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A Golden Legacy! 1962 - 2012

Volume 40, Issue 3 Fall 2012

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Star of the North • Fall 2012

Luther College welcomes Andrew Last Andrew C. Last joins Luther’s internationally acclaimed choral program as assistant professor of music and director of Norsemen and Collegiate Chorale. A 1997 graduate of Luther, Last holds a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and is completing his doctorate in choral conducting at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He has extensive experience directing high school and university choirs and has traveled widely as a guest clinician. Last comes to Luther from Concordia University in Nebraska, where he serves on the voice faculty. Luther’s choral program comprises three upper-class mixed touring choirs, two first-year choirs, and an upper-class women’s choir. Well over 500 singers from these ensembles combine with the college’s instrumental forces for five annual Christmas at Luther performances. Christmas at Luther 2012 will be featured nationwide with a new one-hour special on PBS.

Dr. Allen Hightower Nordic Choir Director of Choral Activities

Linda Martin Cantorei

Weston Noble Professor Emeritus

Nearly 1,000 student-musicians study with Luther’s 56-member music faculty, which includes 4 choral conductors, 13 voice teachers, and a vocal coach. It all adds up to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the world!

Dr. Sandra Peter Aurora Cathedral Choir

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


ACDA of Minnesota Board of Directors President��������������������������������������������� Steve Albaugh President-Elect��������������������������������� Thomas Hassig Vice President........................................Brian Stubbs Secretary���������������������������������������������� Amy Johnson Central District Chair��������������������� Andrew Hasty Northwest District Chair�����������������Shelly Wahlin Northeast District Chair��������������������Joe Osowski Southwest District Chair����������������������Greg Aune Southeast District Chair������������ Elizabeth Shepley Metro West District Chair���������� Paula Holmberg Metro East District Chair���������������Daryl Timmer Newsletter Editor�������������������������� Bret Amundson Executive Director����������������������� Bruce W. Becker




Executive Assistant��������������������������������� Barb Geier

ACDA of Minnesota Repertoire and Standards Chairs Boy Choirs������������������������������������Aaron Carpenter Children’s & Youth Choirs�������������Ann Schrooten College and University Choirs����������� Matt Ferrell Ethnic & Multicultural Perspectives����Jon Kopplin High School Choirs�������������������������������Steve Deitz Jazz Choirs��������������������������������������������Laura Tempel Junior High/Middle School Choirs���� Sue Gilsdorf Male Choirs............................................ Mark Potvin Music and Worship������������������������������ Mark Stover Show Choirs��������������������������������������� Lukas Warren Two-Year College Choirs�������������������� Karla Miller Women’s Choirs�����������������������������Angela Mitchell Youth and Student Activities����������Brandon Dean Repertoire and Standards Coordinator������������������������������������� Phillip Brown •••

Star of the North Advertising Rates Inside Front/Back Cover 8 1⁄2w x 10h������$300.00 Size A: Full Page 8 1⁄2w x 10h��������������������$250.00


President’s Cue........................................................................7 FMC Endowment Update���������������������������������������������������34 Student Podium���������������������������������������������������������������������35 Commissioning Corner�����������������������������������������������������������40 MMEA Update�����������������������������������������������������������������������42 High School Choirs............................................48 College and Unniverslty Choirs.....................49 Music and Worship Choir...............................50 Jazz Choirs�����������������������������������������������������������51 The Last Word, Bruce Becker.................................................. 61

star program highlight: Paynesville Area Schools������������������������������������������������������ 10 Guest Features: Girls with a Mission, Julia Fahey������������������������������������������ 12 Choruses and Change: Culture Counts, David Costanza�������������������������������������������������������������� 16

Summer ­Dialogue


From the Field: To Inspire and Support a Community of Choral Musicians, Paula Holmberg��������������������������������������������������������� 30 Be Mission Driven, Daryl Timmer�������������������������������������������� 32



The Influence of St. Olaf Choir Membership on Minnesota Choral Directors, Part 2��������������������������������� 24 IN THE NEWS: New Website and The Daily Beat Launched������������������� 44 Honor a Mentor: Make a Tribune Gift��������������������������������� 45 Mens & Womens Chorus Festival... 23 Years & Counting, Michael Walsh�������������������������������� 46 New SSA Commissioning Consortium Project��������������� 47 A Golden History of ACDA-MN written by Wayne Kivell and Bruce Becker������������������������� 56 In Remembrance: Maurice L. LeGault................................... 60


Size B: 8 1⁄2w x 5 1⁄2h��������������������������������$150.00 Size C: 8 1⁄2w x 4 1⁄3h��������������������������������$120.00 Size D: 4 2⁄3w x 10h�������������������������������������� $90.00 Size E: 2 1⁄3w x 10h��������������������������������������� $75.00 Size F: 3 1⁄3w x 4 1⁄2h����������������������������������� $50.00

Star of the North Ad and Article Submission Dates

Policy Statement on Programming Recognizing the broad diversity of cultures and beliefs by our member directors, by our singers, and by all those touched by performances of choral music, ACDA of Minnesota reaffirms its commitment to balance and diversity in programming. It is important that we, as the leading proponents of choral art in our state, actively encourage and model sensitivity to and awareness of diversity, particularly with regard to sacred and secular repertoire.

Fall 2013...........................................................8/17/13

We recommend that no more than fifty percent of the literature chosen for Honors Choirs, AllState Choirs and Pick Six packets contain music with sacred text. Performances and lists pertaining to music in worship are exempt.

Winter 2013....................................................1/13/13

Adopted by the ACDA of Minnesota Executive Board, January 13, 1996.

Spring 2013......................................................4/13/13


Star of the North • Fall 2012

Advertiser’s index Accolades���������������������������������������������������������5

JW Pepper and Sons����������������������������������� 55

ACDA-MN 50th Anniversary������������������ 15

Luther College������������������������������������������������3

ACDA-MN Honor Choirs������������������������ 41

Lutheran Summer Music��������������������������� 59

ACDA-MN State Conference��������������9, 34

Make Music Inc.������������������������������������������� 63

Augustana College�������������������������������������� 56

McNally Smith College of Music�������������� 43

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre�������������������� 31

Minnesota Opera���������������������������������������� 62

Concordia College-Moorhead����������������� 61

National Lutheran Choir��������������������������� 65

Concordia University-St. Paul���������������������8

North Central University�������������������������� 27

FMC Endowment Fund������������������������������ 31

Northwestern College������������������������������ 52

Good News Tour and Travel������������������ 42

Popplers Music Inc.����������������������������������������8

Gourmet’s Delight�������������������������������������� 23

University of Minnesota���������������������������� 47

Grand Tours������������������������������������������������ 23

Varsity Photo and Awards������������������������ 23

Groth Music������������������������������������������������� 34

Wenger Corporation������������������������������������2

Group Travel Planners������������������������������ 29

Westmark Productions����������������������������� 45

Heartland Concert Artists������������������������ 19

INTERESTED IN ADVERTISING WITH ACDA-MN? Contact Bruce Becker, Executive Director

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International Tours for the Arts Minneapolis, MN

A Golden Legacy! 1962 - 2012 The Star of the North is published three times a year by ACDA of Minnesota: Fall/Conference, Winter, and Spring. Articles may be submitted to the copy editor for consideration: Bret Amundson, Editor The College of St. Scholastica 1200 Kenwood Ave., Duluth, MN 55811 (218) 625-4983 Office (206) 660-6300 Cell Visit our website for updates: Advertising materials and photos should be sent directly to: By All Means Graphics 17 Bridge Square Northfield, MN 55057 (507) 663-7937 For more information on advertising contracts, rates and specifications, please contact: Bruce W. Becker, Executive Director or (952) 270-7489

ACDA of Minnesota reserves the right to edit and approve all submitted materials. •••

ACDA Advocacy Resolution Whereas, the human spirit is elevated to a broader understanding of itself through study and performance in the aesthetic arts, and whereas, serious cutbacks in funding and support have steadily eroded arts institutions in our country, be it resolved that all citizens of the United States actively voice their affirmative and collective support for necessary funding at the local, state and national levels of education and government, to ensure the survival of arts programs for this and future generations.

