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Heartland Singers celebrate 30 yearsTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Kim Baxter with the Heartland Singers
Photo by George Lauby
The Heartland Singers (click or tap on image to enlarge)
Photo by George Lauby
Van Velson says a few words
Photo by George Lauby

Kim Baxter of North Platte received a prolonged standing ovation Sunday at the 30th anniversary concert of the Heartland Singers

Baxter and the Heartland Singers performed his original song, Nebraska Sky.

The Heartland Singers celebrated their annual spring concert downtown at the Neville Center for the Performing Arts.

For more than 90 minutes, they performed songs of love, beauty, peace, worship and history – the latter in honor of the 150th anniversary of Nebraska’s statehood and the establishment of Lincoln County.

The Singers also sang two songs of 150 years ago – Shenandoah and Oh! Susanna, immediately after performing Baxter’s original song about the beauty of living in Nebraska after life in the city.

Kim dedicated the performance to his father Neal and son Craig, who both passed away in recent months. The appreciative audience gave him the warmest ovation of the afternoon, springing to their feet, clapping and smiling to show their appreciation and respect for Baxter.

The Heartland Singers also performed How Excellent is Thy Name, Alleluia and Amazing Grace, among other songs. They closed with the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and were requested to sing an encore -- He’s Never Failed Me Yet.


Virginia Pederson and Shirley Larson started Heartland Singers in 1986, putting together the community choral group.

They sang their first songs for the public during a Sandhills Symphony performance on March 1, 1987 and their second concert was on Nov. 8, 1987.

“Virginia was the force,” Larson said. “I was the helper.”

Pederson’s husband Don was the first business manager, and Don, a former state senator, attended the 30 anniversary concert. Their son Dave and his wife Judy carry on the tradition, singing with the 60-member group.

Glenn Van Velson, a charter member of the choir, conducted the anniversary concert Sunday, and piano accompanists Karen Mathies and Mary Lynn Horst have also been with the group since the beginning.

The singers take their job seriously, practicing 9-10 times before each concert.

They give a concert every spring and at Christmas time, asking only freewill donations.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/2/2017
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