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Sanders sisters to strike an Olympic chord

December 20, 2001

Sanders sisters to strike an Olympic chord



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / kimy@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When the Sanders Sisters take the stage during the 2002 Olympic Torch celebration today in Martinsburg, W.Va., they plan to do what comes naturally.

The sisters, Cathy DeLawder, 47; Carol Chaney, 53; and Linda Caldwell, 56, grew up in a Berkeley Springs, W.Va., home filled with music and have been singing since childhood.

"There was never a day when their wasn't music in the house," said DeLawder.

Each of the women sings high/low alto and plays musical instruments.

"When we would finish supper, mom would clean up and dad would take out his fiddle" and the family would spend the evening singing, Caldwell said.

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Each holiday or reunion becomes a musicfest because many generations of their families sing and/or play instruments, they said.

"When we would take trips, the radio was always turned off and we would spend the drive singing," said DeLawder.

Music has been a way for the sisters to express themselves, said Caldwell.

"I don't know what I would do if I couldn't sing," she said.

During the Olympic Torch celebration, the sisters will sing several patriotic songs including "God Bless America."

They are scheduled to perform at 6:20 p.m. at the former Blue Ridge Outlet parking lot at 315 W. Stephen St.

The musical gifts shared by the sisters and their families have helped them remain close, Caldwell said.

The women share clothes, finish each others sentences and visit or call each other every day.

"We're best friends" said DeLawder.

Being sisters helps them harmonize because their voices sound similar and they know who projects louder, said Chaney.

The Sanders Sisters have performed for various community groups and nonprofit organizations as well as at church and family events.

They are working to put together a CD of their music, possibly using some of DeLawder's poems as lyrics.

Their repertoire includes hymns, country, ballads and almost everything in between. The sisters read music but don't sing by it.

"I know when we're right on and when we're not by ear. I can hear it if we're not blending," said Chaney.

The Olympic Torch will pass through Martinsburg and Hagerstown today on its 13,500-mile trip.

It left Atlanta, the U.S. city that last hosted the Olympics, on Dec. 4. It will arrive on Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City, in time for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

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