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

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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  

Summer picnic coming

Next Monday, August 15, there will be no practice, we will be having our annual picnic.  This year it will be held at the Jeffers City Park.  We will start gathering at 6:30, serving will begin at 7:00.

Members and their families are invited to attend, guests are encouraged.  There will be pork on the grill and you are to bring a dish to pass and your own plates and eating utensils.  If you wish more than water or coffee bring it along.  If the weather is bad we’ll move to the Lutheran church next to the park.

Yes, there will be singing.  This will be a chance for us to show our families what we have been up to.

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

All Chapter Chorus

2016 Fall District Convention – Appleton, WI
October 21 – 23, 2016
All Chapter Chorus 

Join in the ALL CHAPTER CHORUS, anchored by the Great Northern Union directed by Doug Carnes during our District Convention. Our goal is to have EVERY Chapter in the LO’L represented on the risers.

You will receive music and learning tracks for Rhythm of Love and Your First Day in Heaven. These will be available as attachments to an email. Learn your part for each of these songs so well that you can’t make a mistake!

On Friday, October 21st, there will be a rehearsal from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. Another rehearsal will be on Saturday, October 22nd, from 5:45 to 7:15 PM. The Mass Chorus will sing after the Quartet Finals but before the awards are announced.

What do you need to do?

  1. Complete the brief form that can be accessed by clicking the banner above.
    a. Your Name, Email Address, Phone, Voice Part, and Chorus is what we need. If you are in 2 choruses type in your 2nd chorus name
    b. You will receive an email containing the music, part predominant learning track, and a full mix track of both songs
    NOTE: This music is for you only and is not to be shared with others. Encourage your friends to sign up and receive their own music.
  2. Learn your part!
    a. Get your friends signed up so you can work together
    b. Talk to your chorus director to see if your whole chorus can work together
    c. Start now!
  3. Arrange your schedule so you can attend both Convention rehearsals.
    a. You need to attend at least one rehearsal but try to make both
    b. Bring your family along to a rehearsal so they see how you work
  4. Bring a $10 bill or a personal check (payable to Land O’ Lakes District) on 10/21 or 10/22 to cover the cost of the sheet music and learning tracks.
  5. What to wear? Either a white shirt with bright tie and dark trousers OR your chorus shirt. You will be notified before the event!
  6. HAVE FUN!

Questions? Contact Steve Zorn (allchapterchorus@loldistrict.org) at 651 242 6864.
If you have trouble getting the music contact Tyler Smith (tyleremail@comcast.net) at
651 439 4527.

NOTE: GNU members do not need to sign up as you already have the music and will be participating.

 This page is copied from the Land O’ Lakes District web site, you may need to go directly to that web site to follow prompts.
Published in: on June 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

We must be doing something right

For a small chapter like ours to get a mention (*) in the Barbershop Harmony Societies Magazine, “The Harmonizer” you have to be doing something right, but to get a second mention a few years later, Wow, What are they up to?

I feel our chapter is doing several things right, we sing well and we are having fun, and that makes all the difference.  That our director, Kent Mickelson, is a big part of our success goes without saying.  Kent leads us and encourages us and he puts up with our craziness as long as we sing well.

Our greatest success may lie in our youth outreach.  With our scholarship and Youth in Harmony programs we are encouraging good, new, a cappella singers for the future.  That some of them may come back to continue singing with us in only icing on the cake.

The biggest challenge we have for our chapter is in recruitment.  Our chapter is in need of some more singers.  Last Sunday we had 23 members at our Windom church tour, a great turn out, but much less than we could have if we had more bodies at practice.  It’s hard for every group now days to get and keep members, but we have something no other group can offer, we are “the service club that sings.”  Let’s promote that connection.  Let’s keep doing something right.

(*Our latest mention in the Harmonizer is in Marty Monson’s column of the May/June 2016 edition.  Our first one was an article about singing at a Twins game.)

Published in: on June 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Service Club that Sings

Last night our chapter had a visit from the Executive Director/CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, Marty Monson.  We thought it was a big deal, but we did not realize how big of a deal it was until we had a chance to talk to him.  Marty just doesn’t have time to drop in on chapters of our society, he has too many things to do to go chapter hopping.  So why did he choose to come visit us?

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Marty stopped by to visit some friends of his from the days when he sang in the Great Northern Union Chorus.  Two of our member sang for several years with him, and he wanted to touch bases with them, visiting our chapter was a chance to see what his friends were doing in their home chapter.

Marty got a chance to talk to our officers and find out what we have been up to as a chapter before practice.  Then he got to meet the guys and sing a bit.  Our director had picked some of the songs he knew Marty had sung from our last show.  It gave him a chance to sing with us.  We also had Marty tell us bit  about his job and he told us about the Society.  One phrase struck me, he called us a “service club that sings.”

Young folks now days seem to be searching for a place to serve, and if you can have fun, learn a bit and also serve the community it is a win for all.  I like being part of a service club that sings.  Come on over and see what we are all about.

Published in: on May 4, 2016 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  

A little bass humor

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Published in: on August 17, 2015 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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