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Singing their way into your heart
GBHS Madrigals Pops prepare for Singing Valentines next week
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Two GBHS Madrigals Pops Singers deliver a 2013 Singing Valentine. Singers will be out and about Thursday, Feb. 13, delivering Valentine sentiments around town. They are taking requests and donations through Wednesday, Feb. 12. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Ask anyone who has ever received or witnessed a Singing Valentine delivery, and they can’t help but brighten up.  A coworker’s remembered blush, the costume and the brief spectacle leaves an impression that often outlasts more traditional Valentine gifts.  
In the 1930s, the telegraph company Western Union was struggling to find a way to improve its image.  Too often, their messengers arrived with news of a death or other loss.  Then, in 1933,  George P. Oslin, the public relations director for the company, is credited with coming up with the idea of the “singing telegram.”  
 According to the New York Times, “the first singing telegram was delivered in 1933, when a Western Union operator named Lucille Lipps sang a birthday greeting to the actor and singer Rudy Vallee.”
Fast forward to today.  Great Bend High School Choir Director Susan Stambaugh’s Madrigal Pops Singers will be out in force on Thursday, Feb. 13 delivering singing Valentines throughout the school day from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for advance donations of $25 each.  Senders can choose either a love song or something more appropriate for friends or work-place relationships, Stambaugh said.  Song choices include “More,” “You Raise Me Up” or “Endless Love.”
Stambaugh prepares her students for the wide range of emotions that recipients may feel during their special moment.  Anything from laughter to tears accompany the joy felt by young and old alike.  
It’s been a long-standing tradition for deliveries to occur on Valentine’s Day, Stambaugh said.   But this year, USD 428 has scheduled a half-day on Thursday, and school is out on Friday the 14th for the beginning of a four day weekend.
“In the past, we’ve helped with marriage proposals and other special moments,” she said.  “For several people, this has become a much looked-forward-to holiday ritual.”
Stambaugh asks senders please call 620-793-1521, ext. 138, by 3 p.m. on Feb. 12 to reserve a singing Valentine.
“As much as possible, all requested times of delivery will be honored,” she said.  “It is most helpful to give a time frame instead of a specific time. Also, designating a time that will not work is helpful in scheduling.”