She also had a 35 year old registered tortoise named Gus. In her spare time she volunteered her services at the local animal shelter.
When she wasn’t ‘out singing’, tending to her garden or caring for her animals she was on a river in the high Sierras with a fishing pole in her hand with her dogs by her side. She enjoyed this activity with her husband and friends. She also enjoyed making cartoon sketches.
In the Sweet Adeline world many of her chorus members and friends remember gathering in Carolyn’s room for the Silver Fizzes she made on Sunday morning before the Brunch held on competition weekend. She always brought her blender and all the ingredients to serve a large group of people. One of her favorite sayings was, “I don’t need a party. I are one.” Because of her upbeat attitude there was a party atmosphere where ever she was. She loved to go to competition, not because of the opportunity to compete, but for the opportunity to gather with her friends during the competition weekend. As she often said, “Competition is only 5 minutes out of a fun-filled weekend.”
When Carolyn wasn’t visible at the 2007 Competition we all knew something was wrong with her. We then became aware of the battle she was fighting with Cancer. In her last days Carolyn was adamant that she didn’t want a service or any notoriety associated with her passing. Carolyn passed away on June 1, 2007.
We respected her wishes, but those of us that knew her, loved her, and cared about her felt that it would be fitting to hold a final “afterglow” in her honor where we could share our memories, hoist a few in her memory and sing some tags. That gathering was held on June 27, 2007. The highlights of that gathering were listening to Carolyn sing “Little Girl Blue” with her mixed quartet, the Blue Notes (1964) and listening to the men’s pickup quartet that sang “Caroline”. She was a light in out lives and we know that she is probably singing in that great quartet in the sky with quartet members that went before her.
Goodbye Carolyn. We’ll miss you!
May 21, 2013
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Sacramento Valley Chorus, PO Box 601912, Sacramento, CA 95860