September 27, 2015 performance

2015 Welsh

The posters are out for our September 27 performance in Mankato.  Come to the First Presbyterian Church, 220 East Hickory at 1:00 for some great congregational singing.  The Chordhustlers will be singing six songs during breaks in the singing.  Even non singers can come to enjoy the music.

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Want to feel better? Join a Choir!

I just had to share this.

Ode to Joy

MSVMA All-State Choir
It doesn’t even matter if you can’t sing well. Singing is a surefire way of feeling good

Photo courtesy Corey Seeman/Flickr/Creative Commons

This essay is adapted from Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness While Singing With Others by Stacy Horn, out now from Algonquin Books.

I used to think choir singing was only was for nerds and church people. Since I was neither, I never considered singing in a group—even though I loved singing by myself. Then, in my 20s, I found myself facing a big, black hole of depression. I remembered how much fun I had once singing Christmas carols with a boyfriend at his church. Desperation forced my hand. I joined a community choir. Except that at that first performance, we didn’t sing Christmas carols—we sang a piece of music that was 230 pages long: Handel’s Messiah. It was magnificent. I was left vibrating with a wondrous sense of musical rapport. Since that performance, I haven’t found the sorrow that couldn’t be at least somewhat alleviated, or the joy that couldn’t be made even greater, by singing.

Singing is such a surefire way of feeling good that even singing about death is life-enhancing, which is fortunate, because if you sing in a choir, you’re going to be singing about death. A lot. Typically, every spring, choirs all around the world will sing the Requiem Mass, a mass for the dead which has been set to music by many of our greatest composers. But despite all that death, singing requiems is emotionally heartening, and you get a real physical rush. That’s because when I get up and sing the cheery words—“Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ, dies magna et amára valde” (“That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness”)—my brain supplies in perfect combination some of the best opiates and stimulants it has evolved to dispense.

Music is awash with neurochemical rewards for working up the courage to sing. That rush, or “singer’s high,” comes in part through a surge of endorphins, which at the same time alleviate pain. When the voices of the singers surrounding me hit my ear, I’m bathed in dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure and alertness. Music lowers cortisol, a chemical that signals levels of stress. Studies have found that people who listened to music before surgery were more relaxed and needed less anesthesia, and afterward they got by with smaller amounts of pain medication. Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria and contentment.  “Every week when I go to rehearsal,” a choral friend told me, “I’m dead tired and don’t think I’ll make it until 9:30. But then something magic happens and I revive … it happens almost every time.”

Ohio State music professor David Huron believes singing may generate prolactin, which is released in nursing women, and in tears of sorrow. Prolactin has a tranquilizing, consoling effect, and this is why sad music makes us feel better, according to Huron. There’s even evidence that singing about death not only feels good, it’s good for you. Researchers discovered that a choir singing Mozart’s Requiem showed an increase in s-IgA, an immunoglobulin that enhances our immune defense.

It doesn’t even matter if you can sing well. I can’t. The best I can manage is singing in tune. Most of the time. Hopefully. One of my main goals in our weekly rehearsals is not being heard. Over the years I’ve become a master in the art of voice camouflage, perfecting a cunning combination of seat choice, head tilt, and volume. Luckily, in a 2005 study, investigators found that group singers experienced the same benefits even when “the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.” It’s arguable whether my vocal instrument even reaches that level, but I’m happy to reap the benefits nonetheless.

While any singing has rewards, there are reasons you should find a choir rather than simply singing in the shower and leaving it at that. Studies have found that group singing releases oxytocin, a chemical that manages anxiety and stress and, according to McGill University professor Daniel Levitin, enhances feelings of trust and bonding.

That bond, that connection, has seen me through the end of every romantic relationship in my adult life (because apparently my lifelong work on singing hasn’t done a thing for my boyfriend-selecting skills). It has gotten me through the deaths of my mother, some of my closest friends, and finally, my pets. I wonder how Brahms would feel knowing that his German Requiem, so powerful and yet so gentle, never fails to evoke my long-dead cat. Whether it’s a combination of prolactin and oxytocin, or some yet to be discovered neurochemical release, singing takes me to a place where what I thought was intolerable, like death, is somehow OK, which is insane, but there it is.

I’m convinced the answer will be found in the study of harmony. Because the world doesn’t open up into a million shimmering dimensions of hope and possibility when I sing alone, or even with other people in unison. It happens when I’m surrounded by my fellow choristers, and all the different sounds we’re making combine to leave us thrumming in harmony—lit up together like fireflies flashing in synchrony by whatever masterpiece is currently racing through our brains, bodies, and hearts.

After a recent meta-analysis of 400 music studies, Daniel Levitin pointed out design flaws in some of the experiments, and lack of proper controls, and warned against exaggerating what has actually been demonstrated. A lot of work is left to be done in the study of how the body and brain respond to music and singing in groups. In the meantime, as science works to explain what every singer already knows, no matter where you fall on the voice suckage scale—sing. I know of no other activity that gives so much and is this eminently affordable and accessible: Just show up for choir practice. Singing might be our most perfect drug; the ultimate mood regulator, lowering rates of anxiety, depression and loneliness, while at the same time amplifying happiness and joy, with no discernible, unpleasant side effects. The nerds and the church people had it right.

Adapted from Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness While Singing With Othersby Stacy Horn, out now from Algonquin Books

 

Published in: on December 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2014 Food Shelf Benefit

The Windom Chordhuslters Chorus will be hosting their annual Food Shelf Benefit Christmas Concert at Bethel Mennonite Church in Mt. Lake on Sunday, November 30 at 4 p.m.  Admission is by a donation to the food shelf.  Come help the Chordhustlers start the holiday season.

