On a weekend in October 2014, the Great Northern Union Chorus took their unique brand of music on the road to Northern Minnesota communities. The purpose of this trip was to support the Barbershop Harmony Society vision of “No Strings Attached”. It demonstrates a core goal of the GNU to support and encourage singers and choirs of all ages and genres. The tour was made possible with a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This grant covered the entire cost of the weekend and it allowed the GNU the opportunity to touch the lives of these communities by “making the music that’s making a difference”.
The first day of the tour was spent in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The GNU conducted a workshop in the afternoon, demonstrating their craft for two community choirs. One, a mixed chorus, and the other, an all-male chorus. After the workshop, the three groups combined for rehearsal of a piece would sing together during that evening’s concert performance.
The next morning, the GNU traveled to Staples, Minnesota to participate in a Real Men Sing event hosted by the Staples Area Men’s Chorus. The GNU was invited as a special guest and was greeted by over 400 young men from around the region who came together for a day of singing. The GNU conducted a workshop during the afternoon to demonstrate the barbershop art form. Participants were also taught a tag! A number of impromptu tag singing groups could be fond singing together throughout the rest of the day.
Having the opportunity to share their passion and music with these two communities and performers was truly an honor for the members of the Great Northern Union. Changing lives through their art and artistry is central to the mission of the GNU. Spending time in these two communities with both adults and young people, supporting their musical efforts is one way the Great Northern Union works to accomplish that mission.