Spring Grove members of Luren enjoy singing at Sangerfest

By : 
Jordan Gerard

It was a large concert full of grandeur as the Luren Singers took the stage at the 62nd Biennial Sangerfest held in Decorah from May 31 to June 2.

The event is hosted by the Norwegian Singers Association of America, which includes 12 choruses from the Midwest, including the Luren Singing Society.

Every other year the association hosts Sangerfest, where the choruses come together. Sangerfest is held in a different city each time, which makes 2018 Decorah’s turn.

The choruses sing a selection of their own songs and they all come together to sing one song, Luren member Jim Gray said. 

“We practice the same songs and have three mass rehearsals and sing it at the concert on Saturday,” he said. “With 240 men singing, you wouldn’t believe the sound. It’s a powerful experience and just a cool sound.”

An orchestra from Decorah accompanied Sangerfest. 

Luren’s songs were popular songs, spiritual, show tunes and about a third of their songs are in Norwegian. The range of music provides a scattered repertoire to Luren’s sound.

Gray added the average age of a Luren Singer is 65 years old, though two of the members are 92 years old and still sing well.

“Older men can have a different sound,” he said. “They can sing things that young men can’t. They have unique voices.”

Sangerfest is also a chance for friends to get together from different choruses. 

“It’s like meeting with a big family. You get to see old friends. It’s an unforgettable experience for any singer,” Gray said.

Audience members were impressed with the “good, honest, sincere” music, and said it was an amazing experience, Gray relayed.

Luren also added 16 new singers this year. Gray said the distance to Decorah is no feat for people who would like to sing with them.

Many come from Spring Grove, making it second to Decorah in the number of Luren Singers.

“It’s really important to have Spring Grove in there,” Gray said. “We’re a big part of it. Luren is important to Spring Grove and Spring Grove is important to Luren.”

Their next major performance is their Christmas concert, which will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church this year in Spring Grove.

The Luren Singing Society always welcomes new members. There are no auditions to join the chorus.

Spring Grove residents are Bill Fried, Dan Alstad, Jim Gray, Fordyce Brevig, Paul Gray, David Storlie, Kim Kapplinger, Brent Newgaard, Ken Anderson, Gordon Gaustad, Richard Bjorlo, Karl Haakenstad, Stewart Storlie and Eric Frydenlund.