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.

Sonnenberg Station Concert and Workshop at Fairless High School

Sonnenberg Station will present a concert in the Fairless High School auditorium on Monday, November 9 at 7pm. This performance will be open to parents, students, and the community free-of-charge with a free-will offering taken to help cover Sonnenberg Station's operating costs.  

For this concert, the Fairless Select Choir will also be performing and participating with a short section of the concert presenting like a master class for the young singers with Sonnenberg Station director Tim Shue working with the Select Choir on one of their songs as he offers suggestions on what techniques can improve a choir's performance. It promises to be an inspiring, entertaining, and educational presentation for all in attendance.

Sonnenberg Station, a 17-voice men's choral ensemble, has performed in more than 30 different venues to appreciative audiences throughout Ohio, from churches and businesses to universities and concert halls. Their repertoire features beloved classical pieces as well as contemporary tunes and everything in between, including original arrangements by the group's director, Tim Shue. 

All of this season's pieces are delivered with Sonnenberg Station's own take on traditional spirituals, familiar folk songs, and, as always, a few lighthearted surprises while representing a variety of cultures, eras, and styles. Join Sonnenberg Station at Fairless High School on Monday, November 9 at 7 pm for a delightful evening of music you won't soon forget. 

 For more information, contact Fairless High School at 330-767-3444.

Posted on September 26, 2015 .

Repertoire, Fall 2015

Sonnenberg Station's Fall 2015 program is shaping up to be an inspiring blend of pieces about place, peace, and patience. To support local music, consider sponsoring one of this season's pieces by clicking on a link below.

Breathe out, breathe in (
Toby Hazlett; arr. Tim Shue(Click to sponsor this song)
Sanctus (Charles Gounod)--Soloist: Bill Seymour  (Click to sponsor this song)          
House of peace (Jim Croegaert) (Click to sponsor this song)  
Salmo 150 (Ernani Aguiar) (Click to sponsor this song)
O burning mountain (Neil Ginsberg) (Click to sponsor this song)
That which remains (Andrea Ramsey) (Click to sponsor this song)
Dirait-on (Morten Lauridsen) (Click to sponsor this song)
Walk humbly, son (Michael Clem) (Click to sponsor this song)
We rise again (Dubinsky;  arr. S. Smith) (Click to sponsor this song)
Soon one mornin’ (Tim Shue) (Click to sponsor this song)
Bonsa Aba (arr. Andrew Fischer) (Click to sponsor this song)
Witness (Moses Hogan) (Click to sponsor this song)
Hol’ you han’ (arr. Paul Rardin) (Click to sponsor this song)
Plenty good room (Kirby Shaw) (Click to sponsor this song)
Here is my home (Si Kahn) (Click to sponsor this song)

Posted on September 21, 2015 and filed under Repertoire.

2015 Fall Concert Series

Sonnenberg Station is busily preparing for this season's concert performances. While venues are still being finalized, the dates are as follows: 

Sunday, November 8
Saturday, November 21
Sunday, November 22
Monday, November 23

Mark your calendars and makes plans to attend! 

Posted on September 11, 2015 .

Old Sonnenberg Mennonite Church

This past Saturday, March 28, the historic Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron Community Historical Society's Sonnenberg Village was filled with more than 200 people as the old building welcomed its first chorus since moving to its new site. Sonnenberg Station Men's Ensemble raised their voices, opening the show with a most appropriate piece--"There's a Meeting Here Tonight:"

"There's a meetin' here tonight, Great God!
I'm glad you came along!
Hope all the brothers and the sisters here 
will help me sing this song!" 

And they did! The evening closed with the group's director, Tim Shue, leading the audience in a sing-along of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." 

In between, there were strong solos, bold ballads, and a tad bit of the Beatles thrown in for good measure. There was also a great interview session in which Ellis Miller shared what it has been like to sing with Sonnenberg Station for the past ten years. Ellis, a founding member and part of the impetus for the group's inception, is completing his final season with the group, and will be greatly missed. Wayne Liechty, president of the Kidron Community Historical Society, shared with us about the spark for Sonnenberg Village and how they hope to grow. 

The result of the evening? Well, aside from a great musical performance presented to a receptive and enthusiastic crowd, more than $1,000 was collected during the free-will offering and presented to the Kidron Community Historical Society. The funds were gratefully received and will be used toward outside lights in the village for activities such as hosting Sonnenberg Station, an $8,000 project. KCHS plans to raise $4,000 and meet the remaining amount by applying for a Greater Wayne County grant. If you would like to contribute to this fund or learn more about the organization, contact KCHS at P.O. Box 234 Kidron, OH 44636-0234 or by phone at 330-857-9111.

Thanks so much for all of your support of both Sonnenberg Station Men's Choral Ensemble, and your Kidron Community Historical Society. Let's meet again sometime! 

Posted on March 30, 2015 .

Songs and Structures: Notes from the Director

It is said that a well-made guitar crafted from quality wood improves in sound quality as it ages. After several decades, the wood has acclimated to its surroundings, and the fibers vibrate to their full potential. 

I like to think of a sanctuary as a huge instrument. Like strings, we singers do the job of producing the initial sound. We then let the building put its own acoustical stamp on it. Most modern facilities are constructed to optimize and gain total control of sound through the use of technology.  

But for pure, unaided, acoustical pleasure, it’s hard to beat the old churches.

This season, we explore some of the oldest houses of worship in Wayne County. Of particular significance is our performance on Saturday, March 28 at 7pm in the old Sonnenberg Mennonite Church, now located at Sonnenberg Village. This particular building carries with it quite a few strong musical memories for many Swiss Mennonites in this area. It has been a goal of mine to make this old structure ring once more with singing, especially with this choir that shares the same first name.

It might be dangerous to put new wine in old wineskins, but I think it’s a great idea to put new music in old buildings.  Hopefully, the only thing that will be bursting will be enthusiasm.

We look forward to singing for you this season. 

Tim Shue

Posted on February 16, 2015 .