NISSWA -- For some Brainerd High School graduates, participation in the school's choral program left a lasting impression on their lives.
"Being part of the choir made such a big difference in my confidence level, my self-esteem," said Deborah Jacobson, a 1970s grad who helped found the A Cappella Alumni Association in 1999.
"The level of achievement in that choir, the goal of excellence helped shape my life," she added in an interview this week.
Jacobson started the association shortly after her return to Brainerd, following a long career as a college professor in other parts of the country.
With a doctorate in English, she recently assumed the executive director's role at The Crossing Arts Alliance, an area nonprofit organization that promotes artistic endeavor, including singing.
The alumni association raises funds for college scholarships, awarded each year to BHS alumni interested in majoring in music.
If you go
Who: A Cappella Alumni Chorale
Where: Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa
When: 4 p.m. Aug. 4
Then last summer several of its members created the A Cappella Alumni Chorale to relive some of the glory they felt as members of the high school choir.
All of its participants have "some sort of deep tie to the BHS A Cappella Choir," Jacobson said, either as performers or supporters. Most are former choir members or have been invited to perform with the group because of their past support for the association.
This summer's mixed chorale includes 30 singers, down from about 35 last year, Jacobson said.
"There's nothing like being a part of art happening," she said, "and music (allows) a connection between the art and the audience. It is my favorite thing to do."
The chorale has been in rehearsal since June 4, under the direction of BHS choral director Michael Smith, who will lead the group in 10 of the 12 songs selected for the group's Aug. 4 public concert at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa. The concert, which is free, begins at 4 p.m.
Curt Hansen, who helped found the school's A Cappella Choir in the 1950s, will return for the performance as guest conductor, directing the chorale in two of the pieces.
The program includes such classic choral pieces as "Alleluia," "Every Time I Feel the Spirit," "How Can I Keep From Singing" and "The Battle of Jericho."
Hansen left the school in the late 1960s for a career in private business but has maintained a lake home in the Breezy Point area, Jacobson said.
Chorale members represent BHS graduation classes from the 1960s to the present, she said.
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