by Nan Royce
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Hans Peterson is coming home, and he’s bringing a few friends along for the ride.
Area residents will have the chance to catch up with Peterson at the Dassel History Center Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1:30 p.m. as the Minnehaha Mandskor choir performs in concert.
There is no charge for the event; it is being sponsored by the Dassel Area Historical Society.
What is “Minnehaha Mandskor?”
The Minnehaha Mandskor is the oldest Norwegian chorus in South Dakota. The name comes from the Norwegian words, “mand” meaning man, and “kor” meaning chorus.
Peterson, who was raised in Cokato, is now living in Sioux Falls, SD, after teaching orchestra in Huron, SD for 24 years.
He retired three years ago, and almost immediately joined the Sioux Falls Minnehaha Mandskor group.
Minnehaha is a county in southeast South Dakota, where the founding members resided.
The chorus was formed in 1890, as a member of the Norwegian Singers Association of America.
Peterson, who sings bass, indicated concert attendees can expect to hear “Norwegian selections, a Swedish one, and several pieces in English; a nice variety.”
The chorus has an active schedule, performing at retirement homes, churches, and civic functions.
Directed by Miss Terry Walter, the chorus features accompanist Deanna Wehrspann.
Fond memories of a Cokato childhood, and a sweetheart from Dassel
Peterson grew up in Cokato, the son of Homer and Verna Peterson, and the brother of BeBe, Winston, and Jason.
Some of his best Cokato memories include having fun at the Cokato Corn Carnival, especially since his home was “across the street from Peterson Park.”
Peterson always enjoyed music, and during his high school years, he was in band, and also played with Morrie Maines group, The Tijuana Tin.
He also remembers playing rock with Hermie Anderson, David Lundeen, and his brother, Winston.
Peterson graduated from Cokato High School in 1971.
He says the highlights of his life include “meeting Dassel girl Geri Coleman, marrying her, and raising two perfect children.”
He has maintained contact with several folks from the area, including “fine friends, Craig and Katy Stevenson.”
Like many, he also uses technology to keep up with friends. “I am Facebook friends with Mary Primus, Kevin Nelson, Luann Gilman, and Coleen McClees,” he stated, “and I seem to keep running into David and Shari Borg.”
Historical reasons for the homecoming
Peterson indicated he is personally excited to bring culturally significant music back home.
“We chose to sing in Dassel because of the strong Scandinavian pride and heritage,” he said.
“The Dassel Area Historical Society is a vibrant group, and we feel honored to perform for them,” he said. “It also gives a nod to my wife’s and my family’s heritage, which goes back three generations in the area.”