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


How would you describe the ­mission of your choral program?

Editor’S Remarks

Helping boys find their voice. ~ Mark Johnson

Bret amundson

College of St. Scholastica

Mark Johnson began his work with the Minnesota Boychoir in 1992 as the accompanist. He was hired as the Artistic Director in 1993. Mr. Johnson holds a degree in vocal music education from St. Olaf College and he taught junior high choral music for six years before becoming full-time conductor of the Boychoir in 1997. From 1995 to 2007, he was a member of the staff at Albemarle, a summer music camp program of the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Johnson’s reputation in choral work has led to many invitations to work as a clinician, accompanist, and adjudicator with regional, national, and international honors choirs and festivals. Mark has also served as the American Choral Directors Association Repertoire and Standards Chair for Boychoirs at the state and regional levels.

One of the major lessons I learned from my work with The St. John’s Boys’ Choir is how a well-articulated, meaningful, and distinctive mission can – and should – guide all aspects of your work. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins notes that an organization must decide what they can be “best in the world at” – and it is this information that will help the organization discover its mission.

The mission “provides the glue that holds an organization together through time” (Collins & Porras, 1996, pg. 66), and it defines the enduring character of an organization – a character that transcends monetary concerns, changes in technology, fads, and any individual leader. Every dollar that is spent, every decision that is made, every assignment you give, and every trip you take should reflect the mission of your choir or choral organization. When working toward a common goal, the mission will serve as unwavering inspiration for all involved. Winter 2013 Ads/Articles Deadline: January 13, 2013

The mission of ACDA-MN, “to inspire and support a community of choral musicians in our state," is used as the guiding principle for all we do – including our work in the Star of the North. We choose our themes, contributors, and articles based on the mission of ACDA-MN. It is our goal to provide Minnesota Choral Directors with inspiring information, written by and for members from our statewide community, that will help improve the quality of choral pedagogy, musicianship, and advocacy in Minnesota. This issue is no different and, coincidentally, is guided by a theme of “mission.” Julia Fahey, Artistic Director of Partners in Praise Choir, describes how her choristers live out the Partners in Praise mission during every rehearsal and performance. Dr. David Costanza, from The George Washington University, explains how the mission of a choir can help guide decision-making and create a culture-shift. District Chairs Paula Holmberg and Daryl Timmer share how ACDA-MN is living out its mission in their neck of the woods. In the “Five Words or Less” and “Star Program Spotlight,” we ask Mark Johnson and Cheryl Bungum to describe the mission of their choral programs. As we prepare to begin another school year, make a commitment to revisit your choir’s mission and investigate how your decision-making connects to that mission. We’ve got another great issue for you – I hope you enjoy!


Star of the North • Fall 2012

President’sCUE Greetings from Rosemount! Welcome to Fall of 2012!

Steven Albaugh

Rosemount High School

ACDA-MN has many exciting events planned for the upcoming months – I encourage you and your students to get involved! The most important event on our calendar is our Fall Conference – our 50th Anniversary Celebration! Join in the party as we celebrate decades of inspiring moments in ACDA-MN history! Particularly special to my heart is the Minnesota Sings! Event. Let’s celebrate choral music throughout the WHOLE state of Minnesota! See Paula Holmberg’s article and the NEW ACDA-MN website for details. This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the ACDA National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas. Many state, divisional, and national officers joined the ACDA national office staff in extensive dialogue regarding the future of ACDA. The main question addressed was, “How do we continue to be a viable organization in a rapidly changing world?” I believe this question is particularly pertinent for ACDA-MN. We are in the middle of our 50th Anniversary year, and although we should take time to celebrate this milestone, it is also important to begin looking ahead. What happens after 2012? What does it look like “to support and inspire a community of choral musicians in our state” post 50th? Prior to our state Board of Directors meeting in August, I provided the Board with a long list of words, and asked the members to think about how those words relate to ACDA-MN, either in a positive or constructive manner. We had a very robust dialogue about the entire list where each member was able to share the specific concepts they had prepared. I then asked each Board member to identify one word they felt was the most important to focus in on as we moved forward, post Anniversary celebration. I am including the top seven, along with only a couple of the many concepts/ideas/thoughts that were shared by Board members:


• Exploring the limitlessness of artistic ­expression! • Focus on being the best you can be – not “THE BEST.”

Community • Sharing ideas and providing outlets for statewide music making. • ACDA-MN has done a good job in planning conferences, events, etc., that serve a wide spectrum of choral musicians. What else can we do for our community?

Excellence • Excellence is synonymous with the ACDA-MN mission. • The quality of ACDA-MN events leads the nation. It’s a luxury that we may take for granted!

Inspiration • Dialogue – a “shot in the arm” to begin your year uplifted, renewed, and refreshed. • How can I continue to find inspiration throughout the year?

Legacy • Continuing the choral excellence of Minnesota in the decades to come. • A distinguished past – all those who inspired our present and future.

Renewal • Can ACDA-MN help with renewal DURING the year? • Conferences + Dialogue = Renewal. How can this prove true for each member?

Support • Support “FROM” ACDA-MN fuels support “FOR” ACDA-MN. • Actively seeking ways to support our members. What’s next?

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


In addition to these foundational “pillars," there were two words that garnered a tremendous amount of discussion and could very well be two areas of new initiatives as we move into 2013. Those words are MENTORSHIP and MEMBERSHIP. Look for your ACDA-MN Board to explore step forward with new ideas regarding these concepts and how they relate to the future of ACDAMN. Our discussion on these pillars was only the beginning as we move past our Anniversary celebration. We must ask ourselves – at a state level – how WE continue to stay VIABLE in our great state! What does “to support and inspire” look like in 2013 compared to 2008 and earlier?

7th Annual Choral Arts Finale, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis

Top-Notch Faculty. Supportive Environment.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate Brian Stubbs and his entire planning team on a fantastic ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue! From singing under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson to the outstanding sessions led by the All-State conductors, it truly was an inspiring week! This past Dialogue was Brian’s second and final Dialogue to plan and implement. Brian – you are a perfect example of unselfish service to this organization! We thank you for your endless hours of dedication to ACDA-MN (and NC-ACDA) during your time as an elected leader. Job well done! Have a wonderful Fall and I will see you at our 50th Anniversary Celebration!

