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The Faribault Lakelanders Chorus earned top honors at the Land O’Lakes Southwest and 10,000 Lakes Divisions chorus competition in Nicollet March 24. They earned Southwest Division Plateau A District Champion, Southwest Divison Champion, and Most Improved Chorus. Pictured with the awards are Lakelanders Director Dale Danielson, left, and President George Trudeau. (Photo courtesy of Bill Mark)

The Faribault Lakelanders Chorus is small in numbers, but that didn’t stop it from earning top honors in three categories at the Land O’Lakes Southwest and 10,000 Lakes Divisions spring chorus contest in Nicollet.

Competing against other choruses from Minnesota, Wisconsin and parts of Canada, the Lakelanders were named Most Improved Chorus, Southwest Division Plateau A Champions and Southwest Division Champions overall on March 24.

The Lakelanders earned Most Improved Chorus by competing against its previous scores. A panel of judges rated each chorus based on music, performance and singing. Lakelanders President George Trudeau said they earned high scores by singing in tune, telling a story with the song and looking like they were having fun.

The chorus sang two songs in the old-time barbershop style: “Sentimental Journey,” which Doris Day and the Platters both covered, and “Let the Rest of the World Go By.”

Singing these songs also earned the Lakelanders top honors in the Southwest Division Plateau A and the Southwest Division overall. Trudeau said the Lakelanders chorus falls under the Plateau A category based on their small size. Larger choruses compete in the Plateau AA or Plateau AAA divisions. For their overall Southwest Division Champion award, Trudeau said the Lakelanders’ scores surpassed those of the bigger choruses in their division.

While these titles help the Lakelanders qualify for the district competitions in the fall, Trudeau said the group’s goal isn’t to acquire as many rewards as possible.

“The reason for [the competitions] is to get better,” said Trudeau. “Our performance is for the Faribault community when we do the Hope and Harmony fundraiser in the fall. It’s a win-win-win.”

The Lakelanders Chorus members sing for their own enjoyment every week, but the group’s public performances entertain listeners and raise money for three “Hope” causes. The Lakelanders gain exposure and delight audiences at parades during the summer and at area senior living centers during the Christmas season, and the funds they raise from singing valentines and the Hope and Harmony concert benefit Ruth’s House of Hope, the HOPE Center, and Whispers of Hope.

“We donated $4,500 to the HOPE Center, Whispers of Hope, and Ruth’s House of Hope last year,” said Mark.

Added Trudeau: “It’s so much fun, and to put that cause behind it, too, makes it worthwhile.”

Trudeau said he’d like the Lakelanders to expand to a bigger chorus, and Mark agreed.

“What we really need to do is get more young people interested,” said Mark. “That’s the problem with rural choruses like ours – it’s difficult to keep them filled with young people.”

Singing for worthy causes has engaged the interest in younger generations, but Mark and Trudeau still want to recruit new members.

“Our chorus has 18 registered members, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come sing with us on Monday nights,” said Trudeau. “You have to be registered to compete, but we have guys who like to stop by and sing with us who aren’t registered members.”

The Faribault Lakelanders Chorus meets 7 p.m. every Monday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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