They will continue their holiday activities the next night when the sing at the Sogge Good Samaritan home (5:45), Mickelsen Manor (6:10) and Remick Ridge (6:30) apartments on Monday, December 1.  If you have a loved one in any of the facilities come join us.

The Summer is ending

10295178_695926990461560_1350741281691520494_oThis was it, last Monday’s performance at BARC was the last singing engagement we have for the summer.  The shifting of gears has already happened for winter, we have a Christmas number in our folders.

It’s amazing how fast it happens.  County fairs have already started and just after the middle of August some area schools will start.  Summer will be over.  In the mean time we can look forward to our chapter picnic and singing at the Twins game on August 17.

Details are still coming in for the picnic.  This year we will be hosted by Ken and Jean Fast at their home at 1845 Red Leaf Court.  To get to their house, head northwest out of Windom on River Road (County 13) to 18th Ave.  Take 18th Ave. north and take a left on Red Leaf Court.  Their house will be on your left.  Red Leaf Court is U-shaped so if you miss the first one, take the second one and go around the loop.

Last I heard it was burgers on the grill and a dish to pass.  Bring your own dinner ware.  Food will be served at 7.  Any other details or changes will be announced at practice.  See you all there.

BARC Picnic

The details are in for the BARC picnic.

Monday, July 21, we will be singing for those attending the picnic at 6:00.  Singers should gather in Room 10, our dressing area, to warm up at 5:30.

There will be a short practice immediately after we sing at the church.  Kent promises to let us out early.  No uniform, just street cloths.  Please be sure to tell everyone of the change in practice time.10448483_693991690655090_6499331793782274714_o

Summer 2014

A busy summer has already started.  Our first tour of churches was last Sunday, June 15 in Windom and was well received.  Members and fans may want to get some of these dates on their calendar.

July 11 will find us singing at Jackson’s Rhythm of the River Days.  Details will be coming, but for now put 5:30 down as our singing time.

July 13 will be our second tour of churches going east this time.

July 20 is the date for our last tour of churches as we sing in the north part of our area.

July 21 will be the BARC picnic.  Since that is a Monday, we will meet early to sing and then practice after that.

Those of you wanting to go to the Twins game need to talk to Terry to get on the list.  We will be joining other chapter from the region to sing on August 17.  Here’s your chance to be on Target field.images

The very next day we will have our chapter picnic.  That’s August 18 for those of you not keeping track.

Many of these days do not as yet have times locked down so be sure to be at practice. As I get more details I will let you know.

Our new summer shirts have been well received.  Please take care of them, they should give us many years of use.  Uniform of the day will also be discussed at practice.

2014 All State Lutheran Choir

Looking for an excellent concert?  This bunch of kids will blow you away!  Here’s the schedule for the 2014 All State Lutheran Choir.

http://www.maslc.org/itinerary.html

Church sing schedule, Windom, 2014

The Windom Area Chordhustlers Chorus will be making its annual tour of churches on Sunday, June 16th. Below you will find our schedule for the morning.  We will arrive at your church at the approximate time listed unless I hear from you before Thursday next week. (June 5th)

 

8:55   Lutheran Church of Our Savior

9:10   American Lutheran Church

9:30   First Presbyterian

9:55   St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

10:10   First United Methodist

10:25   Evangelical Free Church

11:00   Bethany Lutheran Church at Bergen

11:20   Church of God Prophecy

11:30   First Baptist Church

 

We will enter your sanctuary singing a hymn, sing two more selections, and depart.  We should be in your sanctuary about 7 to 8 minutes.   With travel time between churches we do not have any extra time that morning.  We ask that you help us to stay with this schedule by allowing us to sing as soon as possible when we get to your church.

We hope to be on time, but if we are detained, we may come in a bit later. Hold on, we will be there soon.

Thank you for your help,

Jerry Bauer

The show is over

Our 2014 show “Celebrate Harmony” is over.  The reviews were good.  We were pleased to have four new faces on the risers this year.  It’s been some time since we had any new faces, so four in one year is really fun.  So here is a picture to see what we looked like on the show.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve been very happy with our Youth in Harmony program over the last few years.  This year we invited members of the event to come sing with us.  We had three young men join us for the evening show.  You will not have any trouble finding them in this picture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A busy year is planned.  We hope to see you at one of our performances.  If you would like to come sing with us, we really like to see you on Monday night.

2014 show is April 12

chordhustlers

Windom Area Chordhustlers 46th Show April 12

 

“Celebrate Harmony” is the theme for the annual spring show for the Windom Area Chordhustlers. The thirty man chorus will perform two big shows on Saturday, April 12 at the BARC (Business Arts and Recreation Center) in Windom. Special Guest Barbershop Quartet is Grand Design. Also appearing will be Chapter Quartet Original Blend. Video Highlights of this year’s Youth in Harmony Festival featuring area high school singers will be shown during intermission. Show times include a 2:30 p.m. matinee and a 7:00 p.m. evening show and afterglow. Advance tickets are available from chorus members or by calling 507-831-3382 jerbauer@windomnet.com

 

Matinee tickets are $8 for Students and Seniors, Adults $10 advance, $12 at the door. Evening show and afterglow tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door. All seats are general admission.

 

The Chordhustlers are a group of men from seventeen area communities that rehearse on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. at Church of God of Prophecy, 580 Cindy St in Windom. They are known for showing the joy of singing on their faces as they perform a capella four part barbershop harmony arrangements of songs both old and new. They are directed by Kent Mickelson of Lakefield. Assistant director is Jerry Bauer of Windom. Men and boys of all ages are welcome to join them at any rehearsal.

 

www.barbershop.org

 

The Windom Area Chordhustlers are members of the Barbershop Harmony Society with members and affiliates worldwide.