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Christus Chorus on South Korea Choir Tour, May 2012

The Concordia University, St. Paul, music program offers top-caliber faculty and facilities in a caring, supportive environment where our students are nutured to share their talents in community. The music program features: • Five vocal ensembles: • Christus Chorus (award-winning touring choir), David Mennicke, conductor • Jubilate (mixed voice chapel choir), Shari Speer, conductor • Vox 9 (vocal jazz ensemble), Bill White, director • Shades of Harmony Multi-cultural Gospel Choir, Andrew Griffin, conductor • Opera Workshop, Shari Speer, director • Outstanding private vocal instruction (voice faculty are peer-elected leaders in NATS) • Frequent collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra • International choir tours (past sites include Germany, Poland, Ghana, South Korea) • Ten instrumental ensembles • Host of Annual Choral Arts Finale: A Premier High School Choral Festival Co-sponsored by ACDA of Minnesota • Accredited music majors in: Performance, Composition, Music Education (instrumental and vocal), Music Business, Church Music

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Star of the North • Fall 2012

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First Lutheran Church Columbia Heights, MN

State Conference November 16 • 17 • 18

Benson Great Hall Bethel University St. Paul, MN

ACDA-MN 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend FRIDAY EVENTS


Elementary Interest Sessions

Keynote Address by René Clausen

Mary Alice Stollak, clinician

Middle Level Interest Sessions Kari Gilbertson, clinician

Student Symposium Interest Sessions

Our Golden Legacy: A Distinguished Past…A Vibrant Future

Auditioned Concert Performances Relevant Interest Sessions

Dale Warland and Greg Douma, clinicians

Mary Kay Geston and Karen Fulmer, clinicians

Music and Worship Interest Sessions

Annual Award Presentations

John Ferguson, clinician

Clinic and Auditioned Choral Performances State 7-8 Boys’ Honor Choir Performance Tim Peter, guest conductor

State 7-8 Girls’ Honor Choir Performance Karen Fulmer, guest conductor

Public Evening Concert A Minnesota Choral Mosaic

Cantus and VocalEssence Ensemble Singers

50th Anniversary Panel Presentation Our Minnesota Choral Legacy

State 4-5-6 Children’s Honor Choir Performance Mary Alice Stollak, guest conductor

50th Anniversary Banquet and Program Honoring ACDA-MN past State Presidents

Public Evening Concert The Tribute Concert

Craig Hella Johnson, artistic director and conductor ACDA-MN Anniversary Directors’ Chorus Magnum Chorum • The St. Olaf Choir Concert Choir of the Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs Concert Choir of the Northfield Youth Choirs

SUNDAY EVENTS Twin Cities area morning worship events

Public Concert: A Golden Grand Finale St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church Mahtomedi, MN

(featuring a world premiere by René Clausen) ACDA-MN State 11-12 High School Honor Choir Concordia Choir-Moorhead • Minnesota Boychoir The Singers • University of Minnesota Singers

A Distinguished Past…A Vibrant Future (1962-2012) American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN) • Land of 10,000 Choirs!

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


Star program highlight Paynesville Area Schools Paynesville area schools choral

Cheryl Bungum Paynesville, MN

The choral program in the Paynesville Area Schools begins with the Prelude Singers, a feeder choir of around 100 4th & 5th grade students in the elementary school which is directed by the elementary music specialist, Charlene Strand. This choir meets twice weekly for twenty minutes. The program continues in the middle school and high school with 6th Grade Choir (25-minute rehearsals 3 times/week), 7th & 8th Grade Choir (50-minute rehearsals every other day), High School Treble Choir (9th & 10th grade women, 50-minute daily rehearsals), High School Mixed Choir (9th12th grade men, 11th & 12th grade women and those students in both band and choir, 50-minute daily rehearsals, band/choir members alternate days) and High School Pops Choir (a select mixed group which meets one day a week before school). Sight-singing is an important part of each rehearsal for grades 6-12, which helps each singer as well as the entire group read new music more quickly.

Paynesville Area Schools Choral


Star of the North • Winter 2012

Every high school choir member has 3-4 individual 15-minute voice lessons per quarter on a regular alternating week schedule. Although some of these lessons are scheduled before and after school and during study halls, many of the students come out of class for their lessons, which is only possible through the much-appreciated support of faculty and administration. During the first semester all students work on solos in these lessons (and at home) which they perform memorized for the entire class in January and then continue to refine for vocal solo/ensemble contest in February/March. As intimidating as this seems to the first-time performers, the growth in confidence and skills throughout the process and the support the soloists feel from their fellow choir members is extremely beneficial to the overall success of both the individual singers and the entire program. Students complete reflections at the end of each semester in choir and these reflections consistently reinforce how much the solo performances affect the students’ overall confidence in themselves as individuals, not only as singers, especially through four years in choir. After solo/ensemble contest students work in their voice lessons to prepare lighter solos/ensembles to perform for elementary students in May. The high school choirs travel during the evennumbered years in the fall, alternating between Disney World and New York City. After being accepted by Disney World through DVD audition last spring, the high school choirs will be performing for their 4th time at the Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir Program at Epcot this fall on the day after Thanksgiving. They will be performing along with high school choir members from all over the country, Walt Disney cast members and a professional orchestra. This trip has been a highlight for many of the Paynesville Area High School Choir members since they first performed there in 2000. Smaller groups of high

school students participate in various vocal music festivals, including the Dorian Festival at Luther College, the Young Men in Harmony Festival in Willmar, the Big Sing at St. Cloud State University and a Young Women in Harmony Festival in Paynesville. The 7th & 8th Grade Choir participates each year at the MMEA Junior High Choral Festival in Willmar. In the fall of the odd-numbered years the combined high school choirs perform a musical, with all members of the choirs involved in the production at least as part of the chorus. Rehearsals take place in the evening and during choir rehearsal hours, with the schedule of rehearsals and performances worked out around school sporting events, since many students are involved in sports as well as choir. The choirs performed Happy Days – A New Musical in 2011, Back to the 80’s in 2009, Disney’s High School Musical in 2007 and Bye, Bye Birdie in 2005. The entire 7th & 8th Grade Choir also performed several musicals, including Godspell, Jr. in 2007, Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. in 2006 and Music Man, Jr. in 2005.

