A Songbook for Rose, 'Songs we Love to Sing'
Tanberg, Kathy. "A Songbook for Rose, 'Songs we Love to Sing'." Hazen Star, 18 October 2007, 7.
It was a mission of
love and memorial for Virginia and Curtis Schulz as they created
“Songs We Love to Sing,” a new song book for the
nursing home dedicated to Curtis’ parents, Ed and Rose
Rose Schulz loved music. It was always part of her life and something
she enjoyed sharing. So it was only natural that after she left
this earthly world, her family would find a way to carry on this
love in a memorial dedicated to Rose and her husband, Ed. Both Rose
and Ed had given countless hours as volunteers at the Knife River
Care Center in past years – Ed, as a nursing home board member,
and Rose, who volunteered her time at least two days a week, even
up to her last year whenever she was able, including singing with
The German Singers.
When Rose passed away the fall of 2006 at the age of 99, her son
Curtis and his wife, Virginia, already had their plan in mind. In
fact, they had spoken of it with Rose. A new German-English music
book was the perfect memorial that would honor both Rose and Ed,
who had passed away in 1991. They would make new German-English
singing books for the Knife River Care Center.
The song books at the nursing home long held a special place for
Rose as she and her sister, Ella Meier, both members of The German
Singers, had created the first song book years before.
Both Rose and Ella sang with the group and Ella played the organ
for the weekly sing-a-longs. Sometime in the mid-1980s, the sisters
decided it would be easier for both The German Singers and the nursing
home residents if they had a song book. It became the pair’s
mission to create the first German-English song book used at the
nursing home. Curtis and Virginia remember when Rose and Ella worked
on that first song book. The sisters gathered the preferred music
and Virginia had helped make photocopies. “They did the best
they could, a wonderful job. They bought three-ring binders and
paper themselves and put together three song books, one with English
and one with German songs, and one with Christmas music,”
After more than 20 years of steady use, the original music books
the sisters created had become tattered and were filled with taped
pages. The binders were falling apart as well. The condition made
it difficult for many of the residents to use them without help
if at all. Curtis, who joined The German Singers when his mother
became resident of the nursing home in the fall of 2005, began to
see first-hand the condition of the song books. And he knew just
what to do.
Curtis and Virginia put their idea into action in December 2006
and completed the project in about five months, using memorial money
given for Rose. They chose 190 songs, using those from the old books
and adding other selections: hymns, folk songs, patriotic songs
and holiday selections for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. One
new song that Curtis says has been well received is “You Are
My Sunshine.” “We sang it for the first time two weeks
ago and one elderly resident, who never sings, began to sing along,
moving the lips. When you sit up there and watch this, you can see
that you’re doing so much more than singing. You’re
bringing back memories to them,” Curtis said.
Resident Clara Elder expressed just that sentiment.
“The German songs remind me of when I was young, and of my
folks, and how nice it was to hear our priest (St. Joseph’s
Catholic Church) as he talked in German,” Clara said.
As work on a new song book took hold, friends, family and others
provided assistance to make the song book happen. Because several
of the chosen music could only be found for guitar, Curtis enlisted
the aid of Clyde Eisenbeis who did arrangements for piano. They
also needed help to create the cover. While Curtis and Virginia
created the basic design with permission to use the drawing of the
new nursing home, their daughter, Aneica Behm, used her talents
to put the drawing together with graphics to come up with an eye-pleasing
The end result for the cover is called “Songs We Love To Sing,”
depicting the new nursing home with a sheet music background and
a whimsical, purple floral border. Then one final touch was added
in remembrance of Rose – a spray of four red roses that accent
the bottom right corner.
With a completed master for the song book, it was time to put everything
together. With plans to make 50 books, Curtis and Virginia used
memorial money to purchase the paper, ink and various supplies.
The nursing home allowed the couple use of their copier and binding
machine and the couple did the work.
Music soothes the soul, or so it is said. Whether young or old,
it is music that often brings a peace of mind and relaxation.
Residents at the nursing home can tell you it is so. For many years,
each Monday afternoon, they have enjoyed a music fest of good old
fashioned music, sung by the ever faithful group, The German Singers.
A selection of melodies ring throughout the walls of the nursing
home’s activity room, sung in both German and English. As
you watch the faces of the residents, you see many singing along.
Others, though they are no longer able to sing, show signs that
they, too, enjoy hearing the tunes, many that take them back home
And today, in their hands, they hold those memories even more dear,
as most are able to hold the new song books with their own hands
now. Sturdy, with a binder that can be easily folded back, the books
are so pleasing that many of the residents think of them as their
own, personal property.
Activity aid Carey Van Pelt said many people have even asked if
they could buy one.
“Some residents take them back to their rooms, they’re
so proud of them,” Cary said.
Activity Director Sheryl Misslin said everyone loves the new songs
books, from the residents to the staff, to visiting pastors.
“We use them for almost every activity,” she said.
There are presently 14 dedicated members of The German Singers.
The public is welcome to join in the singing on Monday afternoons.
along with The German Singers, Erna Adolf, Hazen, Hertha Adolf,
Bismarck, and Darlene Miessel, Hazen
The German Singers
Front :Viola Schiermeister, Wilma Lang, Ida Mohl, Viola Weisz,
Kate Bauer and Hilda Backfish; Back: Leona Brecht, Emil Lauf,
Curtis Schulz, Art Eissinger, Rudy Hildebrand, Fred Menge,
and organist Leona Weil.
Our appreciation is extended to Kathy Tandberg
for permission to use this article.