By Julie Krienke
DELANO, MN It all started nearly three years ago when five local women met in the choir at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Delano.
Meagan Phillips, Sara Triplett, Sheri Steinmetz, Kathy Kurtz, and Becca Shaffner were all singing in the women’s ensemble when they decided to try something new.
“We kind of felt a desire to branch out a little,” Kurtz said.
That’s when the group Soul Sisters was born.
“We started off singing and volunteering at nursing homes just for fun,” Phillips said.
Eventually, the group of women, who all live in Delano, found themselves singing at many churches, community festivals, and restaurants.
“Almost everything we have done has been through word of mouth,” Phillips said.
The group recently sang at Delano’s Fourth of July Celebration and have performed at Three Crows Cafe & Coffee House in Delano.
One of the first gigs the group landed was singing in Delano’s Fourth of July parade.
“It’s very encouraging that every time we sing we get asked to do something else,” Phillips said.
There is no doubt that the Soul Sisters have continued to line up more and more performances as time goes on.
The group still performs locally at places such as The Legacy of Delano and St. Peter’s Church, but they have also traveled to Buffalo and Golden Valley to sing at different events.
“We have a friend who keeps telling us we need an agent,” Phillips joked.
Yet, singing fulltime may not be an option for the group, as each of the five women are all mothers of two or more and work full-time jobs.
“We try really hard to maintain a schedule, but it’s hard,” said Kurtz, a math teacher at Waconia High School. “We are committed to the group, but we also have families.”
The group tries to practice once a week at each other’s homes.
“It’s the kind of thing we do for ourselves,” Phillips said.
Phillips is a music teacher at Richfield Public Schools and looks forward to returning for another school year.
“I took some time off to raise a family, but it will be nice to be back in the fall,” Phillips said.
The women come from a diverse range of jobs, as Triplett works for Wells Fargo, Shaffner is employed by Cargill, and Steinmetz works for a printing company.
Even so, the women have formed a close bond after singing with one another over the years.
“We feel like sisters because we see each other so much,” Phillips said.
Which is why the name Soul Sisters is so fitting for the group.
Even though the Soul Sisters have played at many community events throughout the area, they have not forgotten where it all began.
“Our roots are at the church,” Kurtz said. “We hope to bring a deeper message in what we sing.”
For this reason, the Soul Sisters often sing traditional church hymns.
“We all met in church, and our faith is really important to us,” Phillips said.
The group sings all of their songs a capella, which makes practicing a bit tricker, the group said.
“There’s no accompaniment, so there’s no down time when singing,” Kurtz said. “That’s another whole level of responsibility.”
But this doesn’t stop the Soul Sisters from singing certain songs.
“We sing newer work that has more difficult harmonies,” Phillips said. “We sing a wide variety of music.”
To help them sing all their pieces a capella, the group switches around voice parts to give each other a break.
“Usually, there is only one person to a part,” Phillips said.
For now, the Soul Sisters will continue to land performances and sing at church.
“I think I speak for the whole group when I say music is like therapy,” Kurtz said. “It can bring you to a deeper place.”
If you would like to schedule a Soul Sisters’ performance, contact (978) 257-0469.