Cheryl Bungum

Cheryl’s Pick Six • Dansi Na Kiumba; Dave and Jean Perry; 2-Part; Alfred 16206; Prelude Singers and 6th Grade Choir • Thank You, Soldiers; Michael and Angela Souders; SATB, 3-Part Mixed, 2-Part; Alfred 37859, Alfred 37860, Alred 37861; also available is a wonderful accompaniment Video Trax DVD to project on a screen for a compelling Veteran’s Day presentation – Alfred 37863; 7th & 8th Grade High School Choirs • I Have A Dream; Mary Donnelly/arr. George L.O. Strid; SAB; Alfred 7633; 7th & 8th Grade Choir • Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet; Greg Gilpin; SSA, a cappella; Shawnee Press 35027661; High School Treble Choir • The Awakening; Joseph M. Martin; SATB; Shawnee Press, Inc. A 2023; High School Mixed Choir • Calling My Children Home; Doyle Lawson, Charles Waller, Robert Yates/arr. Joseph H. Jennings; SATB, a cappella; Hinshaw Music HMC2130; High School Mixed Choir

Cheryl Bungum is in her 27th year of teaching vocal music in the Paynesville Area Schools. Her teaching responsibilities include 5th grade classroom music at the elementary school as well as all of the choirs and voice lessons at the middle school and high school. She also served as the choir director at Paynesville Lutheran Church for 17 years. Cheryl graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College where she studied under the direction of Dr. Karle Erickson. She received her Master’s in Education degree from St. Mary’s University and has taken both levels of the VoiceCare Network classes, the Bodymind and Voice Course and the Continuing Course in Conducting.

Cheryl’s goal

My ultimate goal for the choral program in the Paynesville Area Schools is to create a caring environment where the students have the opportunity to grow as people and as musicians, both individually and as a group. One of the advantages of teaching grades 5-12 is the opportunity I have to see this growth throughout the years each student is in the program. The more opportunities I can give the students, the more they continue to grow. For some of my students the choir trips have been their only opportunity to leave the county, never mind the state. For many, the choir musicals are the first time they have been on stage, and many have continued on to perform roles in other productions. For many, getting up and singing a solo in front of the class has made them realize that they are capable of far more than they realize, once they challenge themselves to step out of their comfort zone. My goal is for all of the students to learn to work well with and support one another. One of the comments that meant the most to me on a reflection by a recent student was “Choir is not only a class, it is like a family.”

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


Guest Feature Girls with a Mission Partners in Praise Girls Choir exists to empower young girls to find themselves, their confidence and their potential through music.

Julia Fahey Artistic Director Partner in Praise Girls Choir

In 1994, a seed was planted in the MinneapolisSt. Paul area. This seed contained the vision and the energy to nurture children through music education, choral singing, and performance. My children’s choir performed with Donny Osmond in the Broadway production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Now, 19 years later, that seed has blossomed into the award winning all-girls choir Partners in Praise Girls Choir (“PIP”). In 2012, PIP was the recipient of the Choir of Angels Award for Global Citizenship at the Golden Gate International Children and Youth Choral Festival. This award goes to the choir that, throughout the festival, has welcomed and included others, has been artistically attentive, and has demonstrated leadership qualities. PIP’s mission statement (set forth in bold italics below) is: 1. To form and maintain a nonprofit allgirls choir consisting of third through twelfth grade girls from all ethnic and economic backgrounds. Choir members come from the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul communities of Minnesota.

My organization actually has two choirs: a Con Brio choir for girls in third through seventh or eighth grade, and Partners in Praise Girls Choir for girls in eighth grade through high school. In the Con Brio choir, I accept all girls who audition. I developed the Con Brio choir at the suggestion of PIP choir members in order to give younger girls an opportunity to sample a disciplined music style, to train them into the habits of the senior choir, and to experience the joy of singing many styles of music. This opportunity has become even more valuable as funding for music and other arts programs, especially for youth, is cut in our schools and throughout the Twin Cities. We would not to be able maintain our choir without a constant source of new members. Our main method of recruitment is through word-of-mouth, which includes both social media and referrals by people who observed or participated in our program. We seek girls who love to sing and who want to perform in a stimulating choral climate that has a higher level of commitment. We accept girls who are at different levels in their vocal abilities. We hold auditions for both choirs annually, beginning in August. 2. To expose choir members to a stimulating variety of musical styles and songs with a multicultural flavor, which are integrated into their rehearsals, performances, and tours. Music has been my life since childhood. During my sophomore year in college, my professor, Dr. Mark Aamot, arranged a three-month European choir tour that took us on a journey to seven countries. It was my first time on an airplane and being away from my family. The tour was lifechanging for me; it opened my eyes and my heart in ways I had never imagined. The world didn’t seem so scary anymore. Most importantly, I found that people all over the world want the same good things for their families. Inspired by those teachers who showed me the way, I subconsciously dedicated my life to using


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music as a tool to build bridges between people and cultures, and to empower the children I would teach. Perhaps the most underutilized resource in the world is the abilities of girls and women. My goal is to empower young girls to find themselves, their confidence, and their potential through music. Finding the music that I use to inspire girls and stimulate them is the fun part! My repertoire choices are found through connections with composers from all around the world, educational Children and Youth Choral festivals, music conventions and workshops, and by networking with other choir directors and professionals. I search for great ideas everywhere! PIP has performed songs in at least a dozen different languages. As a proud member of ACDA and MMEA, I am constantly exposed to new ideas and techniques by attending their workshops and by watching outstanding choral performances from all divisions. In an effort to extend ourselves we have commissioned original choral music for the choir twice. World-renowned Canadian composer, Stephen Hatfield, composed “Job, Job,” based on the Old Testament, in gospel style for our 10th anniversary. The 2004 world-premiere performance was held in the volcanic Canary Islands at the dramatic Auditorio de Tenerife, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the International Society Of Music Educators. Currently, Linda Tutas Haugen is composing an original work for us to premiere next year, during our 20th anniversary season. We can’t wait to see what she composes! In short, there is no limit to the resources we employ to locate a diverse selection of music. Another thing we embrace is the variety of cultures that our students represent. We have had several language immersion students. We have had foreign exchange students, students from private, public, parochial, charter, and home schools. Each girl brings fresh and original talents, energy, and spirit to us. I incorporate the unique backgrounds of my members into my planning, which informs my choices, thus creating more opportunities to provide a variety of musical styles and cultures. Choir tours are perhaps the most important way we empower PIP members and expose them to the world. While on tour they are able to interact personally with young people from other choirs, states, countries, and cultures. They see that there are different ways to do things. Some of the most valuable experiences during a choir tour are the impromptu performances. When we were in Montecatini, Italy, six PIP members began singing in harmony outside of a lovely, quaint ristorante on the mountainside. Upon hearing them, the owner rushed out to listen. He was moved to tears

by the beauty of their music. He rewarded them by giving them each a bottle of his own, home-grown, pressed, olive oil – of course after having them perform another song. Things like this happen all the time on tour! 3. To provide choir members with the thrill of performance as a reward for working together as a team in a positive social environment, and to recognize each individual as a unique member. Whether it is upcoming holiday concerts, a trip to somewhere in the United States, or a trip overseas at the end of the year, we try to provide a goal for choir members so that they can experience the thrill of performance as a compelling reward. By creating an internally positive social environment, the venue becomes a place where the girls can receive as much from their audiences as they give. By creating the positive social environment within the choir itself, the venue becomes superfluous. We could be at a children’s hospital, the Mall of America, or at the Sydney Opera House. We tell the girls we are bringing the gift of our music and our friendship to our audience. We experience the joy of sharing those gifts with others. However, before all of this beauty can occur the groundwork must be laid. Rehearsals are where we find the passion in our music making. We only meet once a week for two hours at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis, so we have to plan our time wisely. Members are expected to come each week with their music learned. This opens up some rehearsal time for our members to share personal “stuff” about how their week is going, to work in small groups on music, dance, sign language, solos, percussion grooves, and sometimes skits. “Talk time” with Mrs. Fahey is a time when we all relax and share our thoughts with each other. This helps create our connection. Girls will sing better if they have a personal relationship with the other girls in their section. I like to get past the notes on the page and discuss the meaning of the text, composer, history of the music etc. I encourage these discussions to be lively and I affirm each singer’s input. There is never a wrong answer. I model the consideration and respect for everyone that I expect the members to exhibit. 4. To empower choir members to become strong individuals and contributors to their communities and the arts through the cooperation skills, professionalism, and focus they acquire as a result of being a choir member.

