By Colleen Flaherty
Killeen Daily Herald
Nance Travis, volunteer coordinator at Metroplex Hospital, called one of her volunteers out of the gift shop Monday afternoon.
A barbershop quartet was singing in the lobby, she told Lee Talley, and he had to see them.
Unbeknownst to Talley, the Notable Gentlemen, dressed in tuxedos with red cumberbunds, were there to sing him a musical valentine. He caught on only after members handed him a rose and a box of chocolates.
"When we call you 'darling,' we really don't mean it," baritone Bob Massey told Talley.
"But," Massey said, pointing to Travis, "she does."
Travis, Talley's wife of eight years, laughed as he began to sing along to "The Story of the Rose" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." At the same time, tears rolled down her cheeks.
She'd hoped she'd be able to surprise her husband, she said after the performance, and she did.
"One of the ways he courted me was through music," Travis said. "I thought it would be the perfect gift for him."
Talley said he met Travis through a ballroom dance club after the death of his late wife.
"I got into ballroom dancing as a way of socializing and getting my life back again," he said. "(Travis) was the president of the dance club."
Travis' husband had also passed away, Talley said, and after some time, the two began an old-fashioned courtship.
Talley, a lifelong singer, wooed Travis with recorded tapes of love songs, she said.
"He's very musical."
The Notable Gentlemen, composed of four members of the national Barbershop Harmony Society and the Texas Country Gentlemen Barbershop Chorus, delivered 13 other musical expressions of love on Monday, in addition to several on Sunday.
The quartet's annual Valentine's Day event helps raise funds for occasional chorus workshops for area youths.
It's also a great way to spend Valentine's Day, said bass Newman Hood, director of the chorus.
He's been delivering musical valentines for several years with the quartet.
"I enjoy it thoroughly, especially when you deliver it to a lady and her husband is there. It's worth it."
Hood, 82, sees every kind of emotion on recipients' faces, he said, from tears of joy and to unbridled excitement.
For more information on the quartet, call (254) 368-8170.
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.