SOMERSWORTH — When Dover resident Inge Christian Houck went grocery shopping at Hannaford supermarket Friday afternoon, she got more than she expected. She got live entertainment.
Audrey Frances Burnett, a Somersworth resident, was yodeling, all through the store.
"As I was choosing a bouquet of flowers in the north-end Dover Hannaford, I was enchanted by the sound of yodeling echoing down the long hallway along the front of the store," Houck said. "I searched every face until I spotted a woman singing enthusiastically and smiling as she climbed into one of the wheelchair carts. She continued into the store, alternating between yodeling, old-time cowboy songs and singing hymns. I commented on this to other shoppers, and one said, 'Oh yeah, she's singing in here all the time.' .... We need more people like her! I hope to see and hear her again."
Houck said she couldn't tell how others reacted, because most of the people in the store wore masks. She was "delighted."
Burnett said she sings because it makes her happy and it makes other people happy. She had no formal training yet has a strong, melodious voice, perfect for her style of singing.
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Burnett, 70, sung her way through most of an interview at her home on Sunday, after she attended church at The Bible Speaks in South Berwick, Maine, where she also often sings. She demonstrated her yodeling, sang gospel and old country songs.
"I love the gospel songs the best," she said. "But I love all my songs. My church friends, The Bible Speaks of South Berwick, produced a CD of our songs and I am on it. It's called Country Collection."
Audrey's friends have nicknamed her Patsy Cline because the country crooner is Burnett's favorite. She also sings Tammy Wynette and Anne Murray tunes, as well as many southern gospel songs.
"I did a talent show once as Patsy," she said. "I had a wig and dressed all in gold. I learned to yodel through another lady at church, and I just think that is so much fun."
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Burnett, who is retired, sings locally at the Somersworth American Legion and at special events like Rochester's Concerts on the Common. She has a karaoke machine, not working at the moment, called Big Mama.
"I treated her mean," Burnett said. "Now she doesn't work."
Burnett sings in grocery stores, walking down the street, or wherever the mood strikes her. She is not shy.
"Singing makes me happy," she said. "It calms me down. I just love it and always have."
Burnett loves to entertain. When she is not singing somewhere, she has another alter ego. She is "Bubbles" the clown. Balloon animals are another of her specialties and she has been a hit for many years at events like the Somersworth Children's Festival.
"I made a parrot one year for Mayor Dana Hilliard," she said. "It was one he could perch on his shoulder."
The mayor is a fan, too.
"Audrey continues to shine light upon the energy and happiness that each Hilltopper brings to our community," Hilliard said. "Her joy for life is radiating and reminds us all not to take ourselves too serious."
This article originally appeared on Fosters Daily Democrat: Somersworth NH's Audrey Burnett yodels everywhere she goes