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Heartfelt harmonies: Barbershop singers to deliver musical valentines on Feb. 14

Receiving a singing Valentine, Kim Schlauderaff listens to the barber shop quartet made up of (from left) Gary Gunstinson, Mike Boen, Daryl Haarstick and Don Matteson. The group was one of many that the Heart O'Lakes Men's Barbershop Men's Chorus sends out on Valentine’s Day each year, traveling around the Frazee, Vergas and Detroit Lakes area, and singing to people whose sweethearts hire the group to serenade them. Paula Quam / Tribune

It's been more than 50 years since members of the Heart O'Lakes Harmony Men's Barbershop Chorus first began to offer singing valentines to sweethearts throughout the lakes area every Feb. 14.

This year, no less than three quartets of barbershop singers will be sent out on Valentine's Day to deliver the musical missives in the different areas where Heart O'Lakes Harmony group members live, says Carl Andersen, who serves as the scheduler for one of the three groups.

"My group is covering an area from Detroit Lakes to Frazee, Vergas and Perham," Andersen added. "There's another quartet that will be going out into the Pelican Rapids area, and another based in Fergus Falls. They each have their own scheduler as well."

Each Singing Valentine costs $35, which includes a Valentine's Day mug filled with candy and a small balloon, along with a digital photograph to commemorate the event — not to mention a complimentary ticket for one of Heart O'Lakes Harmony's upcoming spring shows (the Detroit Lakes show is set for March 24 at the Historic Holmes Theatre).

Proceeds will be used to support local charities as well as to help defray ongoing expenses for the group, which rehearses every Monday night at Faith Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids. Its membership, which boasts upwards of 40 singers, comes from towns throughout the lakes region. Heart O'Lakes Harmony formed about 20 years ago, Andersen says, when two area barbershop groups, the Detroit Lakes-based Skippers Chorus and the Fergus Falls based Lakes Country Chorus, joined forces.

Andersen also noted that he would probably be taking singing valentine orders "right up to the wire on Valentine's Day," but cautioned that the earlier they're scheduled, the more likely that the sender will get the delivery time they want.

"We can't always show up at the exact time a person wants," he added. "Logistics are a factor.."

For instance, Andersen explained, the quartet can't deliver one singing valentine in Perham at 10 a.m., and another in Detroit Lakes at 10:15, as the travel time between the two communities has to be taken into account. "Sometimes we're traveling 20-30 miles between stops," he added. "If people are smart, they will get their orders in as soon as possible."

Andersen said the group will take special song requests, but they also have a repertoire romantic-themed selections at the ready, such as "Let Me Call you Sweetheart," "Heart of My Heart" and many more.

To schedule a time for delivery, please contact Andersen at 218-770-3461. For more information about the Heart O'Lakes Harmony Men's Barbershop Chorus, including dates for upcoming shows, please visit the website at heartolakesharmony.org, or take a look at their Facebook page. To purchase tickets for their March 28 show, please visit the Holmes Theatre website at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html, call 218-844-7469, or stop by the box office at 826 Summit Ave. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for students; all kids age 12 and under are admitted free of charge.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454
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