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Say it with song

February 13, 2007|by TAMELA BAKER

HAGERSTOWN - Denny Grove quietly tended to his counter Tuesday morning at the Lowe's Home Improvement store on Wesel Boulevard. The snowy weather reduced the number of customers at many retailers Tuesday, so Grove was a little startled when four guys in red sweaters appeared at his counter.

"Are you Denny?" asked one.

"Yes ," he answered.

"Then this is for you," the man said, handing him a white plush teddy bear with a little red bow as they all burst into four-part harmony.

"Let Me Call You Sweetheart" they crooned as about a half-dozen giggling co-workers surrounded Grove.

Grove looked a little bewildered at first, but then grinned and declared to his co-workers that "I'm in trouble, guys!"

After a barbershop rendition of "Heart of My Heart," Ron Durrwachter, one of the singers in the Mason Dixon Quartet, informed Grove that his wife, Ruth, sent them.

"She asked me to kiss you, but that's gonna cost you another 50 bucks," Durrwachter teased.

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Quartets from the Mason Dixon Barbershop Chorus were running around the county, singing their way into the hearts of surprised sweethearts. It's an annual fundraiser for the group; for $40 a pop, they'll deliver two love songs, a valentine card, a small gift and a Polaroid photo.

Durrwachter said his favorite performance to date was a trip to a Valley Mall restaurant "to sing for a girl" - while they were singing, he said, her boyfriend proposed.

But you don't have to be part of a couple to send a singing valentine. The Weis Market on Eastern Boulevard hired the group to serenade its patrons on Tuesday, which was Senior Day at the grocery store.

"We thought Senior Day would be better than Valentine's Day because we thought (the customers) would appreciate it more," said Allen Moats, store manager.

And he was right - there were a few teary eyes blinking, some pink cheeks and a lot of appreciation.

Their first target grinned, but continued loading soft drinks into her cart. Later they sang to a mother and daughter, customers coming through the checkout lines, even the ladies working in the pharmacy. One customer stood holding her debit card in mid-air while she listened.

The women behind the customer-service counter weren't sure what to think, but eventually the singers coaxed smiles from them.

Mae Gray, a Weis employee who was on her break, mouthed the words to "Side By Side" along with the quartet. "I knew they were coming," she said, "I've heard them before - they always entertain you when you listen to them."

One question remained when they finished - what would Denny Grove do for Ruth for Valentine's Day?

We won't give away the surprise, but he promised something "classy."

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