Forestview Middle School Choir Brings Fathers, Grandfathers, And Sons Together
A unique choir in the Brainerd School District is building bonds between students, teachers, fathers, and grandfathers.
“Sweet Caroline” could be heard in the halls of Forestview Middle School Thursday morning as the Dads Choir practiced for their big concert. The Forestview Middle School Dads Choir is a group of 6th, 7th and 8th grade male students and their fathers, grandfathers, or a male role model that come together to sing.
“It’s been fun and singing is something you can do your whole life, and it’s great to see the different ages and the grandpas and the dads and the boys and it sounds pretty good, too,” said Dads Choir member Marty Wagner.
The choir was started three years ago and features around 80 participants. Some even represent three generations of family members. The choir was formed by Marcus Aulie to provide a way for family to come together in a unique way.
“There’s a lot of opportunities in our community for them to do things with sports and fishing and hunting and all of those activities, but there’s not arts activities, like being in a choir, that we provide,” said Choir Director Marcus Aulie. “So I think that that’s kind of evolved into the coolest thing about this.”
Aulie says he wanted to break the stereotype that some have about males and singing.
“We’re always fighting a stereotype about, is it okay to be a man and sing, and that’s just kind of a stereotype we fight a lot with middle school boys,” explained Aulie. “So I wanted to create and experience where I surround them with a lot of adult males that were singing with them and kind of made them feel better about that.”
In the three years since the choir has been formed, it has grown and become something that people look forward to every year.
“We’ve done it every year since they’ve been doing it and it seemed like a fun thing to do together,” said choir member Scott Belton, who joined with his two sons, father, and father-in-law.
For the members, it is more than just a choir. It offers a way for people to come together over a common passion.
“The coolest things for me is just to look out across the choir during rehearsal and see a boy that I’m going to teach next hour sitting next to his dad, and they sing together for the next half hour,” Aulie added.
“When you’re so busy doing all kinds of different things, you’re always in a rush in the mornings – it’s just nice to have that time to sing and my brother-in-law and my nephew is right next to me, too,” choir member Mark Juel said. “It’s a rare thing. You don’t always get everybody in the same room.”
The choir will perform the song “Sweet Caroline” during the school’s spring concert next Tuesday, May 21 at 7:15 p.m.