Singing with a purpose is the goal for a new community-based choir taking shape in Superior.
The Superior Lutheran Choir recently received its status as a nonprofit in Wisconsin and is developing a board of directors with the goal of becoming a 501(c)3, so the ensemble relies less on the five Lutheran churches that helped launch it.
“About two years ago, coming up here at the end of October, it was the 500th anniversary of Lutheran Reformation,” said Samuel Gray, director of the choir and choir teacher at Duluth Edison. “And with that, the five (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) congregations here in Superior — at least four of them at that time — came together and had a 500th anniversary Reformation service.”
As the music director at Zion Lutheran Church, Gray said he was tasked with creating the ensemble by the pastor there and ministers from Concordia, Our Savior’s and Pilgrim Lutheran churches to create the ensemble for the anniversary Reformation service.
Following that service, Gray said an interest developed to create a community-based choir that involved people from all five of Superior’s Lutheran churches, and members of the community who don’t go to church.
He said the group came together again around Lent for a Good Friday service. Then in the summer of 2018, Gray said he and his wife started a community choir with the help of the churches. He said two of the churches helped by providing money to cover the cost of posters to get them started.
“We had a huge response,” Gray said. “We had like 40 people show up one night for our first rehearsal.”
Initially, the choir met once a month for rehearsal, but there was interest among the majority to meet twice a month, he said.
Now the choir comes together the second and fourth Thursdays of each month to rehearse. The first rehearsal for the season starts at 7 p.m., Sept. 12 in the balcony of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 820 Belknap St.
“We were very informal, open to anyone,” Gray said. “It gives them something they may be able to contribute in a way that isn’t your typical idea of what church is … I think it’s a really good unifying voice.”
Gray said the choir has 20 to 30 members now, but it’s open to anyone who wants to share their skills or even just learn.
“We do a couple of performances in churches, but we don’t necessarily do them for a church,” Gray said. “It’s not your typical church choir.”
And the choir is already planning for its tour this season on the first and second weekends in October.
“This year we are doing a tour of the Lutheran churches that have helped support us,” Gray said. “We’re just popping in before their service, singing a few songs, and moving on to the next church.”