Valentines go virtual
The Mankato, Minn. Riverblenders Chorus overcame restrictions to deliver safe and satisfying Valentines in 2021
In November of 2020, longtime Mankato Riverblender Dwain Fraze and his wife Margaret, reported that the planned 35th year for Mankato Riverblenders’ Singing Valentines was in doubt due to the pandemic. But it didn’t take long for our own Oh, Brother! quartet to decide they wouldn’t be deterred!
“We bet we could deliver live Virtual Valentines,” suggested quartet brothers Tim (Bs) and Thom (Br) Schubbe. Dwain and the Riverblenders’ Board green-lit the project, but were left to wonder whether the product would be high enough quality, how the chapter would find customers, and whether we could recover our expenses.
After several months of experimenting, Oh, Brother and Riverblender technical guru Dr. Leon Tietz brought back an offering for the Board to review. The Board was overwhelmed with the overall quality and that Valentines could be done “live” on Zoom! On Valentines Day, Oh, Brother! quartet (Thom Schubbe, Matt Strum, Tim Schubbe, Jerry Morton) and Magic quartet (Doug Peterson, Jeff Grimmer, Stan Bruss, Wayne Hughes) sang beautiful love songs to almost 30 recipients in Nebraska, North Carolina, California, and Minnesota. Magic quartet even sang across seven time zones all the way to a woman in France. Wow!
How’s that for expanding your market?
My wife and I were also recipients of a Live Virtual Valentine. It was as if the guys were standing on the other side of our dining room table! Sight and sound were fantastic as we were beautifully serenaded. Even eye contact was fantastic as they joked with us and we all laughed.
The Riverblenders are anxious to return to our live and in-person Singing Valentines next year, but we will definitely offer the Virtual Singing Valentine option as well. I have buddies in Portland, Scottsdale, and Orlando lined up to give their wives a Singing Valentine next Valentine’s Day.
About the Author
Gary Schmidt is the Chapter President of the Mankato, Minnesota Riverblenders Chorus. This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of The Harmonizer.