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Friends of the Mill District Singers Update

Article by Claudia Kittock

The Friends of the Mill District Singers are on summer hiatus, but ended this session with a bang.  We performed at the Loring Park Music Fest on June 10th. If you remember, June 10th had a high temperature of 93, and we sang at 2:00 in the afternoon! Nothing could stop this group of friends and neighbors.

Our performance in the park, led by JD Steele and accompanied by Fred Steele, was filled with passion and fun. We sang songs of joy, of hope, and some that were filled with laughter. JD, in his inimitable style, had the audience singing along with us and moving to the music. I think it is safe to say that singers and audience alike had a great time.

The Singers are sponsored by the neighborhood charity, Friends of the Mill District, and a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). We received a grant for the 2016-17 season and just received word that we have received another grant for the 2017-18 season. These grants are critical to the survival of our group. While the grant covers about 40% of the operating expenses for the group, we depend on the contribution of individuals to keep us going.

We performed in very different venues to very different audiences, ranging from the Guthrie Theater, the MacPhail Music Matters Luncheon, at the Concert Across American to End Violence, Winterfest on 2nd Street in the Mill District, to singing ‘Take Me out to the Ballgame’ during the 7th Inning stretch at a Minnesota Twins game. It is difficult to imagine a more diverse range of venues, although we are determined to add audiences next year. Our goals were met in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and we far surpassed anything we were able to imagine.

We ended this season with 160 members on our roster. The average attendance at rehearsals seems to have ‘settled’ at 42-43 singers. We have carloads of men from Harbor Lights attending, people from Alliance Apartments and Emanuel Housing, as well as many members from the Mill District condominiums and from condos in the St. Anthony neighborhood. There is even a ‘friend’ who drives from North Branch to sing with us. While our outreach has been incredibly successful, we are just getting started!

If you are interested in making a contribution, please send a check to Friends of the Mill District, at 212 10th Avenue S, Unit 102, Minneapolis, MN 55415. Thank you!!

If you'd like to join the Singers when Saturday practices resume later this year, drop a line to for more info.

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