Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men’s Chorus

Written by: Brandi Malarkey

The call of the loon is more likely to conjure images of Minnesota lakes than medieval castles, but this November, the old and the new will be paired in a unique benefit concert on behalf of the Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men’s Chorus.

For married musicians, Amanda and Jared Hoeft, the enthusiasm to learn and experiment has led to a wide variety of musical expertise, and the November performance will show off their skills with the flute, piano, soprano, alto recorders, piccolo, percussion, guitar, and voice. The performance itself will also feature a variety of musical styles, all based around the theme “Medieval Myths and Magic.” Despite the variety of their musical interests, this will be the first time the pair has worked with music created before the 1700s.

“We’re learning a lot because we haven’t really played medieval stuff before now,” Amanda said. “So we are learning how to read the notation and figure out performance style.”

“And how to make it work on modern instruments,” Jared said. “Since we don’t have a lute, how can we make it work on a guitar?”

While the theme is medieval, not all the music performed will be historical. In addition to music created during the medieval period, there will also be modern pieces written in medieval styles, and completely modern-styled songs featuring historical themes and tales, like the Pied Piper.

“We look for themes to tie everything together, but we really want to incorporate different styles of music,” Jared said. “We know from experience that depending on the combination, things can feel very one note. We don’t want that. We want to have enough variety that each piece feels fresh and different.”

Among the originally composed pieces is a song based on the call of the loon. “We vacation every year with family at the lakes near Brainerd, Minnesota, which is where the inspiration comes from. We were writing it. First, it was a question of which instrument we would need to mimic the loons, and now Jared is learning to play the recorder and we spend hours pouring through audio recordings of loons online,” Amanda laughed.

“Medieval Myths and Magic” was also chosen by the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation as their 2023 July grantee. The grant provided will help the duo cover costs of advertising, music licensing, printing programs, and the venue—allowing them to concentrate their efforts on their performance, and to bequeath a larger percentage of the fundraising profits to the Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men’s Chorus, an organization that both have been associated with for several years.

“Jared was originally approached to be a main accompanist. Soon after, I was asked to provide piano, and later started accompanying a smaller, sub-group of the chorus,” Amanda said. “We’ve slowly gotten more involved over time, and it occurred to us that we could help support them financially as well. This will be our 5th fundraising concert in support of the group.”

As a small organization, the Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men’s Chorus exists primarily on donations and sponsorships, and additional financial support is always welcome.

“They provide a good artistic outlet for a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community,” Jared said. “It’s a safe space where like-minded people can come make friends and make music, which is really so powerful. We really believe in their cause.” In addition to being the recipients of the benefit concert, the Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men’s Chorus will perform in two pieces during the event, one medieval piece and one composed by Jared.

Preregistration is not required to attend the performance, which will take place on Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m. at Faith + Journey Lutheran Church (127 2nd Ave E, West Fargo).

Free will donation, suggested $10

The Cass-Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a nonprofit. Applications can be made at

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