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Lakes Area Chorale, Youth Choir to make debut at March 9 concert in DL

The Lakes Area Chorale is made up of about 40 members from around the area. They will be performing their first concert on Sunday, March 9 at Holy Rosary in Detroit Lakes. Admission will be a free-will donation. (submitted photo)1 / 2
Lori Paakh, far left, and Brittany Forness, far right, are a part of the Lakes Area Chorale, and members of the Frazee-Vergas School sixth through eighth grade choirs will be performing Sunday as part of the Lakes Youth Choir. The performance is Sunday at 4 p.m. in Holy Rosary Church. The public is invited. (Photo by Pippi Mayfield/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

The newly formed Lakes Area Chorale is ready to raise their voices and sing a song.

Practicing since the start of January, the group of about 40 will perform in concert on Sunday, March 9, at 4 p.m. in Holy Rosary Church, Detroit Lakes. The public is invited to attend. 

Organizer Lori Paakh said the chorale is made up primarily of church choir members, people from local theater groups and Concordia choir alumni. The group is open to anyone wanting to sing, and they come from Frazee, Detroit Lakes, Hawley, Fargo, Vergas, Lake Park-Audubon and Pelican Rapids.

“It’s kind of neat to see that,” she said of the area covered by those interested in participating.

Paakh said she got the chorale going after she had been a part of the Fargo-Moorhead Chorale and thought “why not have one in Detroit Lakes? We used to.”

She said there used to be a gospel choir she was a part of that performed at WE Fest as back-ups for various singers.

“We got up on stage and performed with whomever the star was that year,” she said.

The arts are important to Paakh, she said, and advocating for them.

“They do so much for the individual and the community,” she said. “Music can do so much for your spirit and balance in your life, and there are benefits of the community connecting.”

Supporting the youth advocacy of the arts, the chorale concert Sunday will feature a Lakes Youth Choir as well. Many of the kids will be students from the fifth through eighth grade choirs at Frazee-Vergas School where Paakh teaches, but other area kids are involved as well.

The Frazee students are the “core of the youth choir this year, and maybe next year will be another school,” she said.

There will also be some members of the community performing on instruments. 

Soloists from the adult choir include Scott Mehlhaff, Erlene DeCock, Kendra Mohn, Ginny McCamant, Brian Jones and Susan Champa.

Music from around the world is the theme for the concert, and some of the selected pieces include “Bonse Aba,” “Danny Boy,” “Amor De Mi Alma” and “A Festival Call to Freedom.”

“It truly has been a labor of love because I believe in it so much,” Paakh said. 

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