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One of the most important ways we accomplish this is by delegating responsibilities to girls. A PIP member serves as a choir assistant for Con Brio. We have many other leadership positions such as section leaders, instrumentalists, soloists, dance captains, sign language signers, actors, choreographers, and student conductors. Because we integrate movement into our songs, we have even used girls’ gymnastic abilities. Kids love to move! Contributions resulting from these opportunities strengthen the girls and add originality to the choir. The total respect each girl has, and shows, to her team is nurtured from day one. I remind them quite often that when someone is speaking they should look at that person and give them their total attention. This is one example of the many common courtesies I teach and reinforce. Most importantly, I listen to my choir members and often use their ideas. Choir is a voluntary activity, and stakeholders are more likely to persevere. Some of our best ideas come from our girls. Being asked for input makes the girls feel valued and empowered. We also try to support the girls and their other unrelated interests such as sports, other music, and theater, etc. I have attended countless performances of PIP members at their various schools. 5. To support the continuing life of the organization through fundraisers, and through individual, concert, and business donations. No airplane can fly without the continuous power of its engine. No nonprofit group can last without continuous financial support. Our “meat and potatoes” is our tuition. Parents/guardians are expected to pay a monthly tuition. (Though tuition is not part of our mission, it is necessary.) However, we have a sliding scale based upon need and financial ability to pay. No girl is denied the opportunity to be in our choir because of her family’s inability to pay. We raise funds by selling plants, wreaths, and candy. We also accept donations for our CDs. We request free-will donations at some concerts, request donations when we do holiday concerts for public or private groups, and include donation information on our website, www.partnersinpraise. org. We are now trying to step up our grant writing. Partners


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in Praise Girls Choir is a 501(c)(3) corporation so that donors can make tax-deductible donations. I like to think of my choirgirls as flowers in a garden. Each flower brings a unique beauty. We nurture each one individually and give them the sustenance they need to grow to their full potential. The mission statement is our “gardening guide.” If we refer back to it often to guide our actions, we can empower young girls to find themselves, their confidence, and their potential through music. Julia Fahey is the founder and Artistic Director of Partners in Praise Girls Choir. In addition to PIP, she teaches at Convent of the Visitation School and St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. She directs the Children’s Choir at Peace Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. Linda Tutas Haugen’s daughter, Kristina, was a PIP member for six years. Linda has written music for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental genres, including concerti, chamber and full orchestral works, opera and choral music. Whether by ethnicity, religious affiliations, or educational institutions they attend, such as Spanish Immersion, I try to make sure we perform or include something that incorporates many of those backgrounds. I create soundfile tutorials through “Garage Band” that members can upload and use to learn their parts at their convenience. Garage Band is a Mac program. One of the ways I listen to and empower my girls is through our annual talent show and fundraiser. Parents and their friends come to a dinner and any girl that wants to may perform what they choose to perform, albeit after they have auditioned for me and considered suggestions for improvement. This is an opportunity for non-soloists and multi-talented individuals to exhibit their diversity of abilities.


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Guest Feature choruses and change: culture counts!

How chorus leaders can use the principles of organizational culture to implement change and get the best results for their organizations Choruses face a multitude of challenges in today’s dynamic arts environment. Although many of these challenges emanate from outside the organization, others emerge from within. On the surface, these internal challenges may seem to be caused by factors such as the characteristics of singers, financial needs, or fear of change. But often there is a less obvious underlying cause. Consider the following scenarios: Dr. David costanza Associate Professor Of Organizational Sciences And Phychology The George Washington University

• The music director of a small community chorus decides he wants to perform pieces that require more singers. He holds auditions and quickly doubles the size of the chorus with an influx of younger members. While the group is now able to perform the pieces, a rift quickly develops between some long-standing members and the new singers. The new singers, the long-timers say, are self-centered and focused too much on things other than the chorus. The young singers counter that the older ones are too set in their ways and are not open to new methods of rehearsing and performing music. Some older singers leave the group, some younger ones are disaffected, and the entire expansion is deemed a failure. • At a board retreat, the trustees, music director, and executive director of an independent, volunteer symphonic chorus discuss and agree that the group needs to increase revenues. As part of their effort to boost ticket sales, the board decides to require all singers to purchase 10 tickets for each concert to sell to their friends and family. The singers do not take ownership of the purchase plan, refusing to sell tickets, and the board, not having any enforcement mechanism, backs down. • The music director of a mid-sized chorus wants to improve the overall artistic quality of the ensemble. Over a period of years, she lobbies


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the board to change from a non-auditioned to an auditioned chorus. The board, concerned about the potential turnover and disenfranchisement of the singers, solicits feedback and receives a steady stream of opposition to the initiative from the current singers. The singers’ position is that the chorus is just fine and that auditions demean the contributions of the current members. In each of these three scenarios, the chorus faces some sort of problem. On the surface, the problems appear to be very different, but the underlying cause of all three problems might be the same – a misalignment of the chorus’s culture with the change implemented. So what is organizational culture and how does it affect the success of organizational change? What can choruses, their members, boards, and artistic leaders do to make sure that the changes they propose are in alignment with their culture, and how can they use culture to the organization’s advantage?

What Is Organizational Culture?

Organizational culture is one of those phenomena that people seem to intuitively understand but have a hard time explaining and defining. For the purposes of this article, organizational culture is defined as: Shared meanings, beliefs, values, and assumptions that guide and are reinforced by organizational behavior. Smaller organizations may have a single culture while larger more complex organizations might have one main culture and several sub-cultures. A popular model of organizational culture by Edgar Schein identifies three levels: Basic assumptions: These assumptions lie at the core of culture. They are the common

understandings among the members about the purpose of the organization, the way things are done, and why. These assumptions are not directly observable and may be difficult to identify and define. For a chorus, an example would be when everyone knows and agrees that the chorus is a small, volunteer group that exists to perform Baroque music. Espoused values: These values are the expressed beliefs about what the organization believes in, what it should be doing, and what it hopes to accomplish. These values are usually represented in mission statements, goals, objectives, and operating procedures. For a chorus, an example would be a mission statement such as: “The chorus is dedicated to the performance of Baroque music.” Artifacts: These are the observable manifestations of the culture. They are tangible and measurable and include logos, attire, repertoire, documents, and physical layout. Artifacts are fairly easy to observe and measure but may have multiple causes, only one of which is culture. For our Baroque chorus, examples would be that the chorus performs only Baroque music, dresses in period attire, and does not pay its members for rehearsals or performances. Organizational culture is important because it creates and reinforces certain values and norms, and, importantly, suppresses non-conforming, contradictory values and manifestations. In particular, culture provides meaning about the organization and its purpose to members; guides internal decisionmaking, structuring, and planning; and creates the conditions for adaptation to changing environments. In the example of the Baroque chorus, the culture provides meaning and understanding to members: “We are in a Baroque chorus and as such that is the type of music, performances, venues, and audiences we can expect.” Culture guides the decisionmaking and planning: “We are going to perform these pieces that will require this level of fundraising.” And finally, culture creates the conditions for adaptation: “Our concertgoers are changing and so we need to try new ways of attracting them rather than changing who we are and what we do.”

