Weather Forecast


Harmonies from the heart

From "Heart of My Heart" to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," there's nothing quite like the sound of a barbershop quartet crooning a love song from that special someone on Valentine's Day to warm even the coldest heart.

Residents of the Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Perham area will once again have the chance to send a singing valentine to their loved ones this year, courtesy of the barbershop quartet Notified.

Come Feb. 14, singers Daryl Haarstick (bass), Don Mattison (baritone), Gary Gunstinson (tenor) and Mike Boen (lead vocals) will declare your love in song-- whether the object of your affection is a man or a woman, young or old -- for just $35.

The cost covers not just a song, but also a special valentine's gift, such as flowers, chocolate or balloons.

"This is one of our major fundraisers of the year for the chorus," says Gunstinson, referring to the Heart O'Lakes Barbershop Chorus, to which all four singers also belong. "It's going to be pretty much all day, from 8 (a.m.) to 8 (p.m.)."

The Heart O'Lakes Harmony Chorus is a group of barbershop singers that includes members from as far away as Wheaton and as close by as Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids and Frazee.

Gunstinson, who lives in Frazee, has been a member of the chorus for the past 18 years -- since the days when it was known as the Skipper Chorus.

"About 20 years ago, I heard them sing at the middle school in Detroit Lakes, and I said if I ever have the time, I want to be a part of this," he said. "When the time became available, I started doing it, and I've been doing it for the past 18 years."

A few years ago, the Skipper Chorus of Detroit Lakes and the Lake Country Barbershop Chorus from Fergus Falls joined forces, when numbers in each group were dwindling, to form the Heart O'Lakes Barbershop Chorus.

Today the group includes approximately 50 members. They meet once a week to rehearse, every Monday at 7 p.m. in Faith Lutheran Church, Pelican Rapids.

The singing valentines are a tradition that was started by the Barbershop Harmony Society several years ago, as an annual fundraiser.

"I've been doing it for about 14 years," Gunstinson said, about being a part of the singing valentine fundraiser. "It's a great way to show your love, to your spouse or significant other...we even have a special song just for guys."

As for why he has been a barbershop singer for so long, Gunstinson said, "I just love to sing."

Those who would like to request a singing valentine are asked to call 218-234-3336 and leave a message.

"We'll be taking song requests," Gunstinson said.

Besides the Valentine's Day fundraiser, which includes just the Notified quartet, the entire Heart O'Lakes Harmony Barbershop Chorus will also be performing a special concert, "Honky-tonk Harmony," on Friday, Feb. 13, in the Fergus Theatre in Fergus Falls, and again on Saturday, April 14, in Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre.

Both shows start at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the group and its upcoming shows, please visit the Heart O'Lakes Harmony website at, or take a look at their Facebook page.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454