Chorus Member Biographies


Pete Anderson

Joined SoD chorus spring of 1971. Married to my wife, Jane, for 49 years. Four kids, sadly, none sing.
Spent last 34 years in Life and Health insurance business. The only business I could find in which I had complete control of my time so I could take off and sing anytime or hop on my Harley and go ride anytime. I highly recommend it.
Sang tenor first 28 years at which time puberty caught up with me and I had to go to bass.
Was Admin VP 2 yrs, Chapter Pres 6 years, RMD region 4 area counselor 4 yrs, RMD region 4 VP 4 yrs. RMD onsite district fall convention chairman 1 yr. Chapter show chairman 1 yr. Harmony happening co-chair ?? years.
Helped get Singing Valentines started 20+ yrs ago. Tired of positions. Just singing from now on.
Highly recommend that, too!!

Wayne Anderson

I grew up in Sioux Falls and moved to Rapid City compliments of the Air Force after flying in Viet Nam for a year. I sang with the SoD Chorus for 5 years until Uncle Sam sent me to other places around the world. I returned to Ellsworth in 1985, and retired from there in 1988 with 25 years military service. After retirement, I flew for United Airlines for 13 years until I turned 60 at which time I retired again. I started singing barbershop again in chorus and in 2 quartets. I’m married to Sandy, and we have 6 kids and 15 grandkids. I’m left-handed.

Blake Benson

Blake was born and raised in Pierre, South Dakota and graduated from T.F. Riggs Senior High School in 1972
Graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion with a BS in Education in 1976
Taught a year of Junior High School in Fort Pierre South Dakota before joining the Air Force in 1977
Obtained a M.A. in Human Resources Development from Webster University in Saint Louis Missouri in 1986
Worked personnel/human resources related programs throughout Air Force Career
Retired at Ellsworth AFB South Dakota as a Major in the United States Air Force in 1997
Worked as an Employment Counselor for Job Services of South Dakota in Rapid City South Dakota from 1997-1998
Worked as a Business Liaison in Northern California from 1998-2016 and retired.
Joined the Chorus in September 2017
Has a lifelong love of music and singing

Dan Brusseau

Born 05/05/45, Dan was farm raised between Jefferson & Elk Point, S.D. He completed 3 1/2 years @ USD then served as a security/sentry dog handler in the USAF 67-71 with tours in Thailand and Okinawa. Dan & Kathie married 10/04/69. He completed a BS at Utah State, Logan in 73. Together they raised three sons (Todd, Cory & Toby) while employed by the USPS and retired after 34 years of maintenance service.
Dan’s singing credits consist of church and solo funeral music, SOD Chorus, men & mixed quartets, Top Hats & Roses/Dakota Faces (both mixes groups) plus several musicals with the Black Hills Community Theatre.

Noel Burke

Lynn DesLauriers

Lynn DesLauriers grew up on a farm near Sherwood, North Dakota. After graduating from North Dakota State University in 1972, he was employed as a soil scientist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota and Minnesota for thirty-seven years before retiring in 2007. Lynn and his wife, Carol, moved to Rapid City from Lakeville, Minnesota in 2007. He joined the Shrine of Democracy Chorus in 2013. He started singing bass and is now singing baritone. Lynn also plays tenor saxophone in the local New Horizons Band. His hobbies include running, hiking, cycling,

Ron Evenson

Beth-Anne Ferley

Steve Ferley

I was born in Mason city, Iowa. Our family moved to Philip SD when I was 2 years old where I attended grade school and high school. During high school I was involved with the music department all 4 years, I was in a quartet, men’s chorus and mixed chorus. Our quartet performed on KELO Television when there was only a tower in Reliance, SD!
After high school I moved to Saint Paul Minnesota to attend watchmakers/jewelry school. After graduating from watchmaker school, I moved back to Philip and worked for my dad at our family’s jewelry store. After a year I moved to Lincoln Nebraska and worked for a jeweler. In my spare time I sang with the Lincoln Continental Barbershop chorus. and performed with them for a couple of years.
After realizing there was no future in watch making I decided to attend the University of South Dakota graduating with a degree in Business Administration. While there I met my first wife Mary and have 3 kids; Todd, Aaron and Allyson. After graduating from USD I began working for Ardan catalog showroom in Des Moines Iowa finishing up my career there as director of jewelry for 70+ stores. When business was changing I decided to move on to a small family business in Evansville Indiana as the diamond buyer. It was here I met Beth-Anne and we married in 1986. In 1987 an opportunity arose that I could not pass up. I was offered the position of liason/quality control director a jewelry manufacturer in Bangkok, Thailand. This wonderful experience lasted 4 years. While there our daughter Jessica was born in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was after the four years we moved to New Jersey and I commuted into New York City and was involved in the distribution of merchandise for a major jewelry manufacturer. After a year or so we moved back to Evansville Indiana where I was involved with a Retail jewelry chain and then decided to move to Rapid City, South Dakota in 1995 to open an engraving store called Scribbles Engraving. When we moved to Rapid City I finally had the opportunity to become involved in barbershop again. I joined the shrine of democracy barbershop chorus and have been a member for approximate 24 years.

