Music makes the holidays cheerful, and hearing it live is a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season. The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus (GRAMC) have been making audiences happy and cheerful for 57 years. For five of those years they have come to Bigfork at The Edge Center to present their music to anyone willing to attend. This year the concert is on Sunday December 15th and admission is free as a thank you to all of the Center’s supporters. The concert of religious, traditional, and popular songs promises to warm you up regardless of the weather outside. Come and find out why the GRAMC has been around for so long and made so many audiences enjoy this time of year a little more. Sunday December 15, time 2PM, admission no charge. Free refreshments will be served, and you’ll have a chance to visit with the Board of Directors for The Edge Center as your hosts.
The GRAMC describes their organization as “The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus, formerly the Blandin Chorus, has been an integral part of our area’s cultural community since 1956. We are a non-audition chorus with every level of singer. The chorus has 3 scheduled events every year: a Christmas concert, our spring concert at the Reif, and the Big Sing in April. We are also a service organization and do concerts for retirement homes, fundraisers, and benefits. We rehearse from September through April on Monday nights from 7:00-9:00 in the Grand Rapids High School Choir Room. In 1994, The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus was honored to be inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.”
They practice weekly under the leadership of Eileen Grosland (above) and are accompanied by Bonnie Kangas. The chorus now has 42 singers and is the largest to date, up from the original group of only 13. Their first director was Betty Kauppi, and were unofficially knows as Betty’s Boys. In 1956, officers were elected and named the Grand Rapids Male Chorus. By 1957, there were 30 members. The chorus has had several names over the years. In additional to the original, it was named the Arion Male Chorus, then Blandin Male Chorus, and currently the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus to reflect its membership being beyond the city of Grand Rapids. In 1959, the group joined the Associated Male Choruses of America (AMCA).
Here is the program they will sing in Bigfork:
O Come Let Us Sing, by Cindy Berry
Come and See the King, by Ken Berg
The Little Drummer Boy, arrangement by Harry Simeone
Rejoice and Sing Noel! by Allan Petker
The Straw Carol, arrangement by Dick Bolks, Solo- Harry Smith
Jesus, What A Wonderful Child, arrangement by Rollo Dilworth
Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl, arrangement by Walter Ehret
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, arrangement by Stuart Churchill
Silver Bells, arrangement by Charles Naylor
Sleigh Ride, arrangement by Hawley Ades
Winter Wonderland, arrangement by George Trinkaus
Mele Kalikimaka, arrangement by Jay Althouse, Solo - John Persons, Jake Grandia I’ll Be Home For Christmas, arrangement by Mark Hayes
The mission from their website is: “Music really is the international language! We have seen how true this is in our different groups again and again. Our music entertains our guests and is fun for us to make. We practice hard and gather new experiences from numerous performances. That's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. And since playing also make you thirsty, some even wind up after our practices with a drink or two together. We are happy to have new additions to our family. Just drop by. You're bound to like it!”
Make this concert part of your holiday celebration. Come and hear the good cheer in an acoustically designed theatre made for this kind of music. And while at the concert, a tour through the gallery gift sale of handmade items might provide a special gift for a special person. Come and hear why the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus has been around for so long, and why they are very welcome for their fifth visit to The Edge’s stage. Sunday December 15, 2PM, admission no charge. Free refreshments will be served.