Sonnenberg Station's Spring 2017 Season

Sonnenberg Station is an 18-voice men's choral ensemble based in Kidron, Ohio. Now in its 10th year, the group has performed in more than 50 different venues to appreciative audiences throughout Ohio. Each season offers diverse selections from contemporary to classical, hallowed to lighthearted, including arrangements by the group's director, Tim Shue. 

This season's performances will inspire and uplift with a sprinkling of humor tossed in for good measure as the group adds their own flavor to pieces representing a variety of cultures, eras, and styles.

Join Sonnenberg Station as they share this season's repertoire at the following venues:

Sat.  April 22, 7pm Cornerstone Community Church; Dalton
Sun. April 23,  7pm Smithville Mennonite Church
Mon. April 24, 7pm Maple Terrace at Orrvilla
Sat. April 29, 7pm Fohl Memorial United Methodist Church with Fairless High School Men's Ensemble)                   
Sun. April 30, 7pm Trinity United Church of Christ; Wooster with meal. Time TBA. 
Sun. May 7, 7pm Sonnenberg Mennonite Church  (with Central Christian Singing Comets)

Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org and on our Facebook page for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance.

Posted on March 21, 2017 .

Group celebrates 10 years of friendship and music

From the Holmes County Bargain Hunter:

Group celebrates 10 years of friendship and music

By Ellen Pill

Tim Shue, the director of Sonnenberg Station, settled into his chair and smiled. He said, “The group started before it had a name. It was just eight friends that had an interest in singing.” 

After six months or so the group approached Shue and asked if he’d like to provide some leadership for the singers. It was a perfect match for the choir director who lives in the area, and he was happy to give up a commuting gig for one much closer to home. 

Gradually the director started issuing invitations to add more singers. They currently have 18 members. During their second season it was decided that they probably could use a name for the group. 

At that time they were rehearsing at the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church. “A lot of the guys have ancestral roots to the community,” Shue said. “My great-grandmother was from here, one of the Swiss Mennonites.”

The Sonnenberg Station was a rural Ohio train depot near the church where they rehearsed. Although the train station is now a feed mill, it’s still “a kind of local landmark,” Shue said. “Since a lot of us were connected here, it has geographical connotations, so rather than choosing some over-used Italian music term like ‘The Allegros’ or something, it’s really nice to have a local connection with the name.”

The group usually performs around five concerts per season. Often they are invited to sing, and sometimes they find an intriguing venue and will ask to perform. “We like to sing in beautiful, acoustical spaces,” Shue said. “For probably one of my favorite seasons I wanted to highlight some of the oldest churches in Wayne County. We did that two years ago. It took us to not necessarily large venues but special venues from an historical standpoint. Oftentimes the older churches have great acoustics because they were built for that before microphones and sound systems.” 

What kind of music is the audience likely to enjoy at a Sonnenberg Station concert? “We like to sing a variety, and the audience likes to hear a variety. We do spirituals, folk, classical ... Every year we try to do a comical number, something with a little twist.” 

Shue arranges one song per season for the group. They mostly sing a cappella with some songs accompanied on piano by chorus member Tim Yoder. 

The members come from all around to take part in Sonnenberg Station. Rehearsals are now conducted in Kidron with members coming from the local area as well as Millersburg, Streetsboro, Wadsworth and Charm. With the current 18 members the number feels just right and isn’t likely to expand. 

This year celebrates the 10th year the men have been gathering to sing and perform. Shue shared his ideas about what keeps the group going. “I think that thing that has nourished us for this long is that we see that the community seems to value what we do. I don’t think it’s just musical. I think they are inspired that a group of men are getting together to do something artistic and beautiful. We have people I don’t even know who follow us to our concerts, like rock band groupies,” he said with a laugh. 

Continuing more seriously, Shue said, “It’s really very touching [the stories we hear]. It takes us into really rich experiences. We had no idea it would ever go 10 years.” 

Jordan King, a native of Dalton, drives an hour from his home in Streetsboro once a week for the rehearsals. “This is my second year. It’s been a great experience. It’s really rewarding ... and it’s just fun getting out there and singing. All the guys are great.”

In his fifth season with the group, Clinton Miller’s father was an original member of the chorus. “They needed another low baritone, so here I am. You meet different people ... It’s fun to connect with an audience. It makes all the rehearsal worthwhile.”

Dave Risser is new to the group this season and enjoying the experience. “It’s great to get to know other guys with the same passions ... This is really fun music to sing. It’s challenging ... Tim is an excellent director.” 