Robin Rohwer-Franson

Bill Grant

I grew up in NW Iowa, graduating from Spencer in 1971. Also graduated from USD in 1975 which led to a 40 year banking career in Rapid City, retiring in 2015. I participated in 10 productions through college and Rapid City Community Theatre before “finding” the Shrine of Democracy Chorus, joining in January 2014. I have 2 grown daughters from a first marriage living in Claremont, CA & Boise, ID and 4 grandchildren. I met the love of my life in May 2009 and was lucky Terry married me in 2010.

Dave Gunderson

Steve Habib

Steven Alan Habib (Lead) born Oct 1, 1952 in NYC.
Married to my wife Penny of 25 years, as of 2018, and the mother of Steven Keith Habib (23) his brother Derek Alexander Habib (7)
I was born in NYC and ended up at Ellsworth AFB 1971 - 1973
I worked for the US Postal Service for 34 yrs. 11 months, retiring on my birthday Oct 1, 2007
I was in the chorus the 1st time 2002 – 2006.
Since retiring I have done a few things such as:
   I have volunteered at Hospice for a few months in 2007.
   I have done Meals on Wheels for a year 2017-2018
   Front Porch Coalition (if you aren’t familiar it helps the families at the time of their losing a person).
   I have managed/coached Little league baseball many times first with Steven in 2001-2006 with Derek as recently as 2015-2018.
I am an organizer, I like to lay the ground work and let others take off with my suggestion.
I rejoined the SOD for a few reasons. When visiting with Al Pitts in Dec 2016 with Steven & Derek at his home, I promised him I would sing again, so here I am for the time being.

Steven Hansen

Dan Horsley

I was born & raised at Johnson Siding near Rapid City, the youngest of five children of a family business painting contractor. I sang in middle school and high school, then took a break for about 25 years before singing in church. There I met a long time barbershopper, Dick Chambers – and was often impressed with his musical ear and ability to do this thing he called “woodshedding”. Dick moved on (and is now deceased). After a few years, one day I asked John Elving if he knew anything about the SoD Chorus (knowing he did), and the rest, as they say, is history.

Matt Johnson

Al Kelts

I grew up 2 miles outside of a town of 500 in the center of New York State, born to a manager of a feed & farm supply store and a music teacher in a family with 3 sisters. I first sang in a bbshop quartet, The Furnace Room Four, for 4 years at Ohio Wesleyan and then finished my degrees at U. of Rochester School. After training in Pediatrics in Seattle and Child Neurology in Denver, I taught and practiced at Stanford U. in California and USD in Sioux Falls, and then settled in Rapid City 34 years ago, founding Black Hills Neurology, and retiring in 2012. Contact with Al Pitts in the First Congo Choir “forced me” to join the SOD Chorus 17 years ago and also to sing in several quartets from Black Hills Silver to Black Hills Blend. My kind and loving wife, Sally, and I are blessed with 6 kids, 18 g-kids, and 1 g-g-kid.

David L'Esperance

Born March 1943 and raised RC
Beat polio in 1947-48
Graduated RCHS 1961
Graduated SDSM&T 1966 with BS in Civil Engineering
US ARMY 1966-1970; duty stations of Germany, VietNam and DC; discharged 1970 (Capt, Field Artillery) returned from Nam on day Apollo 11 launched for Moon.
Returned to Grad School SDSM&T 1970; when flood of '72 hit, went to work locally designing bridges and construction management
Went to work at Ellsworth as civilian engineer 1974, retired Dec 2011; design work and construction management
Performed in theater with BHCT and Group Theatre 1973--2013, more than 40 productions; performed at Black Hills Playhouse 2003 The Music Man and 206 as Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof.
Married to Delsie 1985, has 3 children and 8 grandchildren and 4 greats.
Rejoined SoD in 2002, first as Lead, then Bari, and now singing Tenor

Jim Olson

Rod Pfeifle

Rod Pfeifle was born a poor sharecropper's son in Tupelo...wait a minute that was Elvis, Rod however was born in central North Dakota, He moved to Rapid City in 1982 and sings lead with the Shrine of Democracy Chorus since 2007. Rod currently sells X-Ray equipment to veterinarians. Rod and his wife Lois have been married for 36 years and they have two grown children. Rod enjoys having fun, traveling, motorcycling and making wine.

