sing mankato top logo

Mankato Riverblenders History

Links to other areas of chapter history

The present Mankato Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of BarberShop Quartet Singing in America) is the result of an effort by the Jefferson Lords Quartet (Barry Clapper, Norm Erickson, Bruce Gray , and Jerry Kirby) along with Dick Van Krevelen and others to create a chapter in January, 1973.  A previous Barbershop Chorus chapter existed in Mankato from about 1949 to 1954.


January An organizational meeting at West High School on January 14, with 12 men present
Fran Frank selected to be president.
Attendance of 8-23 over next few months
Dick Van Krevelen, Barry Clapper, Bill Lydecker, Tim Bothoff, and Frank Stowell named as directors.
May Phil Knautz accepted post of Musical Director.
June First performance at Blue Earth County Historical Society Museum .
September First Board of Directors meeting; license application signed by 30 men and sent to Society headquarters by LOL District President, Jim Richards.
October First guest night with 28 guests and a visit from Minnetonka Chorus who sponsored the Riverblenders


February Charter application completed with 35 members.
March Charter awarded. First contest appearance with 32 on stage. Chorus finishes 2nd, as Rochester wins its 8th consecutive championship.
May Second place to Greendale in LOL Small Chapter Chorus Contest
Charter Night Show, with Gay Nineties, Roadrunners, and Jefferson Lords quartets, and Minnetonka Chorus.
November "Harvest Moon Harmony Night" Show in St. Peter with Minnesota Valley Sweet Adelines Chorus, Happiness Emporium, Harmony Galore Four, and Notiques quartets. Ed Wirtz & Dale Lammi are assistant chorus directors.


January Chapter bulletin is named "River Ramblings" in contest entered by about 10 members.
August First Brainerd outing, attended by 15 members and ladies.
November "Barbershop All Year Round" Show with the Vigortones, Music Makers quartets. First show with two performances.  


August First church services sing - 3 Sundays.
November "Salute to America " Show with Happiness Emporium, Roadrunners, Saturday Review quartets. Ed Wirtz, Dave Balke, Warren Hettinga assistant directors.  


Summer Church services singing on five Sundays.
August Special show with Suntones quartet.
Novembe r "Mr. Music", an Irving Berlin show with Dealers' Choice and the Saturday Review quartets.


January Membership reaches 75
Summer Church services singing on seven Sundays.
July Chorus performance for National Gymanfa Ganu (Welsh Singing Festival) in Minneapolis . September Chapter sponsors new chapter at Prior Lake .
November "Everything's Coming Up Roses" Show with Sound Gallery, Ragtime quartets.


Summer Church services singing on eight Sundays.
September Bill Thornton of Dealer's Choice and Bob Calderon of El Paso agree to be music coach and SP/choreographer coach, respectively.
November " New York , New York " Show with Grandma's Boys, Roadrunners quartets.


May Chapter hosts District International Preliminary Quartet, District Small Chapter Chorus, and Division Chorus and Quartet Contests.
September First cabaret-style show, at Waldorf.
October Chorus wins District Championship at St. Paul .
November "Together Through The Years" show with Minnesota Valley Sweet Adelines Chorus and chapter quartets. Warren Hettinga, Ed Wirtz, Barry Clapper, & Dave Balke are assistant directors.


January Chapter sponsors new chapter at Albert Lea.
April Performance for National Music Educators Conference in Minneapolis .
May "A Little Traveling Music" Show with Side Street Ramblers, Knights of Harmony quartets.
June Membership reaches 87.
July International Chorus Contest in Detroit : 11th Place with 73 men on stage.
August Board accepts Phil Knautz' request for leave of absence. Warren Hettinga appointed as new Music Director.


May "I Love The Ladies" Show with Chicago News, Gay Nineties quartets.
Wirtz, Clapper, Knautz assistant directors.
June LOL Mini-Harmony College at Gustavus.
Septembe r Chorus Labor Day Weekend performances at Walker .


January Knautz and Hettinga named co-directors.
March Chapter hosts Southwest Division Contest - largest contest (11 choruses, 12 quartets) ever.
May "Over There" Show with Most Happy Fellas, Ring of Gold, Downstate Express quartets.
November Ring of Gold disband, after last show at Waseca.


March Tenth Anniversary Celebration Dinner. All former members invited for evening.
April Special performances with Mankato Youth Symphony Orchestra in Mankato and St. Peter.
May "Decade of Fun" Show with Ham 'N Wry, Road Runners quartets.
June Special performance for " Americana " weekend at Renaissance Fairgrounds, Chaska.
November Richard Dick (sound) and Judy Odde (SP) agree to coach chorus.


May "Under The Big Top" Show with Boston Common.
July Magic quartet gives seven performances in tour of BABS clubs in England and Wales.
August "Riverblenders' Roundup" at Shoreland Country Club in St.Peter, replaces Brainerd outing. 1986
February Downstate Express disbands.
March 10th Division Chorus Championship at contest in Mankato . - Performance at East High School Choir Festival.
May "Music Man" Show with Diamond Jax.
August Knautz resigns as music director, replaced by Hettinga with Clapper as associate director. Coaching retreat at GAC with Darryl Flinn.


May "You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet" (Al Jolson) Show, with KC Connection, Magic quartets.


