Long-time musician and educator Bart Torbert is bringing Beer Choir to Sioux Falls with the first event from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at Remedy Brewing Company. He chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about the "fun-first" choir and how anybody can join.

Let's start with a little history. What's your background, and how did you get involved with bringing beer choir to Sioux Falls?

I am an experienced high school music educator– 40-plus years – currently president-elect of the South Dakota Choral Director’s Association. My most recent full-time gig was Stevens High School choir in Rapid City.

  • I’ve been a rock and roll performer (Precious Cargo in the 70s-80s) and a worship leader. I was a participant in a similar group in Rapid City a few years ago.

I love the social aspect of singing and wanted to find something inclusive to add to the collegiate, classical, and spiritual singing groups in Sioux Falls.

We're all about simplicity here. Can you explain what "beer choir" is in 10 words or less?

Beer Choir is a “fun-first” gathering of jolly social singers.

What is it about the combination of beer and singing that makes an event like this work?

Pubs seem to be a place where we can put down our guard a bit, and not take ourselves too seriously. While we hope our group imbibes responsibly, loosening up is the secret sauce to beer choir singing.

What types of songs do you sing in beer choir?

The national organization provides a “beer hymnal” of some classic drinking songs, some folk songs from Germany, Ireland, and sea shanties.

Who is this for?

We invite anyone of any experience with singing to stop by.

  • There is no try-out, you can sing and drink as much or little as you are comfortable. (I’ll be having root beer myself!)

What are you hoping people take away from this event?

I’d love to see people leave with a smile and something new to whistle while they work.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Even though Sioux Falls does have some opportunities for adult singers – I also sing in the Christmas at the Cathedral choir – many of us have spent a lot of time in choir rooms growing up with no place to express those talents as adults.

We have now scheduled out every six weeks or so to spend time at Remedy Brewing, WoodGrain Brewing, Severance Brewing, and The Source.