The power of music

The Windom Chordhustlers Chorus sang at the Sogge Home for 50 year members Melvin Wojahn and Ken Paulson plus some other fans of ours last night.  Ken had a stroke on Memorial day and has not said a word except “yeah” since then.  Ken and Mel both came up to sing with us, because that is what they do.  Although Ken has had limited speech for some time, he knew the words to all of the songs we sang.  Ahh, the power of music.35532023_10217379116208781_1593578899999031296_nThis picture is from our Father’s day church tour.

Published in: on June 19, 2018 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Passing of the baton


After 17 years, Kent Mickelson has decided to retire from the directorship of the Windom Chordhustlers Chorus.  We are pleased to announce that Sean Benz will be taking over his position.

Sean is no stranger to the chorus although he has never been a member.  His grandfather, Mike Foley, was director for over half of the 50 years that the Chordhustlers Chorus have been singing.  You could say that Sean has always had us in his life.  Sean is excited to be directing the chorus and we look forward to the years ahead with him as our director.

For more information on the chorus check out the Windom Area Chordhustlers on Facebook or come visit us on Monday nights at 7:30 at the Church of God Prophesy behind Hardee’s.

Published in: on May 22, 2018 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Our 50th Annual Show


Join us as we celebrate 50 years of vocal harmony on Saturday April 7.  Show times are 2:30 and 7:00.  Performances will be at the American Lutheran Church in Windom, 906 Prospect Avenue.  All tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Also appearing are our own quartet, Original Blend and Gambit.  Gambit is a barbershop quartet from Rochester, Minnesota. They have sung together for many years as members of the Rochester Music Men Chorus and they are the current 2017 Land O’ Lakes Southwest Division Champions.

The Chordhustlers will be singing many of our beloved songs from the last 50 years.  Come and relive Chordhuslter history as we sing our way through the last 50 years of song.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Music for Mandela

July 18 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.  Mandela was a South African revolutionary who later became president of the country.  His legacy has shaped the country and been an example for the world.

This August will find the Minnesota Orchestra performing Music for Mandela not only here in Minnesota, but in South Africa as well.  Concerts will be held in Johannesburg, Soweto, Cape town, Durban and Pretoria.  Each concert will feature local talent as well as a new work by composer Bongani Ndoda-Breen names Harmonia Ubuntu featuring soloist Goitsemang Oniccah Lehobye singing text from the writings of Nelson Mandela.

Music for mandela

The dates for the Minnesota performance is not yet set but will be out in April.  The dates, places and tickets are already available in South Africa for those concerts.  If you are interested in music of peace, freedom and reconciliation, the music of South Africa, or just want another excuse to see the Minnesota Orchestra, be looking for information on these upcoming performances.

Published in: on February 19, 2018 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Minnesota Orchestra’s West Side Story

West Side Story

Friday I had the pleasure of seeing the Minnesota Orchestra perform the music of the 1961 film “West Side Story” while the movie played in the background, and it was magnificent.

For those of you who do not know, “West Side Story” is the Romeo and Juliet story set in the gangs of New York.  The movie had been striped of all music leaving just the voice for audio,  and a new full orchestral score was re-written to provide musical weight that was not available on screen.  It was magnificent.

There will be no more performances this year, but with three sold out shows, I’m sure they will be trying something like this again.  It is worth your while to get on the Minnesota Orchestra’s mailing list if you are not already there.

Published in: on February 19, 2018 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Last of the summer church tours

2017 has had us busy singing in churches again. The City of Windom and Jackson County church sings are over, now it’s time to make a swing to the north side of Cottonwood County and into Redwood County.  Windom and Jackson County had seven church visits in one morning.  For those of you who do not know how we do this, we schedule our visits so we can make a swing through the area and sing 3 song at each church.  Most of the pastors have been quite cooperative in scheduling so we do not interrupt the service, and some will even interrupt the sermon to let us sing if it does not fit in anywhere else.

So, this coming Sunday’s schedule ( July 30, 2017) is out.  If you want to hear us sing, here is where to be.

  • 8:30 RedRock Methodist
  • 9:00 Old Westbrook
  • 9:25 Grace Lutheran in Westbrook
  • 9:50 Bethany Lutheran in Storden
  • 10:15 Jeffers Methodist
  • 10:35 Jeffers Lutheran
  • 11:00 Storden Baptist
  • 11:25 Highwater Lutheran
  • 11:55 Lamberton Methodist

As you can see this is a very tight schedule, we hope to see you there.

Published in: on July 25, 2017 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

2017 BHS Midwinter

I’ve never been to a mid-winter meeting of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), I’ve been to many of their annual contest/meeting sessions held in July of each year, but never a mid-winter.  While the July contests focus on quartet and chorus contests with a youth quartet contest added on, mid-winter focuses on a seniors (over 55) quartet contest with a Youth In Harmony event added on.

This years mid-winter was held in San Antonio.  Since my sister lives nearby and my parents winter with her it was a chance to get a visit in with family in the area, and hear some great music too.

Now San Antonio is known for the Alamo and the River Walk.  On the River Walk there are plenty of restaurants and some great food and drink.img_0751For me, the libation is beer, like this 32 oz. Shiner Bock, that took a bit of time to get down.

