The Parkland Men’s Choir 2014. Three members were missing from this photo.

Parkland Men’s Choir celebrates 25 years

The Parkland Men's Choir is 25 years old this year and they are celebrating with a special 25th Anniversary Concert.

The Parkland Men’s Choir is 25 years old this year and they are celebrating with a special 25th Anniversary Concert.

The volunteer group of Christian men come from many different churches of several denominations around central Alberta including places like Rimbey, Ponoka, Lacombe, Bentley, Red Deer, Innisfail, Clive, Tees and points beyond. They love to share their faith and love for God through music.

Each year they practice from mid-September to the end of April at the Woodynook Christian Reformed Church, a fairly central location for them.

Originally called the Parkland Male Chorus, it was started in January 1989 by a few men who gathered together under the direction of Frank Tolsma. The choir grew to over 50 members at one point and changed their name. They are now under the direction of Larry Johnson from Lacombe. There have been many pianists over the years. Current pianist is Brenda Klosse from Rocky Mountain House.

There are about two dozen active members this year but they expect their numbers to swell for their special evening of celebration after having invited as many former members as they could track down to join with them. There have been 100-125 different members come and go.

The men’s choir regularly gets invited to sing at churches, senior lodges, and community functions.

Besides the harmony and blend of their male voices lifting up dynamic praise to God in anthems, spirituals, hymns and southern gospel music, they have special guests coming as well.

Special performers include the Potter’s Clay quartet from Rimbey. Ken Newbury from Rimbey handles the sound. Tenor Ed Parkins from Rimbey, is the only original member left. Wayne McCrackin from Bowden sings the lead. Bert Adrian from Trochu now sings bass instead of baritone. Don Matchullis from Olds now sings the baritone part, and they are accompanied by Elliot Fleck on piano.

More special guests for the evening concert include world-renowned saxophonist and composer Dr. Charles Stolte, Associate Professor of Saxophone, Music Theory and Composition at the King’s University College in Edmonton; and Marla Torgerson, acclaimed musician/vocalist singer/songwriter, recently relocated to Calgary after spending 5 years performing in Europe and Asia, originally from Red Deer.

The Parkland Male Choir invites everyone to their free 25th season Celebration In Concert at the Woodynook Christian Reformed Church on April 26 at 7:00 p.m. to help them, and former members, celebrate.