Real Men Sing will raise voices from across Minnesota

Young men, older men, all men should sing.

That will be the primary lesson next month when young men from more than 30 Twin Cities area schools participate in Great Northern Union’s third annual Real Men Sing festival.

During the one-day singing festival on Oct. 3, more than 200 students from area schools* will form two choirs, a seventh- through ninth-grade choir and a 10th-grade through college-age choir.

Great Northern Union’s musical director, Douglas Carnes, will lead and coach the older choir.

At 25, Carnes is already an accomplished music educator. A graduate of Five Towns College with his master’s degree in choral conducting, Carnes was formerly employed at Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School where he developed a choral curriculum with a focus on the barbershop art form. Carnes has had the privilege to sing and play all around the world. His credits include playing percussion on Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway, to working with the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2013 No Borders Youth Chorus. He is an active coach, clinician, singer and conductor for BHS and has an intense focus on its youth movement.

Likewise, Scott Perau, who will lead the younger choir, is an accomplished music educator. Perau is currently the high school choral director at Red Wing High School.

A graduate of UW-River Falls, Perau studied voice and choral conducting under Dr. J.W. Park. Previously, Perau taught vocal music for six years in Wisconsin, five of which were in the Somerset School District. Under Perau's instruction, the Somerset High School Choral Department nearly doubled its numbers, expanded from one curricular choir to two, placed many students into the W.S.M.A. State Honors Choirs, and was selected to perform at the 2015 W.C.D.A. State Convention.

First organized in 2013, the one-day singing festival has featured more than 200 students in each of the first two years.

The cost for students to participate is just $5 ($15 for educators), though no student will be turned away for financial reasons. Each student will receive a festival T-shirt, lunch and copies of the music they will learn throughout the day.

The Real Men Sing festival will culminate with a special concert to be held at 5 p.m.Saturday, Oct. 3, at Benson Great Hall on the Bethel University campus. The concert will feature performances from Great Northern Union and The Limestones, a seven-voice male a capella group at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. For more information on the festival and show, visit

The Real Men Sing festival is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant and a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage funds.


Officially the Hilltop, Minn., chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Great Northern Union (GNU) was formed in 1985 with a single vision: “Fun through musical excellence.” The chorus first appeared on the BHS International Chorus Contest stage that same year and has returned 24 times since, placing in the top 10 every time. They have earned top 5 medalist honors eight times, including consecutive second-place silver medals in 2011 and 2012.

Not just a competitive chorus, GNU has as its mission to make a difference in the lives of others. The chorus is regarded for its leadership in BHS and in the Midwest for its youth outreach and musical education endeavors.

Through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, GNU sponsors an annual Real Men Sing festival designed to encourage young men to take up the lifelong hobby of singing. The chorus also puts on an annual Collegiate Men’s Chorus Festival and sponsors 30 Below, a summer youth men’s chorus.

Members of Great Northern Union come from a wide range of backgrounds and influences, with most residing in the greater Twin Cities metro region or western Wisconsin.



MEDIA CONTACT: GNU President Kirk Lindberg ([email protected]651.247.9096) or GNU Board Member Kyle Weaver ([email protected]317.965.3578)


* Male students from the following schools participated in the 2014 Real Men Sing festival:

Achieve Language Academy

Big Lake High School

Champlin Park High School


Eagan HS

East Ridge High School

Eastview High School

Hidden Oaks Middle School

Jamison Home School

Johnson Academy

Jordan High School

Mahtomedi High School

Mounds View High School

Nekoosa High School

New Richmond High School 

Nova Classical Academy

Osseo Junior High School

Plainview-Elgin-Millvile High School

Prior Lake High School

Red Rock Central

Riverdale Academy - Homeschool

Robbinsdale Armstrong High School

Saint Thomas Academy

Shakopee High School

Spring Lake Park 

St. Croix Preparatory Academy

St. Michael - Albertville High School

Underwood High School

Washington Technology Secondary


Westwood Middle School

White Bear Lake