After 10 years, the Singing Friends Chorus is still going strong

Under the direction of Karen de Boer, the Singing Friends Chorus will perform in New Germany and Norwood Young America April 26-27. (Submitted photo)
Under the direction of Karen de Boer, the Singing Friends Chorus will perform in New Germany and Norwood Young America April 26-27. (Submitted photo)

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Singing Friends Chorus by attending an upcoming concert.

The first will be held at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. The second will take place at Church of Peace in Norwood Young America at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. There will be a light reception after each concert.

A committed core of 11 singers has guided the Singing Friends Chorus through 10 years of singing.

The director, Karen de Boer of Glencoe, and the keyboard accompanist, Carrie Knott of Winsted, are joined by nine chorus members: Sopranos Betty Diers of Winsted, Diane Hoffman of Hamburg, Juliene Klaustermeier of Norwood Young America, and Margaret Stoeckmann of Hamburg; altos Sandra Frederickson of Glencoe and Bev Mellgren of Norwood Young America; tenor Roger Sauerbrey of Norwood Young America; and basses Don Herrmann of Waconia and Earl Wendorf of New Germany. Since its first concert season in 2004-05, the Chorus has grown in size from 18 members to nearly 30 singers.

This spring, the Chorus is presenting some of the group’s favorite songs of the past decade.

The Earth Adorned (Psalm of Summer) was first sung at the spring concert in 2005. The “unofficial” Korean national anthem, Ahrirang, was performed by the Chorus in 2006. The women in the Choir sang, Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man (from the musical Show Boat) in 2007 — while the men performed the Irish ballad, Star of the County Down. Also in 2007, the Chorus sang the moving, E’en So Lord Jesus, Quickly Come by Paul Manz. In 2009, the jazzy number, Straighten Up and Fly Right, (made famous by Nat King Cole) was performed. In 2010, the Chorus presented the rousing Johnny Cash hit song, I’ve Been Everywhere. In celebration of the love of singing, in 2011 the Singers shared, I Have Had Singing.

All of these songs,, which represent a wide variety of musical genres, will be performed in the 2014 concerts.

On Sunday, June 22, 2014, the Chorus sings at St. Mark Lutheran Church’s 100th Anniversary Service. They’ll perform five songs/anthems in German — two of these works will be sung at the Spring Concerts: a song of rejoicing, Ehre sei Gott, and the German Doxology, Preist Gott.

In addition, the Chorus presents the evocative spiritual, The Lily of the Valley, and the incredible, The Prayer, made famous by Celine Dion and Andrea Boccelli. Also showcased in this year’s concert is Paul Christiansen’s stately arrangement, This is My Father’s World, and is surrounded by the dynamic spiritual, I Hear America Singing. de Boer sings the amazing Bette Midler’s The Wind Beneath My Wings. Sauerbrey and Carol Hobert, Cokato, a brother and sister duet, provide an old favorite, I Need Jesus.

Central to the Chorus are two songs which have been key for 10 years. The Chorus experience is captured by one of the group’s favorite pieces, “How Can I Keep From Singing,” which has become a signature number for the Choir. The second song, “Preist Gott,” is the backbone anthem which the Chorus sings together in a circle at the end of each concert.

The SATB choir presents two annual singing events: Christmas concerts in December and spring musical shows in April/May.

The Singing Friends Chorus sings a wide range of musical compositions, including Broadway musicals, folk songs, patriotic numbers, world music, spiritual songs, classical choral music, and popular tunes from all different eras.

The 30 members of the Singing Friends Chorus perform in Carver, McLeod, Sibley and surrounding counties. They are from Cokato, Cologne, Glencoe, Green Isle, Hamburg, New Germany, Norwood Young America, Waconia, and Winsted.

The central Minnesota singers range in age from their 30s to their 80s and come in many walks of life. The Chorus believes that singing is a joyous happening and should not be limited to people of a certain age or level of musical training.

For more information or to volunteer to sing in the Chorus, contact de Boer at (320) 864-2742.