A dedicated, founding member of the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus will be honored at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 29, when the chorus presents its spring concert “North Dakota Sings!” at New Salem High School, in conjunction with the New Salem High School choir.
During this free concert, the chorus will recognize Delores “Foxy” Brunen, of New Salem, who is retiring from the chorus after 40 years of commuting each week for rehearsals.
“I love music,” Brunen said. “I found out about the chorus from an ad in the (Bismarck) Tribune. I almost couldn’t audition; I was so nervous that I didn’t think I could do it.”
Her family encouraged her to stay in the chorus and be involved in music, and her husband often drove her to rehearsals, even when the interstate was closed due to snow.
“I didn’t miss many rehearsals unless it was a case of death or dying,” Brunen said. “One time my husband figured out the miles I drove over the years to get to rehearsal and the number of cars we’d had. We lived north of New Salem, so we figured out it was about 45 miles each way. When you live on a farm you are pretty tough.”
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Years ago, Brunen did miss a concert due to having a heart attack, but she made it to the run-out concert in Dickinson a week later. Now at age 71, and after another heart attack, Brunen has decided it is time to retire from the chorus.
“I’ve saved everything; every uniform we’ve had,” she said. “I have lots of pictures; I’ve tried to keep the history of the chorus. I’m going to pass it on to someone else in the chorus.”
Monday’s concert will give the high school choir members an opportunity to perform with a large group of older singers. The 15-member high school choir’s choral literature ranges from modern choral to a cappella pop and jazz. The group has earned star ratings at the Washburn large group festival four years in a row, and members have representing the choir at the regional and state solo ensemble festival.
“We are excited to collaborate with Civic Chorus for a concert and look forward to joining them in their finale, American Medley,” said Jacob Wanner, conductor of the New Salem High School choir.
“The concert features familiar and favorite songs from a variety of traditions that will leave the audience humming for joy,” said Civic Chorus director Tom Porter. “Some of the featured pieces include ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ ‘Du, du liegst mir im Herzen’ and a set of patriotic songs, ‘America,’ ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ The chorus will also sing choral standards such as ‘Earth Song’ by Frank Ticheli, ‘Stomp Your Foot’ by Aaron Copland and ‘With a Song in My Heart’ by Richard Rodgers.”