7/3/2018 8:39:00 AM Coming together with music...
Salem and LACC music director Eunice Benson is Longville's Grand Marshal
By Ally Garbe of the Press-Citizen
Regardless of the activity- relaxing with a book, working out, or a morning routine- music has been shown to calm us down or get us excited. Every genre of music has social groups and ways to enjoy a shared passion.
In our little town of Longville, those who are vocally blessed participate in the Longville Area Community Choir (LACC). Originally formed in the 1980's, the group had only a few people gathering to sing for the annual Memorial Day services. Over the years the group has grown exponentially. Eunice Benson, current Director of LACC, has spent fifteen years working with friends and fellow community members, bringing them together with music. Benson will be bringing us together as our 4th of July Parade Grand Marshal.
"What an honor to be selected as this year's Grand Marshal," Benson began. "On behalf of the Longville Area Community Choir, I would like to express my appreciation to the entire Longville community for the many years of support and enthusiasm you have shown as you have faithfully attended our concerts!" Typically, LACC plays and sings to an audience of 400-500 people the first Sunday every December.
Before Benson took her position at LACC, she worked with youth choirs in churches and middle and elementary schools. Benson co-directed the Minnesota Boy Choir and toured Europe with them, a highlight of her career. She earned degrees from the University of St. Catherine and Hamline University. "I have held staff positions at the MacPhail School of Music and several Twin City churches including the Liturgical/Worship leadership," Benson said. She has also showcased her pianist skills on television and radio.
In 1995, she and her husband Arland purchased a home on Woman Lake. After a few quiet years on the lake, word got out about Benson's directing, pianist and organist skills and in 2003 she began directing LACC.
"It was somewhat of a change from working with middle school church choirs and elementary age children," Benson commented. "I feel fortunate to be able to continue my career." She also feels strongly about the positive growth she's seen in the Choir over the last 15 years. "They've blossomed."
Benson believes in the benefits of singing and playing a musical instrument. She enjoys providing an opportunity for those who may not normally be able attend live choral performance. To her, music and art is incredibly important in connecting with neighbors. "We have about 30 members, and we get to be loud and fun." Her hands are an important part of her experience with music; conducting with her whole arm and moving with the music connects her to the rhythm. Music is something everyone can understand; performers and listeners feel notes in different, but important ways.
"For a time, we had a young girl, Olivia, accompany us with her violin," Benson reminisced. "It's rewarding to watch young people grow their talents. We would love to have another violinist accompany us." Benson appreciates the element of community and healthy, new energy that comes into LACC each year. She loves teaching others the advantage of music.
All are invited to join LACC to practice from September until December for their annual Christmas performance. The original concept of having participants from all churches in Longville has expanded to surrounding areas of Walker, Hackensack and Remer making it possible to have a performing group of 70, each receiving their own concert attire. "Longville provides a great future for us as we look forward, each year, to new retirees. Our abundance of clear lakes and clean air provide great adventures for all," Benson concluded.
Be sure to attend Longville's 4th of July Parade and show your support for Eunice Benson and the Longville Area Community Choir!