Clark County Choraliers celebrate Donna Olson, their director of 50 years

Clark County Choralier Director Donna Olson.
Clark County Choralier Director Donna Olson.
Submitted photo

Our Spring concert is Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 2 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 213 Hill St, Neillsville.

Fifty years! Where have those years gone? Music has always been a big part of my life. I sang in high school choir and played in and directed the concert band and pep band. We had a pastor’s wife who would say at any moment, let’s sing this morning! No warning! Adeline Myhrwold was my mentor and friend and she invited me to join the Choraliers. It was called the Homemaker’s Chorus back then in 1968. I loved the singing and camaraderie. In 1973, the Chorus needed a director, so I decided to give it a try. Little did I know how long this job was going to last! Now as the Director, I chose all the music for two concerts a year. We had a spring concert with 10-12 songs plus some special music by individuals. I always tried to pick a variety of music, including some musicals, patriotic, sacred, and just fun things to do that would appeal to everyone. For many years we would put on a concert for the Greenwood Elementary students in appreciation for us using their music room for rehearsals and to show the young people that music was more than just a class you had to attend in school. Kids loved our hand puppet song! Every spring and winter we went to a care facility or assisted living residence so we could put some joy in their day. Music is very therapeutic and reactions on their faces made us feel good that we could share our love of music with others. We also do church tours, singing at 4-5 churches on a Sunday morning. We always present a yearly Christmas Concert with the Clark County Male Chorus.  This gives us an opportunity to sing 4-part music plus our usual 3-part women’s music.

All my musical training started in high school with devoted band and choir teachers. I’m so grateful that I have been able to use that training to lead women in song. I’ve learned right alongside of them every rehearsal. Some had never performed in a concert setting. I hope that I made them feel comfortable and empowered. We’ve had some very talented people as our accompanist. Of course, my favorite one is my daughter! Jodi Rueth has been playing for us for many years along with teaching music for 30 years. Jodi and I enjoy singing together for church or concerts.

Before COVID, our group was about 25 women. We have dwindled in numbers and welcome women of all ages to join us. Come and give it a try; that’s what I did 55 years ago!

The Choraliers meet every Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood elementary school. We start in September for the Christmas Concert, which is the first Sunday in December and take off until mid January when we begin to practice for our Spring Concert which is the first Sunday in May. We take the summer off unless we're invited for some special events. The theme for the concert is just "2024 Spring Concert". The best contact person would be me at 715-551-6006.