The 1950s and ’60s in St. Louis Park were all about young families—a dad and a mom and 2.5 kids in the Park’s 10 elementary schools, two junior highs and our brand-new high school. The population was growing exponentially; churches, synagogues and organizations were popping up all over the place. It was an exciting, creative time, when people got together to worship, build playgrounds, produce plays, discuss important issues and generally make the Park a thriving community.
One of those many community organizations was the Eliot Mother Singers. Eliot Elementary School served the booming North Side; the Mother Singers go back to at least 1955. For many years their director was Betty Meister. The group put on elaborate shows with several costume changes. In 1958 members performed at the state PTA convention with over 300 other Mother Singers. In 1959 they presented an epic “Music of My America” program, featuring an original composition by Meister. Former Mother Singer Ruth Anderson remembered that Meister “had a great singing voice and was very good at bringing out the best in a group with mixed degrees of talent...The musical we performed [in 1964] was South Pacific. We each made our own costumes. I only remember a lot of nylon net, but the finished outfits were very pretty.”
Eliot School closed in 1977, but the group was not finished singing. They forged a partnership with Methodist Hospital to form the Methodaires Show Choir. The all-women group works with the Park Nicollet Foundation to raise money for the Frauenshuh Cancer Center. The power of female voices lives on!
Jeanne Andersen is secretary of the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society. Learn more about the city’s history at the website here.