When the Singing Men of Oak Brook perform at Monarch Landing on September 21, beloved alumnus Leonard Sukut will be enjoying the performance from the audience. At least for most of the show. The Monarch Landing resident who was a member of the Singing Men of Oakbrook for 16 years said that he's already been informed that once a singer, always a singer. "They've already told me that they're going to invite me to sing along with some of the numbers. I'm going to do that," he said.
The Singing Men of Oak Brook is a renowned, non-denominational choir made of men from diverse professions, backgrounds, churches and communities. The group which practices at Christ Church in Oak Brook was initiated by its founding pastor, Dr. Arthur DeKruyter. "He had a vision for a male chorus, and encouraged it, and that's how it got started. He invited people, and they invited their friends even if they didn't belong to the Church. That's how it became a non-denominational men's chorus," Sukut said. The choir is directed by Wendell Borrink. His wife, Vivian Pearson Borrink has been the accompanist for the Singing Men of Oak Brook since its inception in 1985.
A retired United Methodist minister, Sukut said that he joined the musical group after having enjoyed its performances for many years. "When I retired, I decided I would like to join them. I was accepted as a baritone," he said. Sukut was also invited to serve as the group's chaplain. "I would give a 10-15 minute devotional before practices, and we'd offer prayers before concerts. I also counseled the men when they went through difficult times or transitions," he said.
The Singing Men of Oak Brook have performed throughout the area for more than 25 years. They have featured guest performers, and notably, they provided back-up at Ravinia for Daniel Rodriguez the Singing Cop. "The most exciting times were when we'd sing for Cook County Prison," said Sukut. Currently, the group's shows are predominantly at churches and retirement communities. The singers are all devoted volunteers, Sukut said. The group's repertoire includes patriotic music, show tunes, religious hymn interpretations, spirituals and religious classics.
Sukut said that he is responsible for having invited the Singing Men of Oak Brook to Monarch Landing. "They're very professional. The fellows are very dedicated and put their heart and soul into their singing," he said, adding that the group has an enormous following. During Christmas concerts at Christ Church, it's not unusual to draw more than 1000 audience members. "This will be a fun performance, as well as being inspirational," said Sukut.
The Singing Men of Oak Brook will appear at Monarch Landing on Friday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public. Seating is limited and tickets, available for $10/person, must be purchased in advance. For additional information or to make a reservation, call John Torri at 630-778-3798.
Monarch Landing is a maintenance-free retirement community on a scenic 80-acre campus in Naperville, Illinois - named "one of America's best places to live and retire" by Modern Maturity. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development (SCD) and managed by Life Care Services (LCS). For additional information, visit www.welcometomonarchlanding.com.