Named after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pittsburg, Kansas (population approx. 20,000) was settled in 1876 near the border of Missouri. The city’s primary employer was Pittsburg & Midway Company, a coal mining company created in 1879 that attracted Southern and Eastern European mine workers in the late 19th century. It is in this rural town that we find the 180- voice Pittsburg Multigenerational Chorus (AKA “Multi-Gen”).
The chorus, created in 2008 and directed by Pittsburg High School Vocal Music Teacher, Susan Laushman, brings community members into the high school music classroom. Members from ages 14 to 89 rehearse twice weekly alongside high school students, and the group collaborates with local ensembles like the Pittsburg State University Wind Ensemble and the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra. This popular ensemble is bringing together fathers and sons, grandmothers, mothers and daughters, alumni, retirees and other citizens of all ages to build a stronger community through choral singing. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to connect with members of our community, and for some of the retired singers, it’s a great chance to feel involved in high school again,” Laushman said.