Adam Krings: a profile on the textbook manager

Adam Krings: a profile on the textbook manager

Ren Gennerman, Profile Reporter

Prior to graduating from Winona State University in 2006, current Winona State University Textbook Manager, Adam Krings, was in a singing group with his identical twin brother and another set of twins.

Before studying recreation and tourism at Winona State, Adam Krings and his brother, Marcus, attended Winona Senior High School, and were a part of the concert choir. There, they sang with Eli and Nat Bremer. One day, their choir director, Bruce Ramsdale, asked if they would be willing to sing together for the senior friendship center in town. The two sets of brothers agreed and worked from then on to rehearse songs for their performance. As the four sang together, they realized their voices meshed well together and decided they wanted to keep performing afterward.

After learning a few more songs, they decided on the band name A.M.E.N., which served as an acronym for their names. It also listed the voice order—Adam singing tenor one, Marcus singing tenor two, Eli singing baritone, and Nat singing bass—and it also listed them from oldest to youngest.

The group sang for the Winona community and focused most of their energy into learning ’50s and ’60s doo-op songs, especially from groups like The Temptations and The Del-Vikings. Many of their songs were accompanied by small portions of choreography, which Adam Krings said got a rise out of the older crowds.

“Winona is an older community,” Adam Krings said. “A lot of people wanted to hear those songs and our voices just blended so well with that oldies style.”

The group didn’t originally anticipate their popularity growing so quickly, but they were soon playing around the area in places like La Crosse and Arcadia, as well as Winona. During their senior year, was when the band became most popular.

“We were just doing shows here and there and didn’t think it would become anything, but our senior year of high school during Christmastime, we sang about 52 different times. Most of it was caroling at that point, but we also sang some of our original style songs,” Adam Krings said.

From there, they took off. Because of their connections in the community, the group became the official spokespeople for Wells Fargo for when the company first came into Winona. The president of the bank invited them to sing at openings of banks, as well as walk in a parade to sing the Wells Fargo song. The group also competed locally in the county fair and won first place. When they attended the Minnesota State Fair, they received second place. Though the group only ended up singing together for two to three years, with the Bremer brothers going to Saint Mary’s while the Krings brothers went to Winona State, Adam Krings treasures the memories.

“It’s interesting because you see it now how there’s groups like Pentatonix and others, and when we started this, a lot of people would laugh at us. I look at it now like we were doing what they [Pentatonix] are doing now and their group just took off,” Adam Krings said.

Marcus Krings feels similarily, noting especially his experience with singing and performing before A.M.E.N. was even a group.

“I feel like people responded well to us because of the gimmick,” Marcus Krings said. “It’s not every day you see two sets of identical twins singing together acapella.  All four of us had also been in musicals throughout high school so we knew how to entertain people.”

The group obviously loved singing together, especially because all their performances were donation-based when it came to payments. If people insisted on paying them, their donations would be put towards the good of the group, like buying sheet music or outfits for performances.

“We just loved performing and if someone couldn’t give us more than $10, we wanted to perform anyways,” Adam Krings said. “We just wanted to sing.”

This love for singing did not come naturally for Adam Krings, but came from the teaching of Bruce Ramsdale, the former director of the choir at Winona Senior High School, who now works at Winona State.

“I’d have to give most of the credit to Mr. Ramsdale,” Adam Krings said. “I had never really gotten into choir before that. The way he taught and the way he made us learn music was incredible. He made it fun and he made us want to learn. Ramsdale was always about having fun with the music.”

Ramsdale had fun helping the group to prepare and perform as well, never asking anything in return from the boys for the extra time he put in.

“They sang really well,” Ramsdale said. “They had great stage presence and wonderful personalities and they could engage large crowds wherever they went. The quartet was always willing to perform and would make many appearances all over southeast Minnesota.”

After A.M.E.N. was over, Marcus Krings continued his musical career.

“I did go on to be in band called The WhistleJacks for around 10 years,” Marcus Krings said. “That led me to working with some friends from that band in a sound and lighting company for the past few years called Lyric Light And Sound. We recently ran sound at Winona State on the football field for an incoming freshmen event.”

Though Adam Krings does not sing professionally now, he knows his performances and musical experience stretch beyond himself, especially as he tries to pass on his music background to his two sons.

His first son was a colicky baby, and so Adam Krings sang “Faithfully” by Journey to him, as it was the only song that would calm him down. His son now asks Adam Krings to sing it to him every night before he goes to bed and his son can now recite it word for word. Adam Krings hopes one day that his sons will like singing as much as he did, as it can change people’s lives, as he saw during his time performing.

“There was actually one wedding we sang for a woman who had her wedding here in Winona. She ended up later in a coma. We would go out to the hospital to visit her weekly and sing to her because the doctors felt that she could hear us,” Adam Krings said. “When we would sing to her, you could see tears come out of her eyes. After a few months, she woke up and she says she remembers us singing to her while she was in her coma.”

Though the group is no longer together, their effect on the community has not been lost.

“When audiences heard the quartet, they would listen with smiles on their faces. When A.M.E.N. would sing, everyone just felt better. They could impress all ages, from preschoolers and elementary students to senior citizens,” Ramsdale said. “I still have people asking about Adam, Marcus, Eli and Nat, so memories of A.M.E.N. have lasted.  The group really had an impact.”