The Cedar Lake Seven Men’s Gospel Choir (aka CL7) was formed in December of 1994. Its roots are in a men’s fellowship group within Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis MN, called Second Tuesday because it met on the second Tuesday of each month. The intent was to have a forum to get the men of the church together around a common pursuit, participate in a communal, spiritually uplifting activity, and then have some fellowship and fun. In December of 1994, this group tried its hand at singing.
That first Christmas, the guys sang Christmas Carols for wives and girlfriends. It was so much fun that we decided to make it a regular activity, and the Bryn Mawr Men’s Chorus formed. Initially, we sang just in Bryn Mawr church services, but after 6 months we were invited to sing at our pastor’s book-signing. That in turn led to a concert at Friendship Village – at which point we decided we needed a name. Since the church is on Cedar Lake Road, and because we liked the sound of it, we picked “The Cedar Lake Seven, Men’s Gospel Choir”.
Our mission has evolved over the years but has always focused on a few themes: (A) Be a better Christian – Try your best to walk the walk and be a blessing to others. (B) Be a better Man – Be a great friend, a husband, a father, or other influential person in the life of someone else. Cast a positive shadow, and be witness to the path walked by others, both the good and the difficult. Finally, (C) Be a better Musician – Strive to improve in what we do, in ways that you are able to contribute. Always try to be better, regardless of the gifts you have been given.
In our 20-plus years, there have been many musical influences. We started with what we called “Elvis Gospel”. From there we found that many of Elvis’ sources were a capella African American radio quartets from the 30s and 40s; groups like The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and The Fairfield Four. We added guitars, and music from Hank Williams, The Carter Family, and Johnny Cash. Then came the Southern Gospel hymns of Bill and Gloria Gaither, and songs from The Cathedrals and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Today, our concerts are about two-thirds band pieces and one third a cappella, and draw upon a variety of music from the above groips. Each show is put together that day, for that particular venue, so each is a little different from any other. Our goal is to be both entertaining and spiritual. We hope each is lively, fun and uplifting!