August 7, 2004

Pat Sonnek Begins/Ends Cymbals Career

I have an old friend who I've never met in person. Patrick Sonnek lives on a farm in Minnesota. We became acquainted in 1991 through Usenet message groups and e-mails, because we both were running Internet-based ProLine Bulletin Board Systems on Apple II computers. Pat was the SysOp for BBS and I was SysOp for BBS. Pat is a musician and singer and he wants some equal time for Minnesota music! This being an election year, I shall oblige him.

Here is an e-mail and two photos Pat sent me:

Hi David, just dropping you a little line to show you how I like to have fun and make some music. Feel free to edit this and please post it on your web site. I will try to keep all of you updated from time to time about my musical goings on.

On July 23rd-July 25th, New Ulm's Concord Singers ( -- the web site is currently down, though) made a road trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the 24th annual Germanfest. The fest grounds are right on beautiful Lake Michigan. We, along with our wives/girlfriends, arrived in Milwaukee at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and got situated at Augsburg College, right next to the Pabst Mansion. This was somehow appropriate for a group of guys who appreciate a good beer as much as we do. At 5:00 p.m. we made the first of two performances for the day.

Concord SingersHere is a picture of me and a few of the guys performing for the masses. From left to right, are Wayne Schooper, me, John Kunts, PH Spangler and Bob Milke. Wayne and John sing baritone, and PH, Bob and I sing bass. All totaled, we have 38 guys in the group, including a drummer, a trumpeter and a keyboardist (Donna -- our one and only female member). 

Saturday morning we took a tour of a rather interesting place, a tiny little brewery -- Miller -- located in the heart of Millwaukee. We got to see the bottling and shipping buildings, as well as the old caves that Mr. Miller used to use, back before refridgeration, to store and age the beer. Finally we got to what this bunch was waiting for, a trip to the tap room. We got to sample three of Miller's different brews. We also could have taken a tour of the brew house, but we had to get to the fest grounds for our first of two shows for the day. 

Patrick SonnekAt 2:00 p.m. was a parade of performers, in which all able-bodied performers were supposed to march in for a quick trip around the fest grounds. Someone corraled me into carrying the cymbals -- never again, my arms were about to fall off after that parade! Being singers and not a marching band, we could not keep in step, and with the other bands in front of and behind us, our drummer couldn't keep a steady cadance either. About half way through the parade, we started mugging for any camera we spotted. Here's a picture of my first and last performance as a cymbal player.

At 5:00 p.m. we were done singing for the day and we headed to the Old European Serbian Restaurant for supper. We sang for our supper and got to eat for free. An excellent meal all around. On Sunday we took a boat tour of the bay and then we put on one last performance, before finally getting on the bus for a 9-hour ride home. All and all, it was a great trip.

Posted at 10:22 AM in DMG's Friends, Music