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Let’s Cook: Singing, Laughter and Cheesecake

By Staff | Mar 8, 2016

Is life supposed to be so serious? This debate is on and making an impressive case for the answer “no” has been The Heritage Singers of Minot. Don Andrews and Mark Schnabel encouraged me to join the group in 2014. I quickly noticed there is often an even running between laughter and singing. Members look forward to practice on Thursday evenings where great teamwork, a bit of humor, and the enjoyment of male choral singing plays out for two hours. Members come from various backgrounds but they’re partners in The Heritage Singers. The group is also generational and includes father-son duos Bruce and Justin Anderson, John and Turner Fishpaw, Lindell and Terry Kemmet, and Doug and Kyle Wolf.

Called to lead this brotherhood of singers is Dave Jensen with ample assistance from Mike Jensen and Jared Olson. Dave has an excellent sense of where he wants to lead us. Even when we from time to time sing the wrong notes or come in too early or late, he approaches it with this thought, “there is more satisfaction in patting a man on the back than stamping on his toes.” We then hear “let’s try that again.” Combine this with the fact that he is doing something he enjoys that empowers him when the tenors are not singing high enough. He even smiles when some members let him know that words from certain songs have not slipped from their memory. Rather they embed themselves too deeply to be recalled on command!

For a number of years the group has presented an annual Variety Show. So ready or not we presented last week the first segment of the 2016 Variety Show. A happy-go-lucky presentation inspired giggling, tapping of feet, hands clapping and even some singing out loud at The Vegas. A variety of musical numbers are performed and the tempo that runs throughout the show is the cleverly written script done by Bryan Hyde and John Scheeler.

Adding greatly to the show is The Heritage Band which includes two former Westhope-wizard brothers, Dave and Mike Jensen. Dave is the director and Mike plays the trombone. Present is another father-son duo with Warren Martin on trombone and son Tyler on the guitar. Bringing plenty of spunk in the saxophone section are Dean Solomonson and Bob Briggs. What do we see in the trumpet section-two former teachers, Craig Eraas and Wayne Schempp. Young and with vivacity is Justin Goetz on the drums. Rounding out the band is a perfect match–Lynn Jensen and Dawn-Marie Bergeron–on keyboards who offer cameos.

Without giving too much away, there is a “Fab Four” which includes Bryan Hyde, Lenny Larson, Dean Solomonson and Steve Mattson. You can almost hear the whispers as this charismatic quartet enters the room. You ask “Do they have soft velvet tones?” Well yes, and so does Mark Priess. However, his velvet appears in sapphire blue–the same shade as the September birthstone. His dazzling, groovy velvet ensemble exhibits a wealth of couturier touches-frills of lace not only at the neckline but also on the sleeves which is so rock on baby!

Priess for years has had his own personal costume designer, his wife Dorothy, who is simply the Edith Head of Minot. Her rule is to under-promise and over-deliver! Her attention to deal has brought many memorable costume to the stage, including Mark walking very well in three-inch black pumps last year! Mark’s faceted talent and oh-so-hip attire engages the entire room with his talent. He could have a West coast address! No autographs, please, until after the show. If we were to check wallets, there would be fans from each row with images of him secured under plastic.

Conversation with Dorothy revealed that her skills as a seamstress were greatly encouraged when she was in the 9th grade at Jim Hill. Her Home Economics teacher, Marian Askim challenged her in class and this brought a dynamic to her sewing which continues to be noticed on the variety show stage. If Mark is the faceted sapphire of the show then Dorothy is sterling chain that completes this great duet.

Don Andrews, Craig Eraas, and Rick Stevens make sure the silent auction has a “legato” pace. It is a well-liked venue of the evening and items often include handcrafted items in woodworking and sewing. There is a large variety of generously donated gift certificates, dcor items, tools, musical cd’s, and baking.

Yes, baking–the item that always catches my eye. For many years our lovely and very talented accompanist, Lynn Jensen brings nightly a Scandinavian almond cake spread with an ivory piano key frosting and top with silvered almonds. If they were black, she could play this cake! Appearances this week also included the late Chuck Schultz’s famous popcorn balls prepared by family member, Kate Askew, Lemon pound cake by Pat McDaniel, Scotcheroos by Debbie Eraas, Turtle pecan cheesecake by Dorothy Priess and Lemon Meringue Pie and Braided bread by yours truly.

The show continues this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday and offers those is attendance enjoyable music, laughter, fellowship of community and a silent auction that offers chorus of scrumptious homemade treats that you will want to take note.

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