Sources of Culture

Given the model above, it is clear that there are multiple levels of culture and that at its core, the basic assumptions, it is deeply ingrained and strongly held by its members. Research backs this up, finding that organizational culture is a relatively stable and long-lived phenomenon that is fairly resistant to change while simultaneously being very important to the organization and its success. Thus, understanding its origins is important for an organization trying to change.

There are three basic sources of organizational culture. First, the broader societal culture in which the organization exists has an impact. Traditionally, societal culture has been synonymous with national culture and the country in which an organization exists has a substantial impact on its members, structure, and how it is run. For example, individuals in countries that are higher in individualism prefer a more looselyconnected organization where self-reliance is rewarded while those in collectivistic societies generally take a group-oriented perspective, preferring more tight-knit, interrelated organizations. A second source of culture is the type of organization. While there is a great deal of variation between organizations, nonprofits tend to be more similar to each other and generally different than governmental or business organizations. For example, most choirs have two CEOs, as it were – someone in charge of the artistic side and someone managing the organization. This results in shared leadership and responsibility that is reflected in the organization’s structure, communication patterns, and goals. Finally, and perhaps the most important source of culture, is the organization’s founder. The person who starts the organization plays a substantial role in the establishment of its culture. He or she is responsible for setting the original vision, bringing in the first members, and deciding how the organization will be run. A conductor passionate about the works of Bach and his contemporaries might found a group dedicated to their performance on period instruments. Such a mission would have a lasting and ongoing impact on the membership, performances, and structure of the organization.

Diagnosing and Aligning Culture

Numerous books and articles have been written on how to diagnose organizational culture. Techniques such as reviews of official documents, observation, interviews, and surveys all can be used to help identify the assumptions, values, and artifacts that make up culture. For a chorus, culture might be diagnosed by reviewing programs and organizational documents, sitting in on board meetings and rehearsals, interviewing staff, and surveying choristers. When the elements of the culture have been described, then the organization can turn to addressing strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities, challenges and problems. Once an organization’s culture has been identified and described, the key to determining what challenges it faces is alignment. To what extent do the assumptions, values, and

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


artifacts line up and support each other? Do the espoused values reflect the basic assumptions? Are the artifacts an appropriate manifestation of the assumptions and values? And do any proposed changes line up with all three levels?

In a chorus context, there are additional factors to consider. For example, many choruses might have artistic directors who have, or feel they should have, full and final say over matters such as selecting singers and choosing the repertoire. On other matters, such as a requirement that singers Using the scenarios outlined previously, in each case there purchase tickets or decisions about whether to tour or not, is some misalignment between one or more of the levels of singers might rightfully expect to have greater involvement. culture and a change they tried to implement. For example, Therefore, choruses that want the small community chorus may to undertake some change will have had a long history of being need to decide what level of The most important source of culture is the just that, small and communityinvolvement is appropriate (and organization's founder. He or she is responsible for based (assumptions). Their aligned) given the type of change mission statement (values) and setting the original vision, bringing in the first members, and the individuals involved. their approach to rehearsals, and deciding how the organization will be run. repertoire, and membership Keeping that in mind, and using (artifacts) all reflected that histhe small, community chorus tory. To change the nature of the organization to a larger one example, below are the steps for diagnosing and changing the that performs different kinds of music challenged the culture, organization that are aligned with its existing culture: and the differing views and approaches of the newer singers Identify the issue, challenge, opportunity, or probcontributed to misalignment of the values and artifacts, causing lem: The music director of the small community chorus feels the clash. the need to expand in size and repertoire. For the non-auditioned mid-size chorus, there is a misalignIdentify change agents: Given the chorus’s community, ment between the assumptions and values (a volunteer volunteer nature, the current singers should be informed of organization with non-auditioned members) and the proposed the music director’s interest and their thoughts and feedback requirement of auditions (values and artifacts). solicited prior to a decision. This does not mean that the singers have the final say, but that Implementing Change their voices will be heard. The There are two broad approaches board also needs to be involved that could have been used when It is far easier to keep an organization culture in in the discussion in case there trying to implement the desired alignment with sympathetic changes than it is to get are budgetary or other goverchanges. First, they could have nance issues. This approach is in tried to change the organizational back into alignment after conflict has arisen. alignment with the organization’s culture before changing the repculture. ertoire, fundraising, or audition procedures. However, since culture is generally difficult to Diagnosis: Is the underlying issue a decreasing audience, change, and the longer it has been around the harder it is to boredom of the singers and music director with the same old change, a better option would be to implement changes that repertoire, competition from a new chorus, a recently created are in alignment with their current culture. It is far easier to grant opportunity, or something else? Clearly diagnosing the keep an organizational culture in alignment with sympathetic problem will help direct the group towards a solution. Interchanges than it is to get it back into alignment after conflict views with staff, board members, focus groups with audience has arisen. members, and surveys of current singers could all be used to help diagnosis the issue. There are numerous models for how to go about changing organizations. One commonly used approach is called Goals: Once the underlying issue, challenge, opportunity, or planned change, or a systematic effort to alter organizational problem is identified, develop specific, desired objectives. In systems and structures. In most models of planned change, this case, the goal is to increase the size of the chorus through one of the hallmarks is involvement of key decisionmakers additional members such that it can perform new pieces. and implementers. In a business setting, this might mean that Once again, it is important that singers and key constituenthe CEO or owner would need to involve both management cies be involved to the greatest extent possible in developing and employees in the change process. Such involvement might the goals. For example, involving singers, board members, and range from simply being informed of the need for change all staff in discussions about identifying potential new members the way to fully involving them in the design, development, and and strategies for integrating them into the chorus would help implementation of any change effort. increase support and buy-in and keep the solution in alignment with the organization’s culture.


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Implementation: Having obtained the buy-in of the current singers and board, and having thoughtfully planned for the influx of new members, the music director can audition and select new singers. Evaluation and feedback: Once the new singers have been selected and the new repertoire is performed, the board members, music director, staff, and singers need to be involved in an ongoing assessment of the change both to make sure it met the desired objective but also that it did so without creating any additional problems or cultural misalignments.

