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Mankato Riverblenders History

AWARD OF HARMONY RECIPIENTS

Award of Harmony: given annually to an individual (non-barbershopper) who has contributed to harmony in our community.

1980

Elmer Fritz

1981

Betty Painter

1982

Dorothy Foster

1983

Fr. Robert Crosbie

1984

Roy B. Moore

1985

Ray Kraus

1986

Bunny Just

1987

Don Paap

1988

Sara McKay

1989

Harold Paul

1990

Allen Wortman

1991

Dagne Pearson

1992

Jean Sorenson

1993

Dr. Eillis Jones

1994

Chuck Pasek

1995

Robert Warrent

1996

Fred Lutz

1997

Lowell Schreyer

1998

Carol Grimmer

1999

Claire and Hazel Faust

2000

Martin Larson

2001

Bob Wirtz

2002

Jack McGowan

2003

Paulette Redman

2004

Angie Miller

2005

Sue Splinter

2006

Pamela Determan

2007

Denny & Karen Sandersfeld

2008

John Berg

2009

Truman Wood

2010 Pam DeMarce 2011 Win and Shirley Grundmeir
2012 Jerry and Carol Larson 2013 Jeanne Makela and Denny Wahlstrom
2014 Gretchen Etzell 2015

Scott Wojcik

2016 Barbara Frank* 2017 Sandy Stenzel
       

Each year the Riverblenders select at least one person, who we believe, brings harmony into our community.  The harmony generated by these individuals is often a result of their work in their chosen field of education, government, commerce, or through their volunteer service to others.  We are blessed with so many fine people in our community that it is often very difficult to select just one person, but this year our choice was unanimous.    

This exceptionally talented musician has had a direct impact on the Mankato Riverblenders and the surrounding community.  Without a doubt, the recipient of our 2017 Award of Harmony has done more to promote barbershop harmony as an educator and youth leader than anyone else in recent history.  She has been a stalwart supporter of our Youth in Harmony program and supported the involvement of several young men attending our annual Learn to Sing program.  Her high school music program has trained numerous male and female barbershop quartets that compete in regional contests and perform at high school shows.  In 2015 she was the recipient of an educator scholarship to attend the week-long Barbershop Harmony Society Harmony University.  Without a doubt, she is one of the most dedicated music educators in the area.

This fine musician had her roots in the country and was one of six children raised on the family farm near Redwood Falls.  She attended grade school and high school in Redwood Falls and it wasn’t long before she discovered the piano and a beautiful soprano voice.  She became a very accomplished pianist and soloist.  She was an accompanist for her high school choir and an organist at her church and was very active in all aspects of music in high school.  Upon graduation she went on to complete her Bachelors in Music Education degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato and began her public school teaching career in Eureka, South Dakota.

She soon returned to Minnesota State University to obtain her Masters in Music Education.  She was very active in music and sang in the MSU choir while giving private piano lessons.  Dr. Al Wortman, another Award of Harmony recipient, was her mentor during her graduate program and he selected her as his Graduate Assistant in the Music Department.  “Doc” Wortman said that she was one of his most favorite students of all time.  With her Masters in Music Education, she continued her teaching career in the various schools that are now part of the Maple River School district.  She has been an elementary music teacher, private voice and piano teacher, and is currently the Maple River High School choral director.

She has a wonderful husband and family.  It was while she was working on her master’s degree that she attended a wedding reception for a friend.  There was this good looking guy at the reception and the story goes that she became so distracted by her conversation with him that she actually let someone borrow her car for the rest of the night.  Well, of course, she then had no transportation so she had to ask this fellow, with his brand new car, for a ride home and the rest is history.  She is now the proud mother of two wonder daughters, Jennifer and Mariah, with grandchildren and one son, Charles, (a barbershopper) who is a sophomore in college.  In her free time she enjoys singing, playing piano, directing choirs, giving private piano and voice lessons, swimming, boating and spending time with family and friends.  You will never see her without a smile!

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