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Lakes Area chorale to start rehearsals

It's been eight years since the Lakes Area Community Concert Band was formed to provide an opportunity for area musicians to perform and play together in a concert setting.

Currently, the band is 48 members strong — and local resident Lori Paakh is hoping to have similar success in organizing a community choir.

Rehearsals for the Lakes Area Chorale begin on Sunday, Jan. 5, in Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes, continuing every Sunday through March 2. Each rehearsal begins promptly at 4 p.m.

"A lot of us have missed having a community choir to participate in," Paakh said. "It's been more than 10 years since we've had a community choir in the lakes area, and it's been quite a journey to get that ball rolling again."

So far, Paakh said she has about 15 choir members signed up, and ideally, she would like to have between 50-100 singers participating.

"We're hoping that people who are interested in joining would try to make the Dec. 20 signup deadline," Paakh said, mainly because she wants to make sure that she has enough sheet music lined up for everyone.

But just because the choir members will be provided with sheet music, courtesy of about a half dozen area churches, that doesn't mean those who have difficulty reading music shouldn't sign up, Paakh added.

"I'd like people to know that they shouldn't be afraid of joining and trying something new, even if they're not good note readers," she said. "We're going to have a rehearsal CD provided for everyone, so they can learn the music that way."

Paakh also said that it's not a problem if participants have to miss a few rehearsals.

"It's OK if they miss a few (rehearsals), because they'll have the CD to rehearse with," Paakh said.

The Chorale's debut concert is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in Holy Rosary. The Chorale will be joined in concert by the Lakes Youth Choir and the Lakes Area Woodwind Quintet.

The quintet is an ensemble of Lakes Area Community Concert Band members, led by Rick Olson.

The Lakes Youth Choir will consist of youth from area churches and schools and will perform two songs for the concert, as well as one song with the Lakes Area Chorale. The choir will prepare with their respective youth choirs and then come together for one rehearsal from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on March 9, prior to the concert.

There is no registration fee to participate, and all the choirs will receive their own copies of the music.

If you know a youth choir or a child who would like to be a part of the Community Youth Chorus you can contact Brittany Forness at for more information.

Though there is a Dec. 20 signup deadline, Paakh said that she doesn't want to turn away any latecomers, so even if they miss the deadline, interested singers should still contact her by e-mail at, or the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center at

"The DLCCC is providing support for us," Paakh explained.

Registration forms can be picked up e-mailed to one of the above addresses, or sent by U.S. mail to: Lakes Area Chorale, 1758 Brainerd Blvd., Detroit Lakes MN 56501.

Participants will not be required to audition, she added.

"This is open to all adult singers," Paakh said. "We want to get our community choir going again, and we want to encourage people to participate."

Ultimately, she said, she wants everyone who participates to have fun.

"I think we'll have a blast," Paakh said. "We have a lot of sponsors lined up, quite a few businesses that are supporting this effort. Now all we need are the singers."

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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