Jim Price

October, 1998 brought a new voice to the Shrine of Democracy Chorus. Jim Price came to the chorus from the Big Sky Country of Montana. He was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, and has been a member of the BHS since 1984. He has been active in both the Evergreen and Rocky Mountain Districts. Jim filled the role of director for the Chord Rustler Chapter in Bozeman, Montana for seven years. During that time, the Chord Rustlers received national exposure, as they were featured on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood in a story covering the arts in the western United States. An experienced quartet member, Jim has sung in various quartets since he became involved with the BHS, including a quartet called, Montana Avenue, in which he sang the lead. This quartet gained a division title within the Evergreen District in the early 1990’s. He currently sings lead with the Lame Johnny Creek quartet. He has served on the Board of Directors for both the Bozeman Chord Rustlers and the Shrine of Democracy Chorus holding various positions. He is currently serving as an assistant director for the Shrine of Democracy Chorus, and has spent a number of years as their Vice President of Music & Performance.
Jim was instrumental in the organization and development of a state-wide Barbershop Chorus in the State of Montana to usher in the new millennium. As well as helping to form the group, he served as a co-director for this chorus of approximately a hundred men.
Barbershop music holds a special place in Jim’s heart, although, he does enjoy other music genres. Jim sang with the Bozeman Symphonic Choir and the Bozeman Symphony for over thirteen years, and was very involved as a student with the Music Department at Montana State University singing in the MSU Chorale and a premier vocal group known as the Montanans while he earned his mechanical engineering degree. He enjoys playing the guitar, singing gospel quartet music, as well as singing duets with his wife, Amy.
Jim is a mechanical engineer, and is employed as an HVAC Equipment Sales Representative/Project Specialist with the O’Connor Company here in Rapid City. He has four children, Kylie (23), Carter (21), Noah (17), and Maibry (12).

Alan Schulte

Grew up in suburb of St Louis
Bachelor of Science from University of North Dakota
Occupational Therapist at Regional Health Rehabilitation Center for 20 years. Specializing in Adult Neuro-rehabilitation and Adapted Driving
Married for 36 years with 3 grown sons who are living in Portland, OR, Los Angles and right here in RC. Oldest son is married. Wife is a grants writer for Youth and Family Services.
Have loved singing all my life but no formal training. Involved in Barbershop for over 12 years.
My father, Keith also sings Barbershop here in RC.
I'm the latest lead singer in the longstanding quartet - Black Hills Blend.

Keith Schulte

Born 1933 in Topeka, KS as youngest of three boys. President of Jr. Hi-Y, president of high school Jr. Class, and 127 lb. wrestler. Two years college. Drafted as Army sanitarian. Served in France 1956-7. Sanitarian for State of Kansas. Married Alberta 1957. Alan born 1958. Alan’s sister, Terri, born 1963. Died 1978 from train/car accident. Moved to St. Louis, MO 1963, Sold for Procter & Gamble Co. 1963-1990. Retired. Alberta and I served for two years at Baha’i International High School in Canada. She as nurse and I in maintenance. Joined Alan and Patricia in Bismarck, ND, and then in Rapid City from 1998 ‘til now. We are members of the Baha’i Faith, whose purpose is to help develop the unity of religions and recognize the essential oneness of humankind.

Anella Southwick

Mom, wife, daughter, grandma
Lifetime music educator; Language arts, speech and drama; South Dakota State University B.A., Stephen F. Briggs Scholar; Northern State University M. Ed; Aberdeen Public Schools, Elementary Music; Rapid City Area Schools, Stevens High Choral Director
SD-ACDA Junior Honor Choir Conductor; SD-ACDA Lifetime Achievement Award; SDHSAA Distinguished Service Award
Black Hills Symphony Orchestra; Thirty-five year member of Horn section; Vocal soloist - jazz, show tunes, classical
Rapid City Municipal Band; New Horizon Band; Black Hills Chorale
Church musician, director, instrumentalist
Musical theater roles in La Mancha, Fiddler, Dolly, Amahl, Fledermaus
Gardener and produce canner
Ran a family Dairy Queen
Manage three farms for family
Travels extensively

Clayton Southwick

Pete Stach

I was raised on a dairy farm in Letcher SD. High School - Notre Dame in Mitchell. College – USD - graduated with a BA in Business Administration. Work Experience: Kmart Corporation 18 years, Regional Health - 24 years. Wife – Linda, four children and six grandchildren

R. Scott Wagner

Gary Welsh

I was born in Wall, SD and grew up and went to high school there and participated in band and chorus and had a dance band named WallNutts. Went to University of SD Vermillion and was in a music fraternity and sang in a male chorus. Finished Medical School at University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio Texas. Interned at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. Practiced medicine 2 years in Sioux Falls then 5 years at Homestake Medical Clinic in Lead and have been in Rapid City in practice since 1978 practicing Family Practice and then switching to Urgent Care Medicine in 2000. I currently am the only Board Certified Urgent Care Physician in the state of South Dakota. I built sets for the Community Theater for 3 years I currently travel with the US Freestyle Mogul team and work with the Rapid City Rush, I sing with DCU and Blessed Sacrament choir on occasion and have been a member of SOD Barbershop Chorus for many years. 2 of my sons sang with me in SoDC while they were in school. Am married to Patricia and have 12 grandchildren.

Bob Westman

I am a transplanted band director from Chicago and went to school at NSU. My wife, Rhonda, is from Miller. We have taught music in AZ and CA. We returned to SD three years ago. Hobbies: RVing, and O Gauge Lionel Trains. Activities: Rotary International and New Horizons Band and Dance Band plus SOD.

Rhonda Westman

from Miller, SD; graduated from U of AZ
taught elementary; college general music; taught 4-6 classroom and then 7th grade language arts
did two years as administrative assistant to a CEO
married Bob in 1968; 2 children. Roxy in San Diego and Rob in Orlando; 2 grandchildren, Kirsten and Jason
it is fun to be singing again