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Mill City Singers 2018 Summer Performance Line-up Ends with a Finale at The Ordway 

Article by Claudia Kittock

It has been an exciting and busy season for the Mill City Singers. Only 2 ½ years old, this group has grown from 29 singers in the first session to a roster of 227 singers. The group began as a pilot project, funded by the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA), and with the mission of forming community.  The African concept, ubuntu, speaks of our interconnectedness and interdependence; it means “I am because we are.” Who we are as individuals is achieved through our relationship with others. Nowhere is this more evident than in this group of singers.

Mill City Singers and J.D. Steel at the Guthrie's April 16 Prince celebration

Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, says that “The joy of singing…the communal part of it, the part where differences are reconciled and we’re all just in it together, that’s the truly uplifting power of it.” We also know that singing for even 10 minutes reduces stress, clears sinuses, improves posture, and may even help you live longer. If that happens after 10 minutes, imagine the benefits of singing together 90 minutes every Saturday.

Mill City Singers was formed to build community through the joy of singing. Its power lies not in its artistic quality, since members are amateurs, many of whom don’t read music or who say “I don’t have much of a voice.”  Instead, the choir’s power is in the uniting of diverse voices, singing in harmony, all just in it together. The magic is that the sound we produce is wonderful. Why? We aren’t sure, but we know that love and community play a huge role in that magic.

There are many performances for the Mill City Singers in the next 2 months. On May 15th, the Singers will join the Capri Glee and the MacPhail Youth Community Choir for a performance at the Capri Theater on West Broadway at 7:00pm. If you have never attended a concert there, put it on your calendar. We promise the building will be rocking!

On May 19th, the Singers will be singing on the steps of the Minnesota State Capital at 1:00 pm. It is an event to promote legislation for reducing gun violence. We hope you all join us there.

The Loring Park Music Festival is June 9th and we will be a featured group. If you haven’t been to this Festival, please plan to go. It is great fun in a neighborhood filled with vibrancy. We appreciate getting to know our neighbors and lending our voices to this party.

We will be singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch of the June 21 Minnesota Twins game. This has become a summer tradition and is a highlight for the singers. Come and sing along with us.

The last event of the season will be June 23rd at the Ordway in St. Paul. We will again join with Capri Glee and the MacPhail Community Youth Choir to honor veterans in a 7:00pm concert.

What a year! We are so grateful to this community for their support. The Metro Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has awarded us two grants, and we are hoping for another one. The Guthrie Theater provides us rehearsal space at no cost, and our Singers are generous contributors. We know how lucky we are to sing here, led by the magical J.D. and Fred Steele.

New singers are always welcome. If this sounds like fun, and it is, contact Claudia Kittock at All you need is a heart for singing and community. Give it a try. I’m betting you won’t be able to resist!

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).


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