By Ivan Raconteur
Lester Prairie resident Phyllis Hummel’s new CD is a dream come true and a way for her to give something back to the community.
The CD is called “Singing Country,” and features Hummel singing 11 songs, including country standards such as “I Fall To Pieces,” and “Blue Kentucky Girl.”
The price is $10, and Hummel will donate 10 percent of the proceeds sold in Lester Prairie to the Lester Prairie Education Foundation, and 10 percent of the proceeds from CDs sold in Winsted to Alpha programs in Winsted.
The CD is available at the Dodge House, Angvall Hardware, the Hair Company, and Prairie Market in Lester Prairie, as well as Curves and Distinctive Dental Services in Winsted.
The CD is also available by mailing a check for $11 to Phyllis Hummel, PO Box 494, Lester Prairie, MN 55354.
The CD project started in an unusual way.
Hummel’s friend, veteran performer Sherwin Linton, asked her to participate in a talent contest in Litchfield.
She brought a CD to use when she sang “One’s on the Way,” by Loretta Lynn.
Hummel was disqualified, because the CD included some backup harmony. She asked to do a song acappela instead. She sang “How far is Heaven,” which later became the first song on her CD.
Hummel asked Linton’s steel guitar player Martin Vigesaa to record a soundtrack of some songs that she could perform on her own for future contests.
Vigesaa suggested that she record a CD of her own, since this would not cost much more, and he could produce a second copy with just the instrumental track that she could use for karaoke contests.
The CD was produced at the Vigesaa Productions Studio in Moorehead.
It features vocals by Hummel and Vigesaa playing a variety of instruments. There is also a duet with Hummel and Gary Tyson, who also plays bass.
In the three weeks since the CD was finished, Hummel has already sold more than 150 CDs.
Music has always been part of her life
Hummel’s appreciation for music began with her parents, who both loved music.
Her father, Rudy Schrempp, who was from South Dakota, played barn dances with Lawrence Welk in his younger days. Her mother, Leona Schrempp, sang Kitty Wells songs at home when Hummel was growing up.
Her parents are both deceased, and Hummel describes the first track on her CD, “How Far is Heaven,” as her theme song in honor of her parents.
Hummel has sung with many groups over the years.
She, along with Reada Lukes and Angie Thiemann, has performed as one of The Singing Grannies. The group performed at nursing homes and events such as “Music in the Park” in Lester Prairie.
She has sung with the Lukes Family Band and performed with the Minnesota Concertina Club at Heritage Fest in New Ulm.
She has sung concertina-style music with the Kevin and Melinda Ruprecht Band.
She sang at the South Dakota State Fair as a guest of the band Dakota Country.
Hummel said she enjoys singing and has recently been promoting her CD on area radio stations.
“I was very shy and quiet when I was in school, but I got over it,” Hummel joked.
For the last three years, she has spent nearly every Sunday participating in jam sessions around the area.
Recently, she has been working with a group of musicians, all of whom have had their own bands in the past, to form a new group called “Singing Country.”
Hummel said they have been busy rehearsing, and will soon be playing events at local venues.
During the day, Hummel runs “Grandma’s Day Care,” and the kids like to sing along with her and they know all of her songs.
She said she appreciates the bands who have given her the opportunity to perform with them, and the people who have encouraged and supported her singing and her CD.
She dedicated the CD to her grandchildren “for their enthusiasm and for singing karaoke with her for hours.”