Supporting Change

Everyone in the organization has a role to play when it comes to organizational change. Boards are responsible for the overarching direction of the organization. The administrative and artistic staffs are responsible for identifying issues, soliciting participation, developing solutions, and implementing the changes. Singers are responsible for participating in any information gathering, making the effort to understand the reasons and need for any changes, and either supporting the resulting changes or at least not blocking their implementation or effectiveness. In the case where some individuals remain resistant to the change and refuse to go along, the chorus and its lead-

ership will need to decide whether the change is important enough that it is worth the risk of losing those individuals. Keep in mind two key aspects of organizational change. First, people are generally resistant to change and the best way to overcome that resistance is to involve them in the process of change. Second, culture is a powerful organizational phenomenon and it is easier to implement change within the context of that culture than it is to try and adapt the culture to fit the change. It is possible to change culture, but it takes a great deal of effort and an extended period of time. If the problems facing the organization are truly caused by a dysfunctional culture, then changing it may be the only option (and that is a topic for another article). However, many challenges facing choruses are caused by a misalignment between various aspects of the organization and its culture. It is much easier to deal with the misalignment directly than it is to change the culture. © 2012 Chorus America,, reprinted by permission. This article was originally published in the Summer 2012 issue of The Voice magazine. The author, David Costanza, is an associate professor of organizational sciences and psychology at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. In addition to his academic and consulting work, he is a singer and a former board member of the Cathedral Choral Society.

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Legacy An Interview with

Richard (Dick) Edstrom

By Daryl Timmer Director of Choirs, Woodbury High School Former student of Richard Edstrom (mentor)

Dick edstrom

Richard (Dick) Edstrom is a graduate of Northwestern College, (Roseville, MN) and MacPhail College of Music (Minneapolis, MN). He received his Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota. Dick’s teaching career began at Lincoln Junior High School (Minneapolis) teaching 9th Grade English, 7th & 8th Grade General Music and 9th Grade Choir. He left Minneapolis to teach in the Robbinsdale School District (281). During his tenure in District 281, his assignments included traveling between 9 elementary schools teaching band (2 years), teaching band and vocal music at Hosterman Junior High (4 years), teaching band, choir and theory at Cooper High School (2 years) and teaching choir at Armstrong High School (8 years). Dick left Armstrong High School to become Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northwestern College (Roseville, MN), a position he held for 8 years before returning to Armstrong High School where he taught for 9 more years until his retirement in 1995. Along with his teaching career, Dick has been significantly involved in church music ministry. He was hired for his first church job after finishing his freshman year at Northwestern. Throughout his career, Dick has held various positions such as choir director, tenor soloist, section leader, assistant conductor, interim Minister of Music, and Minister of Worship. He served congregations at Fourth Baptist (Minneapolis), First Baptist (Minneapolis), Grace Church (Roseville), Grace Church (Edina), and Mount Olivet Lutheran Church (Minneapolis). At Fourth Baptist and First Baptist, not only did he direct the choirs, but also with his wife, Zoma, developed choir schools for grades K-12. During this time, Dick and Zoma also traveled


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extensively singing church and college artist series concerts, leading crusade choirs, and singing with the Billy Graham Association. Born out of his belief that every student should become proficient in sight-singing, Dick developed two sightsinging books entitled “The Independent Singer”. At the 1978 North Central ACDA convention, Dick presented a session on his new book and his Armstrong High School Choir performed in concert. While at Northwestern College, Dick served as liaison between the college and its radio network, and produced a one-hour syndicated radio program featuring classical music entitled “The Music Hour." Dick was active as a clinician and guest conductor working with district choir festivals, MSHSL contests, ACDA and MMEA conference workshops, all-state choirs, and church choirs. Daryl Timmer: Who was influential in fostering your early love of music? Dick Edstrom: I grew up in a home that greatly valued music. My father was a Baptist pastor, tenor soloist, and song leader, and my mother was a pianist/organist. I was the DJ for our home. Each evening my father would ask me to choose a playlist from our collection of 78 rpm classical records that would be played during dinner.

A couple of my favorites I played were Liszt’s Le Préludes and recordings by Swedish tenor, Jussi Björling. Harry P. Opel, former director of the Minnehaha Academy choirs and 1983 FMC recipient, also had a major impact on my life. I heard a concert by the Minnehaha Singers and knew I wanted to be part of that choir. I had the privilege of singing under Harry for four years. I thrived under his direction and demand for excellence. My love of classical choral repertoire and major choral works grew as a result of Opel’s programming. DT: Will you tell me about your journey to becoming a music teacher/choral director? DE: Because my Kuder test results showed a high interest in mechanics, I had originally planned to pursue an engineering degree. The engineering scholarships I was offered didn’t compare to the full one-year scholarship for music offered by Northwestern College. I chose to attend NWC and sang four years under W. B. Berntsen in the choir, and studied voice with Oliver Mogck. After graduating with a B.M. in music I went on to seminary. While in seminary, I realized that music, not preaching, was my passion and started working toward my master’s degree at the U of M. After realizing that we wanted to share our love of music with children, both Zoma and I went back to school to earn our teaching certificates. DT: What was your first teaching job and please share a highlight of that year? DE: My first job was teaching 9th Grade English, 7th & 8th Grade General Music, and 9th Grade Choir at Lincoln Junior High School in Minneapolis. I remember C. Wesley Anderson (1977 FMC) coming to me and asking me to direct a mass choir at the all-city junior high choir festival. I asked if he was serious – I was just a first year director and there were many veteran directors in the district! What would they think? He assured me that he wanted me to direct. Through that experience, I knew this is what I had to do. DT: Who were the choirs and conductors that inspired you in those early years? DE: I was inspired by my mentor, Harry P. Opel (Minnehaha Academy), as well as by O. B. Dahle (Minneapolis Southwest), Robert Shaw, and Paul J. Christiansen (Concordia Moorhead).

DT: What were some of the ideas you implemented to build or recruit students into your program? DE: I believe the greatest recruitment tool is the student. Kids want to be part of something good. When they know it’s good, they stay and tell their friends. I would also talk to individual students and encourage them to join, but I never pressured students to join or stay in the program. My philosophy to let students know they were an important part of the program and not hold it over them if they needed to leave for some reason. I always let them know that when they wanted to come back the choir would be there for them. I also never made kids choose choir over another classes or sports. I had a wonderful working relationship with my colleagues in the music department, and we’d work it out so that students could be in both band or orchestra and choir. DT: How did you conduct your auditions? DE: I auditioned all of my students individually. I would test their tonal memory, beginning with a 2 note patterns and building to 3, 4, 5 etc. There was a sight reading component, a range check and then I’d have them sing a familiar song such as My Country ‘Tis of Thee. I had only one auditioned 54-voice choir. My Chamber groups were auditioned. There was always room in the program for anyone that wanted to sing. My thought was that if you were not a good singer, I’d make you one. DT: Is there a choir and/or a conductor that continue to inspire you today? DE: Jim Rodde (Iowa State Singers). It’s very gratifying to see my former student teacher achieve such success in his career and see and hear the level a musicianship and beautiful music his choirs make. Of course, Anton Armstrong (St. Olaf Choir), and my former choir, under Tim Sawyer (Northwestern College Choir) are right up there, too. DT: What are your thoughts on selecting repertoire and where did you find music? DE: Variety and balance is the key. Students think they know what they want, but I always approached it from the perspective of: “I know better what you can do than you do. Trust me and down the road you’ll realize what you can do.” Programming for your audience is just as important as programming for your students or for your peers. When performing works in a foreign language, being a purist is good, but not always practical. Choral music is all about communication. Vocal music tells a story, and if diction is not good in