It’s clearly about more than the music for this closely-knit group of talented friends. “We always joke,” Shue said, “about how other guys get together and watch football or go bowling. This is kind of our bowling league. It’s not just about the music ... If I was to choose who I wanted to hang out with, these are the people. As an adult it’s pretty rare that you get a chance to sing. This is a cool opportunity to make music, and we’re pleasantly surprised that people want to keep hearing us. We do it because we love it, and to have an audience is a bonus.”

Area audiences can enjoy Sonnenberg Station’s heartfelt, eclectic and enthusiastic performances throughout the coming season. There is never a ticket price. The group simply asks for donations to cover their expenses. Find them at www.sonnenbergstation.org and on Facebook.

Posted on October 24, 2016 and filed under Newspaper Article.

Fall 2016 Season

This coming Sonnenberg Station season marks 10 years of music and memories! Please mark your calendar to join us for one of the upcoming performances, some locations yet-to-be announced.

Saturday, October 29 at 7pm: Music on Market in Wooster
Saturday, November 12: TBD
Saturday, November 19: TBD
Sunday, November 20: TBD

 

Posted on August 23, 2016 .

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers: Winfred Ressler

Meet the Sonnenberg Station Singers!

Winfred Ressler is from Kidron, Ohio and has been a part of Sonnenberg Station since its beginning in 2006. His hobbies--in addition to singing, of course--include sports, beekeeping, gardening, cooking (and eating), and spending time with his wonderful wife, Barb, and daughters, Olivia (22), Anna, (18), and Sarah (16).

When asked how he first started singing with Sonnenberg Station, his response was, "Willingly."
"For some reason, I love making music," Winfred says. "I've been involved in some kind of vocal group since high school. Being in Sonnenberg Station gives me the opportunity to not just sing, but to sing quality music, performing it well in many wonderful settings."

Winfred says that since their inception, the group's sound has improved and he believes it continues improving each year.

"Sonnenberg Station also feels a bit like a small group," Winfred says. "Living in a household full of women, it's nice to be able to get together with a group of guys."

Make plans to experience Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble at one of this season's performances.

Sunday, November 8 at 7pm: Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Hartville, OH
Monday, November 9 at 7pm: Fairless High School, Navarre, OH
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm: Berlin Mennonite Church, Berlin, OH
Sunday, November 22 at 7pm: Central Christian School, Kidron, OH
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: St. James Episcopal Church, Wooster, OH.

Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance.

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under Singer Bios.

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers: Craig Strasbaugh

Craig Strasbaugh has been singing with Sonnenberg Station Men's Choral Ensemble for five seasons. Here, he shares a bit about himself, his family, and his love of music and life.
"I was a middle school transplant to Dalton, Ohio from the urban world of Tampa, Florida. Even though I currently live in Orrville, my roots are still stuck in the dirt of the family farm where I have been the 7th generation to reside and my girls are the 8th to explore and get dirty.
I met my wife Jenny (yes, we are Jenny Craig) working summers at Camp Luz, which continues to be a place of great importance to our family. In August, we added daughter three, Aubrey, to our household. Her older sisters, Elena and Marita, treat life as a musical and every book as a hymnal- leaving us grateful for them as well as in stitches over their productions.
Other than singing, I love to run, cook, play frisbee, crochet, color with a good box of Crayolas, and spend time with high schoolers and junior high schoolers (I seriously don't understand how people can NOT like junior high kids). Add a love for books and writing, and I practically have no time for a job.
I am now in my 5th season- I think- with Sonnenberg Station. I think I got pulled in out of desperation to fill a second tenor slot a few practices into a season, and they just haven't kicked me out yet. It has been a great creative outlet and group of guys to connect with.
Really, I just fell in love with choral music once I learned to read music as a seventh grader. Sonnenberg Station is such a fun group to grow with. We laugh as much as we practice (You could even say we should hush up and practice more. Sorry Tim!). Besides, it is one of the few places I spend consistent time with grownups, so it is a real treat.
I have not yet settled on a favorite song this season, but my daughters would say "Dirait-on" because they like when I sing it to them at bed time."
We invite you to see Craig and the rest of the singers of Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble at one of this season's performances.
Sunday, November 8 at 7pm: Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Hartville, OH
Monday, November 9 at 7pm: Fairless High School, Navarre, OH
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm: Berlin Mennonite Church, Berlin, OH
Sunday, November 22 at 7pm: Central Christian School, Kidron, OH
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: St. James Episcopal Church, Wooster, OH.
Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance.

