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Taking the helm

June 9, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

On Tuesday nights, Adam Christie doesn't mind being the only guy in a room full of women.

Earlier this year, Christie became the new director of the Song of the Prairie women's barbershop chorus that meets for rehearsals Tuesday nights at the Adult Community Center in Marshall.

Originally from Billings, Mont., Christie came to Minnesota to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, graduating with a degree in music education.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba

Adam Christie, the new director of the Song of the Prairie women’s barbershop chorus, leads the group in one of the songs from its repertoire.

"There's just something about choral music that has a profound effect on people, a healing effect," Christie said. "And the conductor at Concordia, Dr. Rene Clausen, he's the best there is at that." Christie said he wanted to study with Clausen, which spurred him to attend Concordia, and that Clausen was an excellent mentor.

Christie came to Montevideo to help out his grandmother.

"It was only supposed to be a couple of months, then it turned (out) to be a year," Christie said. He got a job teaching music at Clarkfield Area Charter School. Pretty soon that year turned into two years. He said he's looking for a full-time teaching job as well.

Last year, he started directing a community choir in Montevideo.

"We did all different types of music, gospel, hymns," Christie said. He said the choir performed at church services and dinners, the Chippewa County Relay for Life and did a concert of its own.

And this year, he started leading another group with the Song of the Prairie chorus. Christie said he had done barbershop music in high school and college.

"They're the best part of my week," Christie said of the Song of the Prairie chorus. "It's a lot of fun because they are full of heck."

Christie said he thinks a lot of the chorus.

"That they would subject themselves to a 25-year-old 'know-it-all,'" Christie said. "They're pretty wonderful ladies."

And the women in the chorus appreciate what Christie brings. Karen Halling of Granite Falls said Christie brings "a lot of musical knowledge" and energy to the chorus.

"A lot of youth," added Donna Geier, also of Granite Falls. "We're lucky we have him."

Christie said the Song of the Prairie chorus is incredibly welcoming and has a great sound.

"I would put their sound against any small barbershop chorus," Christie said.

The goal is to get a "facelift" on the group, not just a visual one, but how it sounds and increasing the performance level, he said. The plan is to also have the chorus compete next year.

"By next year, they should be at the quality both sound and choreography-wise to hold their own on a Broadway stage," Christie said.

Christie said the Song of the Prairie chorus recently performed at the Clarkfield Area Charter School concert.

"They were the highlight, the kids were just thrilled," Christie said.

Christie also writes music and does a lot of musical arrangements.

"I'm arranging right now a couple of Doris Day medleys for the group," he said. For his own compositions, Christie said he does a lot of contemporary and choral music.

Since he became part of the group, the Song of the Prairie chorus has retained its membership. Five new members come from the Montevideo area as well, he said.

But there's always room for more members, Christie said, even for those who are in high school.

"I really think women are missing out by not being in this group," Christie said.



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