Singing Legionnaires no longer silenced by pandemic

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A local group of singers is back in strong voice after being silenced for much of last year by the pandemic. The Singing Legionnaires performed Monday at a Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Sioux Falls as well as at the dedication for the state veterans cemetery.

They provide the inspiring harmonies for patriotic gatherings honoring the sacrifices of America’s military.

“These guys are terrific and they sing their hearts out and they work hard in rehearsals and they love to do things like we’re going to do today,” Singing Legionnaires Director Terry Gullickson said.

The Singing Legionnaires have been around for 75 years. But the pandemic cancelled many of their performances over the past year. So Memorial Day marks a comeback, of sorts, for members of the chorus.

“We do it because it’s the patriotic thing to do and we want to support Memorial Day,” Singing Legionnaires President Bruce Naasz said.

Members of the Singing Legionnaires were concerned that their ranks would dwindle during the course of the pandemic.

“We are an aged chorus and I was really fearful that I would lose singers. Not to COVID, but that they would drop out and not come back. That absolutely did not happen. They all came back full-force and I am very proud of them for that,” Naasz said.

Naasz says that dedication speaks to the patriotism of the Singing Legionnaires, who share their talents with the community at a time when their music is needed most.

“Coming out of the pandemic, people more than ever want to hear live entertainment, want to hear people singing, musical instruments, want to see people doing things together,” Gullickson said.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Singing Legionnaires perform Monday, you may have spotted some of their handiwork elsewhere. Members of the group installed more than 600 U-S flags along curbsides throughout Sioux Falls.

The Singing Legionnaires are looking for new members, and you don’t need a military background to join. If you think you have the pipes, call the American Legion office at 605-336-3470.

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