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Published: Friday, 5/7/2004

Fabric of fun: Chenille Sisters blend comedy and harmony

BY BRIAN DUGGER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Chenille Sisters: Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand, and Connie Huber. The Chenille Sisters: Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand, and Connie Huber.
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It's a pretty good bet that a singing group named after a fabric will be a little off the wall.

That's certainly the case with the Chenille Sisters, who will perform tomorrow at Owens Community College.

Since 1985, Grace Morand, Connie Huber, and Cheryl Dawdy have been entertaining crowds with a mixture of comedic flair and strong vocal harmonies.

"The thing I hear most often when people come to our shows is 'I haven't had so much fun in a long time,'●" Morand said from her home near Ann Arbor. "I think the way the world is today that we can use a lot more fun. I really think fun is underrated."

It was Huber who inspired the name of the group. Growing up in North Dakota, she learned to make aprons, curtains, tablecloths, and many other items out of chenille fabric. She also learned to play the acoustic guitar and to write funny lyrics that are the cornerstone of the group's success.

While Huber and Morand were playing in a band called Cookin' in Ann Arbor in the 1980s, they struck up a friendship with Dawdy, who was performing at the city's Ark club. When they united on stage, they discovered that they shared a love of humor, and that their voices melted together.

The trio has recorded 11 albums, three of them for children, including "Teaching Hippopotami to Fly," which won a Parents' Choice Award. They have appeared on National Public Radio's A Prarie Home Companion and All Things Considered. In 1995, they won an Emmy for their PBS special Makin' Rhythm. They also hosted another NPR special geared toward children's book reviews, Read to Me.

"We use a mixture of jazz, humor, and thought-provoking bits. People always try to figure out exactly how to describe us, but we are hard to pigeonhole," Morand said. "We haven't been to Toledo for a couple of years, so we are really looking forward to this performance."

The Chenille Sisters will perform at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Owens Community College, 30335 Oregon Rd. Tickets, $25, are available at the box office or online at www.stagetix.com. Information: 419-662-2787.

Contact Brian Dugger at: bdugger@theblade.com or 419-724-6183.



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