They've got the music in them
When 6:30 on Tuesday night rolls around, a graceful melody of voices rings through the halls of Jefferson High School.
The 45 men standing in the choir room are of different ages and different skill levels. They come from different jobs and live in different parts of the county.
But they have one commonality - singing.
"We are here to have fun and because we love to sing," said Paul Anderson of Alexandria who created the Alexandria men's chorus a few months ago.
At first, Anderson was just hoping a few men would want to get together to sing, but the idea has blossomed into a full-fledged chorus.
"My original ad for the chorus read 'everyone is welcome - from high school to wheelchair. I never thought we would actually do it but we do have someone in a wheelchair and a few from high school," he said in amazement.
The chorus meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for an hour and a half. Practices consist of warm-ups and songs. Attendance is never taken so numbers generally fluctuate between 30 and 45 men.
The chorus primarily sings spiritual music because they are performing at churches. However, they hope to branch out and try show tunes and barbershop.
Currently, conductor Steve Deitz is just working on getting a consistent sound though.
"Oh, Steve has helped us a lot," Anderson said.
"These old guys need a little help," Deitz joked back, followed by rolling laughter from all the men.
Though he teaches high school choirs at Jefferson High School, Deitz said conducting the men's chorus isn't much different.
"As a conductor, you play the hand you are dealt. So whoever shows up and whoever you have to work with, you try to make the best product you can," he said.
With winter coming up quickly and college semesters starting, a large number of these members won't be around in the coming months.
"We have a stable group of men right now but there is a certain group of people that we are going to lose when they go south for the winter," Anderson said. "We just want to have that mass of people so that at any time we will always have people to sing," Anderson said.
The choir welcomes any man from high school to wheelchair at any singing ability.
They mostly sing at area churches but have a wide array of future endeavors planned.
"My goal for this group is that we sing at the Vikings halftime," said Pastor Greg Odell.
"We'd have to do a leg show if we did that," Deitz joked.
"I'm thinking that we would tour Scandinavia in the next few months," Anderson said.
"My goal is to just sing in tune," Deitz said.
No matter what each of their unique ideas for the future are or where they end up, the men are enjoying the journey to get there and are so thankful for everyone who has helped them along the way.
"We are really thankful for the Staples area chorus for supporting our fledgling organization. They donated a large portion of their music library," Deitz said.
Though they have been greatly supported, the chorus' motivation is completely their own.
"I'd be happy to say that we are motivated and sustained internally and I hope it really continues," said Deitz. "When we get a sound, everyone can tell and that is the most satisfying thing and keeps us going."
The Alexandria men's chorus meets every Tuesday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Jefferson High School choir room.
Those who are interested should contact Paul Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.