February Carl Dockendorf becomes SP coach.
May Chapter hosts LOL Spring Convention and Contests, along with Division Contest - "Harmony Heritage" show with Benchmarks and Knights of Harmony.
Summer Package shows at New Ulm, Mankato , Winthrop, Hayfield, Nicollet, Arlington


April 15th Anniversary celebration May $1000 grant from Arts Council for coaching
"Pirates of the Queen's Revenge" show, with Chicago Chord of Trade
Summer 43 church services on 9 Sundays


April Bob Calderon returns as SP coach
May "Riverblenders in Concert" show, with Broadway
August 17 members and wives tour Great Britain . 6 singing evenings with BABS clubs, 1 with Welsh choir, 1 with Scottish church group. September Hettinga resigns, replaced by Knautz.
November $1440 Arts Council grant for coaching


May "College Days" show, with Vaudville
August Lincoln County Fair - Tyler , MN .
September Knautz and Hettinga submit resignations, to be effective after show and fall contest, respectively.
December Golden Note Awards to Norris Lokensgaard, John Foster, Herb Martens, and George Nelson


February Mankato sings on Albert Lea Show
May Show State of the Art & Bank Street Quartets, guest chorus Albert Lea .


April "School Daze" show, People's Choice, Gay 90's and Band of Gold. Summer Package shows - Odin and Lakefield.
August Brainerd Bash reinstated and Downstate Express reunited.


April 20th annual show - "USO Revue" with "Imagination", Night Life, Magic, Front Porch Harmony and East Side Harmony.
June Sang for the South Central Technical College graduation with guest speaker, "Jerry Lewis"
August Gene Foeller resigns as an assistant director to direct the Faribault chapter.


April "Whistle Stop Barbersnop" - show, with "Great Stage Robbery",Magic and East Side Harmony
December Phil Knautz, director emeritus, receives "Golden Note Award".

April - "Grande ole Barbershop" - show - Mankato East High School State of the Art Downstate Express Special Edition East Side harmony Magic Sing Along with Don Miller Blue Ox Band Directors - Karle Erickson, Barry Clapper, Don Miller, Phil Knautz

- "Keep America Singing" - show - Mankato East High School FRED East Side harmony Magic MSU College Quartet Sing along with Don Miller Directors - Peter Benson, Barry Clapper, Phil Knautz, Don Miller

- "Just Dreamin" - show Mankato East High School Checkmate Hot Zone East Side harmony Harmony Store Sing along with Don Miller Directors - Arvid Zenk, Barry Clapper, Phil Knautz, Don Miller

- "Those Riverboat Days" - show Mankato Easy High School Downstate Express Trademark Nightlife East Side Harmony Magic Harmony Store
- Michaels Minstrels
Directors - Arvid Zenk, Don Miller, Phil Knautz (Director Emeritus)

- "Music From The 50's, 60's 70's" - show Mankato East High School Harmony Works Gay Nineties East Side Harmony Magic Riverfront Sing a long with Don Miller Directors - Arvid Zenk, Don Miller, Phil Knautz (Director Emeritius)


April - "Feelin Fine" - show Mankato East High School The Kindred Spirits The Bauman Brothers Magic Riverfront Sing along with Don Miller Directors - Jim Wirtz, Doug Peterson, Don Miller


April - "Phantom of the Barbershop & A Salute to America" - Happiness Emporium ( International Champions) - Break Point (District Champions - director Jim Wirtz 

- "Comedy 2 - Night" - show Mankato East High School Chordiac Arrest Sound Fortune Riverfront Harmony Soul Purpose Sing a long with Don Miller Directors - Jim Wirtz, Doug Peterson, Don Miller


April - "Travelin the USA" - Down State Express & Sweet Ads Northern Lights - director Jim Wirtz
MAGIC was 25 years old and still going strong!


April - "Girl of My Dreams" featuring Storm Front


April "Parade of Quartets" featuring Bandwagon, Gold Rush, and Escalade


February - Jim Wirtz resigns as musical director.
April - "This Joint is Jumpin;" with the Gay Ninties and Sound Image


April -- "Remember Radio" show with Main Street Station and the Benson Family Singers


April - "It's Only Make Believe" featuring Vocality, The Benson Family Singers, and the Norell Family
Derek Glenna, Director


May - "A Night at the Auditions" featuring Vallee de Croix
Derek Glenna, Director (of both the Riverblenders and Vallee de Croix)



Chapter Charter Members

William Anderson

Wm. David Knowles

Charles Barbarisi

Dale Lammi

Jerry Bockus

Norris Lokensgard

Joel Botten

William Lydecker

Barry Clapper

Donald Miller

Edward Donahue

James Mongeau

Donald Felch

Frank Monroe

Joel Glade

Joseph Peschges

Mel Goede

Matthew Peterson

Bruce Gray

Carl Schoenstedt

Jeffrey Grimmer

Jon Schwichtenberg

Elwin Gunnick

L. Gordon Smith

Odean Hokenson

Robert Steinke

Duane Jeide

Frank Stowell

Byron Josephson

Robert Theurer

Gerald Kirby

Clarence Thompson

Philip Knautz

Richard VanKrevelen

Larry Zambino


mankato MN family entertainment Mankato Riverblenders Home page button
mankato MN family entertainment upcoming events button
mankato MN family entertainment history button
mankato MN family entertainment bookings button
mankato MN family entertainment quartets button
mankato MN family entertainment photo gallery button
mankato MN family entertainment links button
mankato MN family entertainment join us button
Barbershop Harmony Society logo
mankato MN family entertainment members only button
Copyright 2006-present