December 10, 2014

Knife River Chorale rich in tradition

By Lee Coleman

For 58 years, the Knife River Chorale has been entertaining guests with the sounds and songs that are Christmas in Hazen while creating a tradition that is locked in the annals of history.
Years ago, someone told then-Director David Schoenrock it wouldn’t be Christmas until you heard the Chorale Christmas concert.
As time has passed, that statement remains true every year.
Singers stay in the Chorale and this year, some 28 singers, not including guest singers from years past, represent over 473 years of Chorale experience.
This year, the concert is dedicated to the memory of Agnes Brooks, who started it all by gathering 16 singers as the Hazen Community Chorus in 1955.
She shares the dedication with Schoenrock, who continued her vision. He directed the group, now named the Knife River Chorale, for 52 years.
The legacy of their music has been left for today.
Now in her third year as the director, Mary Lou Aune will direct the Chorale through “The Christmas Story...A Classic Carol Celebration.”
“When you begin a new season, you begin with a folder full of music none of us know,” said Aune Sunday after rehearsal. “Week by week, we learn more of it and build more of it. When we get to the last couple of weeks, you begin to feel the shape of the concert.
“You can feel the movement from one piece to another. You can catch the arc of the whole performance in a different way when the nuts and bolts are tightened up. We are beyond notes on a page to music in the air.”

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