Shortly after they were married, Hampton High School graduates Michael and Allison Hengelsberg moved to Wisconsin.

“I didn’t know anybody, and I saw an ad in the paper for free voice lessons,” Allison recalled. “And when I went down, here it was the local Sweet Adelines chorus.”

Although she was unfamiliar with the worldwide organization of women singers, she decided to stick around.

“I was hooked from the first time I went there,” she said. “I’ve actually been a member of Sweet Adelines for 29 years.”

Along the way, she’s developed vocal talents that helped her a cappella singing group, the Daybreak Quartet, win the Great Lakes Harmony Regional Competition over the weekend of May 9-12 in Cleveland.

Not only did the judges pick the quartet for first place, the awarded the women the highest score ever achieved for Region 17 of Sweet Adelines International, which has 900 members in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Michigan and Indiana.

Hengelsberg sings bass for the Daybreak Quartet and is joined in four-part harmony by Sara Clevenger of Mars (lead), Nancy Conway of Zelienople (tenor) and Margie Manuel of Ambridge (baritone).

With their second regional championship in a row, they advance again to the Sweet Adelines International Convention and Competition, at which they finished 23rd in the world in 2023. This year’s 76th annual event is scheduled for Oct. 28 through Nov. 2 in Kansas City.

Clevenger, Manuel and Hengelsberg actually will be doing double duty at the convention. They’re members of the Greater Harmony Chorus chapter of Sweet Adelines International, based in Marshall, which qualified for a trip to K.C. by winning its own regional championship.

Allison’s husband happens to be the chorus’ director, a post he’s held since 2016, and she serves as the group’s bass section leader.

She and Michael met at camp as members of Hampton High’s marching band, and the Hengelsbergs once more live in the township after returning from Wisconsin.

For the regional competition, the Daybreak Quartet took the audience back quite a way with performances of the ballad “When You Look In The Heart of A Rose” by Florence Methven and Marian Gillespie, published in 1918, and Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love,” which he wrote in 1928.

“We just got a new ballad that we’re going to try to take to international, so there’s a lot of work involved with that,” Allison reported. “We’re not really taking any time off.”

Members of the quartet which they formed in September 2022, get together weekly for rehearsal sessions of four to five hours, and they receive training from vocal coaches.

“We’re pretty dedicated. You really just have to be,” Hengelsberg acknowledged. “There’s so much work and time and effort put into it that you really have to be passionate about it.”

As far as competing on an international stage, she and the other Daybreakers have no particular concerns.

“Your mindset when you go out there is just, you want to do the plan, the plan that you worked on, and you really shouldn’t be thinking about any details,” she said. “What you’re really doing is trying to connect with the audience.”

Sweet Adelines International’s 1960 International Quartet Champions actually came from the local area.

Members of the Gibson Girls, named after Gibsonia, were Irene Blazek Buetler (tenor), Gladys Clarke Carlysle (lead), Naomi Haberlein (baritone) and Anne McKay (bass). According to, the quartet released an undated album, “Harmony In Hightops.”

The Greater Harmony Chorus rehearses at 6:45 p.m. Tuesdays evening at the Hope Learning Center, 1100 Freeport Road, Marshall. Rehearsals are open to the public and potential new members. For more information, email or visit

Harry Funk is a TribLive news editor, specifically serving as editor of the Hampton, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine Creek and Bethel Park journals. A professional journalist since 1985, he joined TribLive in 2022. You can contact Harry at