Milford husband sends musical valentine to wife's West Haven workplace
In past years, Christine Andranovich’s husband, Steve, has sent freshly baked homemade cookies to her office for Valentine’s Day. This year, he did something a little different: He bought her a “singing valentine.”
The Milford resident was about to take her lunch break Wednesday afternoon when a tuxedo-clad quartet came strolling into the Baybrook Branch of KeyBank asking for her by name. Along with a love song, she got a gourmet chocolate lollipop, a fresh red rose and a personalized card.
“I literally said, ‘I’m going to go to lunch in a minute,’ and then I hear someone say, ‘Can I help you sir,’ [and he said], ‘I’m looking for Christine Andranovich,’ and I said, ‘That’s strange,’” she said.
Andranovich, who was expecting a quiet dinner at home later that night with her husband of 13 years, was completely surprised when the four members of the Coastal Chordsmen, a men’s barbershop chorus based in Trumbull, started singing “True Love” by Cole Porter. Even though she had no idea this was coming, she said it wasn’t out of the ordinary, as her husband does this kind of stuff every day.
Jim Farrell of Stratford, who delivered Andranovich’s singing valentine, always enjoys these sort of performances. “It’s wonderful. They get a good feeling, especially when they cry,” he said jokingly.
Along with Andranovich, the Bridgeport chapter of International Barbershop Harmony Society was to deliver between 25 to 60 singing valentines Wednesday, according to Christopher Andrade of Fairfield, the chapter’s musical director.
With the Coastal Chordsmen getting orders through Tuesday night, Valentine’s Day is their busiest time of year, in terms of membership involvement and man-hours. “We do several concerts throughout the year, and (Valentine’s Day) is one of our big fundraising efforts that supports what we do,” said Andrade.
While the men’s barbershop chorus currently has two active quartets — The Usual Suspects and Take 4 — that meet on a regular basis, Andrade said Valentine’s Day, the 30 or so chapter members divide up, with four quartets delivering singing valentines across the state this year.
“It’s fairly popular, but it’s not always the first thing people think of. So we like to joke sometimes that we’re the last refuge of the desperate. People will say, ‘Oh heck, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I don’t have anything. What can I do,’” he said. “There are times even where we’ve had a quartet out on a delivery, and while they’re singing the song, in a public place or business, someone else sees it, and the light bulb goes on that they forgot to do anything for Valentine’s Day. So right then and there, they’ll set a new delivery and order.”
While there are conventions and contests, Andrade said it’s mostly about performing for the public, just coming together and making music. “Basically anyone who wants to do it and loves to sing. … We’ve got people from all walks of life. We’ve got teachers, engineers, lawyers. It’s one of these great kind of universal things being able to sing in harmony,” he said.