DYERSVILLE, Iowa -- Every once in a while, we inhabit a place that takes us by surprise when words come out of our mouths, and that's exactly where Brenda Boge, of Hopkinton, was on a cold, windy night in Dyersville when she spoke of her deceased mother.
From that familiar place somewhere between melancholy and pure joy she said, "From a very early age, my mother used to gather my five sisters and me and we'd go to places like nursing homes to sing for the residents. And we've been singing ever since. And mom would have loved this. She'd be so proud."
Proud? Probably an understatement. Her six daughters, along with five sisters from another family and three other women, are part of a vocal group from Dyersville called the Lemon Sisters. The group, whose members claim to be "sisters in spirit and song," began in earnest about seven years ago and is a well-known entertainment ensemble in the area, singing pop tunes and old favorites at Honor Flight dinners, hospitals, assisted-living centers and for various fundraisers.
Brenda Boge's five sisters include Karen Kluesner, of New Vienna, Ellen Smith, of Farley,Von Demmer, of Farley, Dot Elgin, of Delhi, and Bev Vaske, of New Vienna. Those six sisters were joined by five sisters from another family: Mary Kay Johannes, of Greeley, and Norma Wegmann, Joan Recker, Sharon Deutmeyer, Nancy Deutmeyer, all of Dyersville. In addition, all of the sisters have been joined by Mary Recker, of Dyersville, Beth Simpson, of Epworth, and Carol Heying, of Dubuque.
Boge's mother would not only be proud, she'd likely be a little jealous knowing that her six daughters and the rest of the Lemon sisters will be part of an early-morning entourage of 80 people on two tour buses this morning headed for Branson, Mo. Their tour will take them to the Lawrence Welk Resort Theater, where they have reserved seats to see a singing group that has been well-known to the American public since it debuted on the Lawrence Welk television show on Christmas Eve in 1955. The group? Why, the Lennon Sisters, of course.
The impetus for the trip came from Boge's daughter Trisha Thier. While working at a Toy Fair in New York City, Thier encountered Kathy and Janet Lennon, who were in attendance because they produce a line of dolls. The conversation inevitably landed on the subject of the Lemon Sisters, and the Lennons invited the group to see their act at the Welk Theater.
The Lennon Sisters will be in the first week of a six-week run at the Welk Theater before beginning a tour in 2011. The group's manager, Roxie Elfering, said, "The Lennon Sisters have heard about the Lemon Sisters and they very much look forward to meeting them. It should be great fun."
There will be laughter and merriment on the buses as the Lemons and their families and friends head southward. The buses will be genial rolling cocoons of anticipatory nostalgia and there will be time for reflection and memory. There will undoubtedly be thoughts of the sisters who first performed on Lawrence Welk's show years ago, and of local sisters whose mother took them to local places knowing that her beautiful daughters would charm and soothe an audience, something they continue to do.