The Al Opland Singers are a choral group in the United States, based in Pipestone, Minnesota, consisting of 35-55 members from the surrounding region. It is a union of what was formerly the Pipestone Male Chorus and the Pipestone Women’s Chorus.
The shows that the Opland Singers put on include solos, mixed ensembles, duets and barbershop along with dancing, costumes & dialogue. The group used to travel around the surrounding area to perform the shows. The home performance venue was originally the Pipestone High School auditorium, but the group also travelled to put on shows at the Lake Benton Opera House, the Ruthton School Gym, as well as venues in Edgerton, Jasper, and Luverne, Minnesota. The Al Opland Singers no longer travel, but perform six shows each season (Christmas & Spring) at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center, which was opened for business in 1993.
The Al Opland Singers’ performances cover many genres of music, including excerpts from Broadway musicals, popular songs, sacred and secular Christmas music, patriotic songs, as well as spirituals. However, the shows are not limited to music. Musicals, plays and smaller sections of each have been performed over the years, including well known titles, such as the Music Man.
Allen Opland (9/17/18-4/27/84) was a vocal and instrumental music teacher at Pipestone High School from 1945 until 1978, when he retired. in 1947 he helped organize the Pipestone Male Chorus (later, the group combined with the Pipestone Women’s Chorus to form the Al Opland Singers). At the end of 1977, some of the men from the group contacted a few local women who were notable musicians, encouraging them to start a women’s group that would perform in forthcoming shows which the men had been performing by themselves up until this time. Opland had a sense of humor which nicely complemented his demand for perfection. He is fondly remembered by former and current members for serious directing methods, such as “if you have to cough or clear your throat during a performance... die first.” According to the Constitution of the Pipestone Women’s Chorus, the new women’s group was declared an official entity on January 23, 1978, and the first show that included both groups was performed in 1978.
AL OPLAND SINGERS’ HISTORY
After the Pipestone Women’s Chorus officially became a group, rules were put into place. According to their Constitution, each member had to pay yearly dues, which cost each person $20, and this money went toward the purchase of new music. Each member had to buy his or her own outfit to wear for the performances, serving as a uniform. Members of both choruses have always had to go through an audition to join the group.