By Roz Kohls
DARWIN, MN The Earth Angels, a contemporary Christian music group that performed Dec. 6 at Stockholm Lutheran Church, south of Cokato, said they feel blessed to be able to sing.
“Music is so healing and uplifting. It’s the Lord’s way of using us,” said Earth Angels member Marge Stewart, who lives southwest of Darwin.
Stewart and her sister, Nancy Barrick of Darwin, another member of the Earth Angels, are the daughters of the late Arnold Bang of Cokato. Their friend, Peggy Soucek of Litchfield, plays the guitar, sings and writes music for the Earth Angels.
The Earth Angels got together about 10 years ago. They sing Christian or country Christian music, but not hymns. “We spice it up quite a bit,” said Soucek.
All three of them sing in their respective church choirs, but Soucek has the most formal music training. Stewart and Barrick sing the melody, and Soucek sings the alto or tenor parts, as well as accompanies the group on guitar.
“We make a joyful noise,” Barrick said.
“Somehow, it blends,” Stewart added.
Stewart came up with the name Earths Angels when she was visiting a friend in the hospital in Willmar. Stewart saw an article in a magazine about a women’s ministry group in California called Earth Angels.
Also, Soucek took the pop song “Earth Angel,” a hit when it was performed by the Crew Cuts in 1955, and revised the words to make it the Earth Angels’ theme song.
They started with simple, familiar songs performed for area nursing home residents, such as “You are my Sunshine.” The residents sang along or tapped their feet to the music.
Then they progressed to more contemporary music, such as “You Are the One,” which moves fast, Stewart said.
Some of their numbers have a country “twang,” to them, such as I Just Keep Trusting my Lord,” The song is evocative of a person riding on a horse on a dusty trail, Stewart added
Usually, the group performs 15 songs within a half-hour to nursing homes, churches, or church groups. They also were honored to perform at the Relay for Life recently in Litchfield, Barrick said.
On Dec. 5 the Earth Angels performed an “Old Fashioned Christmas” at the historic Ness Church of rural Litchfield. Soucek wrote a song called “Christmas Time” that the group has been looking for opportunities to perform.
The biggest group for whom they performed was a women’s event at a church in Waconia.
“It was wonderful,” Barrick said of having such a large audience.
A new song they are learning for the Christmas season is “Isn’t he?,” which is about the baby Jesus.
Soucek makes a tape recording of new music. Then Barrick and Stewart replay the tape over and over whenever they have the chance, so they can learn it.
Barrick said she would like to learn to play an instrument also, maybe the piano or violin. Stewart pointed out, though, the group uses a tambourine as well as the guitar.
Earth Angels wear matching outfits according to the season and have props. When they perform for kids during Christmas, they wear Santa hats, for example. When it’s hot, they wear denim, Soucek said.
The three women enjoy being an Earth Angel so much, they wish they had more time for it. All three work full time. Stewart is a patient representative at the Allina Clinic in Litchfield. Soucek is a dental assistant in Hutchinson. Barrick works at Industrial Research and Development, Glass, of Litchfield.