Midwest Crossroads Chorus a Joliet tradition
BY TINA AKOURIS firstname.lastname@example.org September 2, 2013 8:46PM
Tori Hicks directs Midwest Crossroad Chorus in Shorewood. | Tina Akouris~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 4, 2013 6:14AM
Donna Hufeld is 84 and has enjoyed singing for most of her life.
The amazing thing, though, is that Hufeld has spent the past 53 years singing with one group, Joliet’s Midwest Crossroad Chorus.
“I went to a show in Peoria with my husband and they had a girl’s quartet, too, and I had always liked to sing,” Hufeld, a Joliet resident, said. “So we moved to Joliet, and I was at a wedding reception and (two friends) were there and they belonged to this chorus. And they said, ‘Why don’t you come sing with us?’ And that started the whole thing.”
The chorus also is home to three mother-daughter combinations: Judy Dunham and her daughter, Chris; Linda Brown and her mother Arlene Hupach, who just retired from the group after 50 years; and chorus director Tori Hicks and her mother Lorelei Kerschbaum.
It’s a group that celebrates barbershop music and sings a cappella, but they’ve also won regional competitions and have competed in the annual Sweet Adelines international competitions.
“We’re sisters in song,” Hicks said.
The Midwest Crossroad Chorus is rehearsing for its annual show at 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Joliet West High School auditorium. The chorus will perform patriotic music with the Joliet Legion Band in a show called, “Let Freedom Ring.”
“This is the first time having the band involved, and we felt we were two Joliet musical icons,” Hicks said. “We thought this would be a great way to combine the legion band and barbershop (music).”
The chorus travels to regional and international singing competitions, most recent in Denver during the fall of 2012. The group has also competed in Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale Fla., Seattle and Las Vegas.
Hicks said the chorus always is looking for new members, and on Sept. 17 is hosting a guest night at Trinity Christian School in Shorewood for women who are interested in joining. Hicks said potential singers do not need to know how to read music, they just need to have a love of music and be able to carry a tune.
“You always have a family when you belong to Sweet Adelines,” Hufeld said.
Hicks’ love of music came from her mother. An alum of Romeoville High School and Lewis University, Hicks started singing in the chorus with her mother in 1986 and became its director in 1997.
Kerschbaum has been with the group for 47 years and easily comes up with the best memory of performing with her daughter.
“The first time she directed us in competition, I could hardly sing,” Kerschbaum said. “The best time was when we were in Salt Lake City. We had Tori directing, myself on the stage, my other daughter on the stage and Tori’s daughter, my granddaughter, on the stage all together. My husband said he didn’t know whose picture to take.”
Besides the Joliet West show, the chorus is planning a Christmas show Dec. 7 and 8 at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove. A barbershop men’s chorus also will be performing.
“The holidays are really our busy season, but six to eight times a year we perform all around the area and also in smaller groups,” Hicks said. “We’ll sing anywhere.”
Tickets for the show at Joliet West can be purchased at the door and are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. For more information, visit www.midwestcrossroad.org or call