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Windom group set for benefit concert

WINDOM — For more than 20 years, the Windom Area Chordhustlers have put people in the holiday spirit with their a capella renditions of Christmas tunes, ranging from “O Holy Night” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”

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Now, the group is gearing up for its annual Foodshelf Benefit Concert, “We Need a Little Christmas,” set to begin at 4 p.m. Sunday in St. Francis Xavier Church, 548 17th St., Windom.

The event has proven to be a good fundraiser for area foodshelves, while encouraging the giving spirit of attendees. Admission to the choral concert is the donation of cash or a non-perishable food item. In a typical year, more than 700 pounds of food and up to $400 has been collected to benefit the area’s needy. In the past, food shelves in Cottonwood, Jackson and Martin counties have benefitted from the proceeds.

Kent Mickelson of Lakefield directs the 30-member all-male Chordhustlers group. The men, ranging in age from 16 to more than 80, come from within a 35-mile radius of Windom to practice for the annual Christmas concert. Each is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

“This year, we’re having the Southwest Minnesota Men’s Chorus with us,” said Mickelson. “We’ll sing some traditional Christmas carols and some new songs we’ve learned this year.”

Following the Windom Area Chordhustlers performance, the Southwest Minnesota Men’s Chorus will sing a variety of contemporary and classical tunes.

“Their chorus is approximately the same size as ours,” Mickelson said, adding that there will be three pieces sung jointly by the two choruses to complete the concert.

Following the concert, coffee and bars will be served in the church basement.

Mickelson said the Windom Area Chordhustlers began rehearsals after Labor Day, but with many of the members in the group actively involved in farming, practices were rather slimly attended during harvest season. The group has been rehearsing in earnest since early November.

In addition to the annual Foodshelf Benefit Concert, the Windom Area Chordhustlers present an annual spring show in Windom, and then do travelling for a few weekends each summer. By the time their touring is complete, they have performed in 20 to 25 different churches, Mickelson said.

Not only do the Windom Area Chordhustlers share their talents with the public across southwest Minnesota, they also help to nurture the talent of up and coming choral students. Each year, the group sponsors the Youth in Harmony program at Jackson County Central High School. The event, in January, draws choral students from across the area to learn from clinicians and visiting quartets.

“That’s a very important program for us,” Mickelson said, adding that the Chordhustlers are always looking for new members. Anyone interested in being a part of the group is welcome to join them for rehearsals at 7:30 p.m. every Monday, at the Living Word Lutheran Church, Windom.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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