OGDEN — When Carol Hurst heard members of the Ogden Chorale sing for the first time, she knew she wanted to become part of the group.
“I went to one of their concerts and I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” she said. “Ed Sandgren founded the choir and he conducted it in such a way that it was like every one of his fingers were attached to each member of the choir, like a puppeteer. I had never heard such a glorious sound in my entire life.”
Hurst said she didn’t have the voice to sing in the choir, but she could play the piano. About a year later, she was accompanying a young man who was auditioning for the choir and was invited to be the choir’s accompanist.
“It was thrilling,” Hurst said. “It was a wonderful choir and there were some wonderful men in that choir. Usually there are more women than men but not in this choir. In fact, a lot of band, orchestra and choir teachers were in the Ogden Chorale.”
The group was founded in 1956 by Sandgren, a choir teacher at Ben Lomond High School at the time, Hurst said. It was his desire to bring together a group of dedicated musicians who were willing to perform all over the country.
“The group sang everywhere, including two world fairs in Seattle and New York,” said Kent Petersen, who sang in the chorale with his wife, Nyla. “We had a wonderful time and the choir was endorsed by Ogden city.”
Members of the group have put together a scrapbook of news articles, pictures and performance programs and will present them to Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey and the city council in the near future. The city will place the scrapbooks in its archives.
The choir consisted of around 60 members who sang at numerous affairs, including schools, conventions, churches, and clubs. The chorale even cut a record which sold over 500 copies in just one season.
“There were some great memories,” Petersen said. “I remember one time we were headed to L.A. and we were a little late getting there. We still had to set everything up in the auditorium but we were met by the (musicians union representative) and they told us we couldn’t go near the place.”
Petersen said when the union rep left the site, the group snuck in and set up for the performance.
In 1963, Sandgren left the group to move to Orem and Eugene Nye took over as choir director.
“When they asked him to be the director I said, ‘How bad do you want to do it?’ He said to me, ‘I want it so bad my teeth hurt,’” said Nye’s widow, Adone. “He did an outstanding job and he loved the members of the choir.”
Nye had been a member of the choir, singing under the direction of Sandgren. He also was a choir teacher at Weber High School and had taught music at Wahlquist Junior High School as well as Summit Junior High and Summit High School.
“He had a masters in music theory and had learned a lot about choral conducting,” Nye said. “I was busy raising children and wasn’t a member of the choir but I went to some of their performances and they were good. Very good. They represented this city very well. I think an archive of their hard work is very fitting.”