Since it was a barbershop harmony event we were not surprised to find singers everywhere,img_0752like these young men checking out the acoustics under the Alamo Street Bridge.

If you sat down at a restaurant it was quite likely that you could work up an impromptu quartet img_0038like we did with these guys.  Those two with the medals around their neck are from last years senior champs, High Priority.

My dad did not make it down to San Antonio until Saturday,img_0035but he still got in on the Seniors Quartet Contest and the Saturday Night Show.  Let me tell you the music was great.  We saw a whole bunch of great, over 55 quartets, and the Saturday Night Show was stupendous.

They had 700 young men and women at the youth festival to get scored and learn more about a cappella music.  The best young women’s group was called Treblemakers, they were from Chandler High School in Arizona.  Just a few days before the contest their director was called away on a family emergency and one of the young women in the chorus stepped forward to do a wonderful job.

Clinician for the youth was Francisco Nunez a well respected composer, conductor and music educator from New York.  By the reaction of the young people he was working with, they really loved and respected him.

The young men have been coming to this event for ten years, but this is the first year young women were invited.  This caused an explosion in attendance.  As the Saturday Night Show drew to a close all 700 of the young men and women filled the stage and the aisles to sing to us, WOW!

So if you get a chance join the folks at the BHS Mid-Winter, you will really have a great time.  Maybe I’ll see you there and we can ring a few with those around us.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Welsh sing 4 part harmony

The following is from my Minnesota Farmer Blog

I’m just back from Calgary in Canada where I was attending the North American Festival of Wales.  That’s Wales without an H.  Wales is an area of Britain.  It’s on the west side of the island.  Welsh folk were there before the Romans, Saxons or the Normans.  Their language is more ancient than most in Europe and has given few words to the modern English language.  It very nearly was a dead language since the rest of England tried to outlaw the language, but it and it’s people still survive.

Many Welsh people emigrated to the Americas where they became miners, teachers, farmers and businessmen.  If you see someone named Jones, Roberts, Williams and a host of other names, you can probably trace their roots back to Wales.

I go to Welsh/American events for the singing. It’s the only reason I go, well maybe not since I married into a Welsh/American family that has been, and continues to be very active in Gymanfa Ganu’s (or more properly Cymanfa Canu) and many other things Welsh. It is only half a joke when I tell folks that I had to audition to join the family.

I’m of German/Prussian/Norwegian decent. When I was growing up I remember my dad’s family singing German and American songs at family gatherings. There were violinists, pianists, accordion players and guitar players, and that was just the men. One uncle had a polka band. On my mothers side we had a great aunt who had run off to Hollywood to join the music scene then came home to work in a music store and give piano lessons. Holiday gatherings there were filled with Norwegian and American songs. Music was part of my growing up years.

School years also contained music. I took piano lessons, studied the clarinet and bass violin, those things never took with me, but singing did. I joined a barbershop chorus and the church choir and continued singing harmony when I settled into my own place, I still do. That tells you why I love to sing with the Welsh, it’s for the harmony.

The Welsh have a joy of harmony that is hard to contain. You will be just as likely to find them bellowing out a hymn at a rugby game or a pub as you would in church. Music seems to fill them. They will let anyone with a similar joy of harmony join in. The most difficult part of singing with the Welsh is learning to sing Welsh.

For those of you unfamiliar with the language, it contains 28 letters, and leaves out about 6 or 7 letters usually found in English. DD and LL are actual letters of the alphabet for them. The rules for the differences between F and FF give you a hint as to why English is at times so hard to pronounce and spell.  Their list of vowels also includes W, and has some interesting sounds for the rest of the more common English vowels.

After 40 years of attending Minnesota based Gymanfa’s and a few national festivals I can almost pronounce the words, there is no way I can understand more than a few of them.  The Welsh joke that it is a language in which you cannot buy a vowel.  Their words seem to be all consonants.  Much of the time I will just sing on a oh or keep singing the same English verse over and over.  I’m not the only one.  There are many a Welsh descendant that is doing the same.

It is perhaps the habit of singing in harmony that most draws me to Welsh music.  Yes, you can find songs that have only the melody line, but most are 4-part harmony.  Many Welsh enclaves in the America’s have a habit of holding Gymanfa’s at least once a year locally and a “National” or North American event annually also.  In Wales there have been Gymanfa’s going on for over 1000 years.

So if you have a hankering for singing in harmony and hear about a Gymanfa Ganu, Cymanfa Canu or Welsh Festival of Song, check it out.  Join in as they sing out those hymns and folk songs.  I know you’ll have a great time.

Published in: on September 7, 2016 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Singing at Utschtallung 2016


We’re on the list of entertainment for the 2016 Utschtallung.

Published in: on August 18, 2016 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Revival Reunion

We be singing at the Revival Reunion at the BARC in Windom on August 27th.

We will need to bring our risers. The evenings events start at 5:00 and we will sing around 5:30. We will need to be there to set up the risers and warm up probably around 4:00.

We will be singing:           Praise Ye the Lord

I Believe

Swing Down Chariot

Beautiful Savior

Chordhustlers do not have to stay after we sing, but you are encouraged to.

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment