VelvetTones4522Edit retouchedVelvet Tones is a non-profit community choral group of senior adults, 55 or older, who love to sing. The group currently has more than 70 vocalists. Auditions are not required to join. Members are from the south metro area of the Twin Cities with most of them coming from northern Dakota County.

The Velvet Tones rehearse Wednesdays, September through May, at 10:00 AM, at the Apple Valley Senior Center located at 14601 Hayes Road in Apple Valley, MN.  Director Rich Clausen is a professional musician, teacher and performer.


We are a vocal chorus that’s composed of older folks
Who like to sing and socialize and tell each other jokes.
We practice every Wednesday in the spring and in the fall,
And entertain at nursing homes to patients – large and small.
We also sing for aging folks in their retirement places,
Who show appreciation, with the smiles that cross their faces.
We sing at churches, service clubs and Christmas parties, too.
We also sing at funerals, when we are requested to.
The songs we like to sing are those from times, now past,
When Golden Oldies ruled the roost and somehow seemed to last.
We also sing some songs we knew when we were in our teens.
They might be songs from stage shows or from movie scenes.
We even wave the flag at times with a patriotic air
That brings a tear to many who remember – and who care.
We are almost always available, any time, or any place
To see where else our music might provide a little grace.
We are a diverse group with tastes, that vary, as they should,
But yet we get along first rate, as Rich knew we would.
Our ages range from fifty to a lofty eighty-six,
With seventy of us somewhere in that three-decade mix.
We like to think our singing is worthwhile and might bestow
Some mem’ries of forgotten songs, folks knew, long ago.
And if our singing helps generate, just one more smile,
The satisfaction we derive from it, makes it all worthwhile.

Our History

On March 11, 1997, School District 196 Community Education Staff member, Jan Stoven, met with ten retirees to discuss life long learning “needs of seniors”. From this meeting, the Velvet Tones were formed. Rich Clausen became director in 1998. Since then, the Velvet Tones membership and notoriety have grown through scheduled concerts and events. Over the years, The Velvet Tones have performed for and touched the lives of thousands. With support through the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and others, the group has become a role model of vibrant artistic expression for active seniors. The Velvet Tones in its second decade is focused on offering their musical artistry to those in the community most in need.In June, 2009, the Velvet Tones appeared on stage in a ten performance run of “My Father’s Bookshelf” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.

Mission Statement

To share the joy of singing, the fellowship of others and promote performing arts throughout the community.

Rich Clausen, Director

Rich Clausen is a former school music teacher and long time professional musician. He was one of the original members of the “Swinging Ambassadors” who played at Diamond Jim’s in Mendota, the Chart House in Lakeville, and at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.


The Velvet Tones do not discriminate on the basis of disability. The Apple Valley Senior Center, the primary rehearsal venue, was constructed in 2009 and offers great accessibility. The Center has adequate parking with designated handicapped spaces, a level pathway from the parking lot to the rehearsal hall with no stairs, steps, or unavoidable curbs. It has automatic doors and accessible restroom facilities.