In harmony for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 17, 2001

The sounds of Christmas will fill two local churches on Sunday, Dec.

Monday, December 17, 2001

The sounds of Christmas will fill two local churches on Sunday, Dec. 23.

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Harmony Junction Chorus will present its Christmas show at 3 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea and at 7 p.m. at St. Theodore Catholic Church, also in Albert Lea.

There is no admission charge, but a freewill offering will be received. Proceeds of the offering will be given to the Albert Lea Youth for Christ organization. Youth for Christ is an interdenominational non-profit group in Albert Lea that supports many religious activities in the area.

&uot;We always do the Christmas show as a benefit – usually a religious organization,&uot; said Music Vice President Dan Hopper of Albert Lea. &uot;Youth for Christ is doing a lot of good things in the community.

This year’s Christmas show includes about 20 guest singers from the Albert Lea and Blue Earth area, said Jordan Bohonek, Harmony Junction Chorus manager. It’s expected that there will be about 40 singers on stage for the show.

Hopper estimates the show will last about one hour.

Harmony Junction Chorus was chartered in 1981 in Albert Lea and merged with the Fairmont, Minnesota chapter in 1990. The group’s annual chorus shows in Albert Lea, Blue Earth, and Fairmont, as well as special Christmas performances, have brought a capella and barber shop harmony songs to thousands of people in the area. Harmony Junction Chorus was the guest chorus this year at the Alden-Conger dinner theatre.

After having weekly rehearsals in Blue Earth for 10 years, the chorus moved back to Albert Lea in June 2001.

&uot;We are excited about the growth opportunities in Albert Lea and have already added several new members,&uot; said Tom Hawkins, chorus member from Fairmont. Harmony Junction is part of the 34,000-member Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America that includes more than 1,800 quartets and 800 chorus chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Harmony Junction is the only active chapter in Freeborn, Martin, and Faribault counties in southern Minnesota.

&uot;Our goal is to build our current membership and to have 50 members on stage by the end of 2002,&uot; Hopper said.

The focus of Harmony Junction and the society is to share music with the community and to support music education in the schools.

&uot;The Harmony Foundation is our national charity that promotes music education and community singing. Dick VanDyke is our national spokesman and has spearheaded the efforts of the society,&uot; Hopper said.

Hawkins added, &uot;We are hoping that young people might experience a capella singing and that choral directors in the Albert Lea area will join our efforts to promote musical excellence through a capella singing.&uot;

Harmony Junction chorus is open to men of all ages and meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night in the chorus room at the Southwest Middle School. Membership Vice President is Greg Smith of Alden, 874-3376.

The group’s annual chorus show will be on Saturday, March 2.