Real Men Sing returned to Wartburg College on Oct. 7 bringing in nearly 700 male vocalists from across the Midwest. This is its eighth year being performed at Wartburg campus and started when Dr. Lee Nelson became a clinician at the Real Men Sing Festival in Staples, MN, which is where the event was founded.
Real Men Sing was a day-long camp held at Wartburg that brought in middle school and high school students. They spent the day looking over and learning the music pieces, then at the end of the day all 700 men performed a concert singing through the pieces they spent all day learning.
“It’s always been a positive experience,” Ritterchor president Jake Hamilton said. “You could talk to any Ritterchor guy and they will always say it’s just exhausting, but I don’t think any Ritterchor guy would deny that the whole day is definitely worth it.”
Hamilton helped plan the event from the Ritterchor side. He found where Ritterchor members would be placed during the day and how to intergrate the men most efficiently throughout the day so that they could interact with high school and middle school students and get the best mix of ages.
“It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences in my college career,” vice-president of Ritterchor Cory Brannaman said. “We call it a brotherhood and that’s truly what it is.”
It takes a year to fully plan and map out how the day-long camp will look. The planning for this year’s Real Men Sing began right after lasts year’s event. All of Ritterchor is involved in the festival and helps lead it by making sure everyone is where they need to be and helping the president with whatever needs to be done.
The majority of the men came from Iowa, but people from other states in the Midwest have come and attended the Real Men Sing festival as well.
Real Men Sing is open to any male singer from grade seven through adults. There are two different choirs. There is a grade seven through ninth or tenth for boys who are going through voice changes. The other choir is for grades 10 and above who have had more experience singing before.
“Our goal is to inspire all male singers to keep on singing, especially those young ones who are going through voice changes and is typically the time where they don’t want to continue to sing,” Wartburg director of choral activities, Dr. Lee Nelson said.