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The Blue Angels

Diane Perman

The Blue Angels

In 1988, Kathy Smith, Christian Education Director, was praying for someone to start a junior choir at St. John’s. Diane (Bereman) Perman had just moved back from living on the Olympic Peninsula and had a desire to start a children’s choir in the church where her parents had been active for so many years. Eight elementary school-aged children joined this first junior choir, including children from the Aubry, Robinson, Pitts, Kattenhorn, Cannon, Spangenberg, Stanbury, and Hubbard families. Some of the older children wanted to play instruments as well, so Diane worked with them to add a trumpet, flute, violin and clarinet to the choir.

An annual event for this group was going to elderly parishioners’ homes at Christmastime and singing Christmas carols on front porches. The junior choir always ended the evening at the Krumm’s house, where the family provided hot cocoa and Christmas cookies for the hungry singers. The junior choir also sang at a local nursing home each year followed by lunch at the local Round Table Pizza restaurant.

The children’s choir soon grew to 30 children and Laura Otanez joined Diane in leading and directing this group, which Diane had named the Blue Angels. They sang a lively Offertory and a Communion hymn each month at church. Some highlights of the 1990s included:

  • singing at the 1994 Diocese Convention

  • singing at a fund-raising dinner hosted by Randy Sander’s Bridge Disability Ministries

  • receiving autographed photos from the Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron after a parishioner, Jon Randolph, let them know about this children’s choir named after the flyers;

  • working with parishioner Larry Nefzger at his recording studio to create a cassette tape of Blue Angel songs as a fund-raiser for remodeling the downstairs kitchen

Children who “aged out” of the Blue Angels still wanted to be involved as “assistant choir directors” by holding up tag boards with song lyrics, encouraging the children to sing, and helping the kids with their choir robes. Heather Ortega was the ‘Robe Mistress’ for several years during this period.

After 12 years, there were many older children who still wanted to sing, so Laura, Diane, and Paula Miller started a teen choir called ‘New Song’ while Cathy Christenson took over the Blue Angels for the next four years. By the end of 2012, the Blue Angels had dropped in numbers from about 25 regular singers to 7 children, and Laura and Diane retired from this beloved ministry. They both still reflect on working with this junior choir as one of the highlights of their lives.

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