A group of educators with a shared love of music have been singing and entertaining audiences for over 14 years. Now the women, who perform as Nu Notes, plan to use their talents to benefit another arts organization.
The Mouse River Players are hosting a Nu Notes fundraising event on May 26 at 7 p.m. at the Arlene Theater at 115 1st Ave. SE to downtown Minot. The purpose of the voluntary donation event is to help MRP raise funds for its lobby renovation project.
Nu Notes is composed of singers drawn from the members of the Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) of Minot – Nu Chapter. DKG is an international honorary society that promotes the professional and personal growth of educators and excellence in education.
Sandra Starr had listened to her fellow DKG members sing at senior facilities over Christmas in 2007 and found they sounded good enough to be on stage. There was interest and Nu Notes was born.
The first singing gig was at a DKG state convention. The whole sang “Sister Act” and “Irish Blessing.”
Since then, Nu Notes have performed a variety of music, much of it in the Broadway/Pop genre and often songs about and for women. The band performed at a number of DKG conventions and other organizations across the state as well as at Minot seniors’ facilities. The ensemble traveled to sing in Nashville at the DKG International Convention and in Spearfish, South Dakota at a DKG Regional Convention.
Launched with a dozen members, the group has seen some come but few leave, so several in the current 17-member group have been part of the ensemble since the beginning, said Starr, who serves as its director.
Reorganizing last December after a two-year hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Nu Notes was entertained with the idea of performing a benefit concert for MRP by Nu Notes member Holly Eidsness, who also sits on the board. administration of the MRP.
“We decided we could handle this. We want to do this. So we do it,” Starr said.
Their interpretation of Carol King “You have a friend” will be the perfect music to start the benefit concert.
The founding members who will participate in the MRP show are choreographer Paula Simonson, accompanist Dawn Freeman, Rochelle Feldner, Cheryl Nilsen, Joy Shirek, Jeannie Sovak, Eidsness and Starr. Other members performing will be Sheree Diede, Colleen Schwan, Maria Carpenter, Alyssa Palmer, Laurel Livingston, Pam Hopkins and Brenda Demke.
Marj Bubach and Leslie Barney are also members.
Professionally, women work in many areas of education, from teaching kindergarten to supervising students. Few actually teach music, Starr said, but they have a solid background in music, including some who have played or currently play with other musical groups. They are also dedicated to Nu Notes and giving a high quality performance, she said.
“I’m proud of these girls” Starr said. “They sound good. They are good singers.
Mouse River Players invites the public to come and bring older members of the family who might enjoy an evening at an enjoyable show.
“We appreciate the support of the entire community to help us make changes to our lobby,” MRP said in a statement.
Planned changes to the Arlene Theater include expanding and renovating the current lobby and moving bathrooms from the auditorium to the lobby and giving them an updated look. The revamp will make Concessions available through a new lobby window. To also cover planned exterior upgrades, MRP’s fundraising campaign aims to raise $350,000.