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Benefactor Profile

“My mother sang.  She was the soprano soloist for weddings and funerals.  When she sang, all the children would go with her.  If we were quiet on the way, we’d get a lifesaver.  And if we were quiet when she sang, sometimes we’d get a cherry cola and pretzel rod afterward.   But to listen to her sing; that was truly amazing!”

This early memory of Scott Mahle’s suggests one of the foundations of his love of music and son.  Add to this that his father was a choral director for college choirs, and, well, you get the idea.    And, of course, the positive reinforcement of lifesavers and cherry cola for being a good audience member should not be discounted!

Move a few years into the future, when, in college as a singer in the Iowa Wesleyan choir, under the direction of his father, he met Jan, his future wife.  A relationship begun in music was certainly going to lead to more music.  And it did.

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Scott and Jan came to Rochester in the 1980s as teachers.  Once they arrived, they looked for choirs to join. Jan heard about the new choir that a Rick Kvam had begun and the two auditioned and joined the choir.  So did other members of the Mahle family—at one point, there were five Mahles in the choir!

“We knew we found a great group when, after my dad talked with Rick, he said to me, ‘This guy gets it.’  That was a high recommendation from my dad, and I’ve learned over the years the truth of that statement,’ says Scott.

Scott and Jan’s support of Choral Arts Ensemble continued over the years, even when child raising and grad school didn’t leave them time to be singers.  But they were always listening.  Both Scott and Jan agree that “there’s something special about this choir.  The range of experience and age and voices.  And the cohesive of the singers and how they work together, responding to each other, as they sing.  It’s an amazing group.”

The Mahle’s also believe that the Choral Arts Ensemble is a gift to the area.  “It’s an incredible program for this city.  We’re spoiled to have such a high-quality group like this.  And we’re excited to see the outreach to new audiences and venues as well as new themes in the music choices.”

Even though the Mahle’s will be leaving the area to live part of the year in Wisconsin, part of the year in Arizona, they will continue to support the choir.  They are working with Choral Arts Ensemble to create a scholarship for students in music education.  “Students with musical ability and passion for teaching are the people who will create the next generation of singers.  And we want to support this.” 

There are other ways to support Choral Arts Ensemble.  Scott and Jan acknowledge the importance of bringing friends to the concerts and attending all the concerts to better understand the true character of this choir.  And if you need to use a lifesaver to encourage your friends, well, that’s not a bad way to encourage one’s love of music.

We are deeply grateful for the generous support from CAE friends like Scott & Jan. We simply could not exist without the many gifts of time, talent and treasure shared with Choral Arts Ensemble as so beautifully exemplified by Scott & Jan.


There are many ways to support CAE philanthropically which can benefit your personal financial planning. For more information about this, please contact Bob Giere, CAE Executive Director at 507-252-8427 or

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