Posted on October 24, 2015 and filed under Singer Bios.

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers: Steven Zook

Steven Zook is one of Sonnenberg Station's new singers this season. He comes to the group from Canton, Ohio, where he lives with his wife Rhoda. The couple has four children: daughter, Nikita, lives and works in Pittsburgh; son, Jared, lives and works in Pendelton, Indiana; son, Ben, is a first year student at Eastern Mennonite University; and son, Andrew, is a freshman at Central Christian School in Kidron, Ohio. 

Steven says he enjoyed singing when he was growing up but has not had much opportunity to sing during his middle years. When Sonnenberg Station's director, Tim Shue, invited Steven to join the ensemble, it seemed like a good time to get back into music, something he believes connects him to others and to himself in a soulful way. 

"I have enjoyed listening to Sonnenberg Station in the past," Steven says, "and I'm looking forward to being part of a group that creates such sweet sounds."

His favorite song this season is "House of Peace" by Jim Croegaert.

We invite you to see Steven and the rest of the singers of Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble at one of this season's performances.

Sunday, November 8 at 7pm: Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Hartville, OH
Monday, November 9 at 7pm: Fairless High School, Navarre, OH
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm: Berlin Mennonite Church, Berlin, OH
Sunday, November 22 at 7pm: Central Christian School, Kidron, OH
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: St. James Episcopal Church, Wooster, OH.

Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance.

Posted on October 24, 2015 and filed under Singer Bios.

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers: Jeff Hochstetler

Meet Jeff Hochstetler, one of Sonnenberg Station's newest singers. Jeff joined Sonnenberg Station because he wanted a creative outlet and a way to meet others outside of work. Jeff and his wife Kelsey live in Sugarcreek, Ohio along with their baby girl, Mariella, who was born in June of this year. 

Jeff enjoys riding bicycle, baking bread, making homemade ice cream, and traveling. He feels music is also an important to him because it resonates with so many other aspects of life--with church, with family, and with friends. 

His favorite song this season is Plenty Good Room.

We invite you to meet Jeff and the rest of the singers of Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble at one of this season's performances.

Sunday, November 8 at 7pm: Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Hartville, OH
Monday, November 9 at 7pm: Fairless High School, Navarre, OH
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm: Berlin Mennonite Church, Berlin, OH
Sunday, November 22 at 7pm: Central Christian School, Kidron, OH
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: St. James Episcopal Church, Wooster, OH.

Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance. 

Posted on October 24, 2015 .

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers: Matt Wenger

Meet the Sonnenberg Singers! 

Matt Wenger of Wooster, Ohio is one of the newest members of Sonnenberg Station. He joined after hearing the group perform and finding there was an opening this season for first tenor. 

"I was really inspired by a concert I attended," Matt says, "and I was excited when the opportunity came up to join. It is a rare chance for me to immerse myself in music with other men once a week in a way that is refreshing and inspiring and meaningful."

While Matt enjoys a few hobbies of his own, like running, swimming, photography, and writing, what keeps him most occupied is his family. Matt's a full-time, at-home dad of four children between the ages of two and 12. 

"My wife is a pediatrician who started a clinic for children with genetic disorders," Matt says. "We try to keep up with gardening and cutting firewood and signing all the school forms on time. So there's a little bit of everything going on at our house most of the time. Parenting is an ongoing revelation of how much growing up we need to do. I hope that our kids make it to adulthood without any major emotional trauma."

Matt really enjoys the poetry of Rilke and is excited about learning and performing this season's piece, "Dirait-on," written by the poet and arranged by Morten Lauridsen. He is also moved by the piece, "That Which Remains," based on the words of Helen Keller and arranged by Andrea Ramsey.

"Music is important because it speaks to the parts of our lives that other things cannot," Matt says. "It helps to fill the empty spaces and gaps in our lives."

We invite you to see Matt and the rest of singers of Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble at one of this season's performances. 

Sunday, November 8 at 7pm: Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Hartville, OH
Monday, November 9 at 7pm: Fairless High School, Navarre, OH
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm: Berlin Mennonite Church, Berlin, OH
Sunday, November 22 at 7pm: Central Christian School, Kidron, OH
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: St. James Episcopal Church, Wooster, OH.

Concerts and details are subject to change. Please confirm dates, times, and venues before attending. Please check back here and at www.sonnenbergstation.org for updates. A love offering will be taken at each performance.

Posted on October 24, 2015 and filed under Singer Bios.