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Singing their hearts out
Dec. 30, 2013

Winsted Area Community Choir seeks members and sponsors

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

WINSTED, MN – Different towns, ages, backgrounds, and abilities don’t matter – any way you look at it, the Winsted Area Community Choir is one harmonious bunch.

“Our first goal is fellowship,” artistic director Mark Loder said. “It’s about breaking the barriers for people who may not be involved in other areas of the community. We welcome everyone.”

The choir has already developed a strong presence since its debut during Winsted’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2012.

“It’s really a great group to be a part of,” said member Ann Schulenberg. She and her husband, George, have enjoyed singing throughout their lives.

At the end of October, a board of directors with staggered three-year terms was appointed, to give the choir added continuity and stability.

The choir is establishing a scholarship fund, as well. So far, a $500 scholarship has been budgeted for a graduating senior who plans to study music.

“We’re hoping to find a company or two to get behind that,” Loder said, adding that the group’s motto is “community service through song.”

All ages are encouraged to participate in the choir’s rehearsals and concerts.

In 2014, the group is planning three concerts, each with a separate theme.

“We’re thinking about doing a spring concert with music that embodies Minnesota heritage,” Loder said.

Throughout December, the choir performed Christmas songs at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Winsted, St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted, and at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie (during the all-German Christmas service).

They started rehearsing for the winter concert about two months ahead of time, meeting at St. John’s Sunday evenings.

“I always look forward to choir practice,” Schulenberg said, adding that she’d highly recommend joining for those who have an interest in singing.

“Even if you don’t think you know how to sing, but you just have a love of music, come join us,” Loder added. “We try to be as professional as we can, but it’s also about camaraderie and fun.”

February, fundraising, and the future
The group is taking the month of January off, and plans to start rehearsing again in February.

“Right now, we’re focusing on fundraising for the coming year,” Loder said.

Anyone who’d like to make a pledge or become a sponsor can call the choir’s marketing director, Tom Ollig, at (320) 485-3987.

Ollig said the choir would like to raise $3,000 per year.

“The majority of the cost is music,” he said. “Buying music is expensive.”

The choir also hopes to raise a one-time amount of between $2,500 to $3,000 for portable risers.

“Possibly, down the road, we’d like to get a portable keyboard, too,” Ollig said. “That would allow us to play at more locations.”

Currently, the choir’s roughly 30 members live in Winsted, New Germany, Lester Prairie, Cokato, Howard Lake, and Silver Lake.

“I’m anticipating that it will grow as word gets out,” Loder said. “We have a lot of talented people in this area.”

Board of directors
The Winsted Community Choir established a board of directors the end of October:

• Darin Helgeson, chair

• Petie Littfin, vice chair

• Tom Ollig, marketing director

• Jim Fowler, public relations director

• Dale Maus, secretary

• Mark Loder, artistic director

• Marsha Christenson, choral representative

To learn more about joining the choir, call Tom Ollig at (320) 485-3987.

Choir members
Current members of the Winsted Community Choir are as follows. To read a bio about each singer, go to www.winstedchoir.com.

• Amanda Doster

• Pam Fiecke

• Niki Kutz

• Dawn Raguse

• Betty Severson

• Shirlee Tesch

• Mary Wiemiller

• Deb Fillbrandt

• Jeanne Finsrud

• Bonnie Hallett

• Margie Herrmann

• Molly Loder

• Doris Menden

• LuAnn Ollig

• Betty Rehmann

• Ann Schulenberg

• Luke Dahl

• LuAnn Moy

• Bill Pierson

• Nathan Schmalz

• Arden Severson

• Bill Barton

• Bruce Gatz

• Thomas Maresh

• Dennis Rehmann

• George Schulenberg

• Tom Wiemiller

• Marsha Christenson

• Mark Loder

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