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any language, communication doesn’t happen. When you lose a consonant you lose a word, lose a word you lose a sentence, lose a sentence you lose a concept, lose a concept and there’s no communication. So, there are times when using a translation is appropriate and necessary, especially in the church setting. I think is it essential to program a variety of styles of music as well as music from other cultures. I never programmed chronologically. I used ‘shock’ programming, that is, something old followed by something new, something loud followed by something soft, etc. I looked to several Canadian, Mexican, and Argentinean composers as well as European composers. I also commissioned nine works for my choirs, three by Robert Wetzler, three by Leland Sateren, and one from former student, Tom Eaton. I programmed pieces I discovered in the many recordings I purchased, from ACDA workshops, reading sessions and conventions, and in the early years at the Schmitt Music Reading sessions. DT: What would be one of your most memorable choral experiences? DE: I sang tenor with the Minnesota Bach Society under David LaBerge. His enthusiasm and skill inspired me to do the same with my choirs. Then, of course, singing under my favorite choral director, Robert Shaw. Through auditions, I was selected to be one of 70 singers to work with Shaw on the performance of the Brahms Requiem at the 1973 National ACDA Conference in Kansas City. It was an amazing experience to sing under a master conductor. It was an exciting new experience to sing the Brahms in mixed formation. Another memorable Robert Shaw "experience (before singing under him)," happened at a cafe where I was eating breakfast by myself. A gentleman wearing fatigues approached me with a tray, and asked if the other seat was available. I said of course, at which point he said, “Hi, I’m Bob Shaw.” After I closed my jaw, we had a wonderful conversation, and I learned that great conductors were real people. DT: What were some of the most memorable performances you witnessed at an ACDA event? DE: Three come to mind immediately: The Swedish Radio Choir’s performance at the National Convention in Nashville (1983), the US Army Chorus performance at the National Convention in Dallas (1977), and the experience I’ve mentioned about singing the Brahms under Shaw at the National Convention in Kansas City (1973). DT: How have you been involved in ACDA?


Star of the North • Fall 2012

DE: I was at the re-organizational meeting of the ACDA-MN. I’d seen a notice about the meeting while attending MMEA conference. Over the course of my career, I served a total of 8 years on the Executive Committee, served as ACDA Treasurer, Metro Chair and a Facilities Chair for the state convention. I served on the original FMC Endowment Committee (1996) and continued to serve on that committee until 2010. DT: What has your involvement in ACDA-MN meant to you? DE: It’s the most important group that I’ve belonged to. I’ve gained so much from being a part of this organization. I have gained a wealth of knowledge in choral literature and vocal and choral technique, inspiration from the success of colleagues and conference interest sessions, and camaraderie with fellow directors. DT: What have you seen as positive changes/additions to ACDA-MN? DE: I feel the establishment of student chapters has been a wonderful addition to our organization, as well as the Summer Dialogues. The inclusion of Pick Six in the Star of the North and the Star of the North itself are invaluable resources for directors. The establishment of the FMC Endowment Fund and the scholarships it provides are crucial in supporting choral directors. DT: What has been your guiding principle throughout your career? DE: I have always wanted my students to experience the joy of singing great music just as I have, and I’ve wanted them to have an even better experience than I have had. I focused on empowering them and encouraging them to be the best they could be, rather than to be “the best." I believe that the students are the most important things, more than my choir or my career. I learned from my dad. He would say, “Remember Dick, it’s not about you, it’s about the people you work with.” DT: What words of encouragement or advice would you give to emerging choral conductors of today? DE: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” (Henry Ford) Don’t be discouraged when you have to lead them, kicking and screaming, into excellence and beauty. I would also encourage directors to train students to use their innate musicianship and unity as a choir to make music when they sing. One more thing, remember that the greatest musical experiences most often happen in the rehearsal room, not in the concert hall.

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The Influence of St. Olaf Choir Membership on Minnesota Choral Directors, Part 2 Regarding the Jennings years, Marie Dymit has this recollection: "One story that KJ used to tell I will occasionally use with my own groups, especially if they are not too willing to get fussy with the smallest details in a piece of music - details that would likely be missed by most audience members who would be listening. KJ would tell us about the gargoyles above the cathedrals in Europe, and how we could look

up at them from street level, and never know if the top portion of the sculpture (invisible to us) was done or not. We wouldn't know, but 'God would know!' I can still see KJ's piercing eyes looking at us as he said those three words, and I love to tell that story to my students. I can't do the KJ look nearly as well, but my point gets across. And then the fussy musical details usually fall into place!" Marie was not alone in recalling this illustration. Anton Armstrong, Ralph Johnson, David Mennicke, and Karen Werdahl also remember it vividly and have used it to good advantage. "Is there another choral conductor alive that displays a more gentle conducting gesture than Dr. Jennings?" Marie continues. "There was such clarity that singing for him was EASY. "The 'choir as a family' feeling that was so special in the St. Olaf Choir is something I try to instill into my own groups. If one of my singers doesn't feel valued, then I'm not doing my job fully." Bob Scholz was one of a few respondents that sang under two of the four conductors. He recalls, "Ken Jennings added to the repertory with a wider variety and instrumental colors. His approach was that of an art song singer and piano soloist with a flexibility of line and rhythm and beautiful shaping. Vocalizations (as in his Sing Legato book) were based mostly on being musical and building musicianship." Anton Armstrong was also influenced by the art song connection – inspired by singers like Elly Ameling and Renée Fleming and their expressive phrasing. He speaks of Jennings' work as "essential in forming my understanding of choral sound and choral musicianship. His emphasis on finding the most beautiful sound these young singers could make (without trying to make them sound like older adults) and using that quality of sound to convey a powerful religious and spiritual message made a deep impression. Also conveyed by KJ was a sense of servanthood, humility, and becoming a vessel for a message (which is one of the qualities Anton's own singers attribute to him). Like Olaf, KJ continually stressed listening – being in constant touch with those around one.


Star of the North • Fall 2012

Jennings is remembered for having expanded both the sound and the repertoire of the choir. He once commented that he "uncorked the vibrato bottle" and then spent the next twenty years "trying to get it back on”. Anton was thrilled with the way Jennings "let Bach dance," and the way he took as much care with "The Little Drummer Boy" as with a Bach motet. Of repertoire introduced by Jennings, the works of Penderecki were especially memorable to Armstrong. But he also appreciated being introduced to the Christiansen tradition. "Something can be simple (but not simplistic!) and still have great potential." "Every night of performing with Kenneth Jennings on St. Olaf Choir tour was special," says René Clausen, "because his interpretation was never on ‘auto-pilot.’ You never knew when he might change something. One had the feeling that he was reinventing the music into fresh performance every night." "For me, the most significant influence singing in the St. Olaf Choir has had on my work, both as a choral conductor and as a composer," writes Ralph Johnson, "is in the way we paid such great attention to the smallest details of the music. With Kenneth Jennings, it wasn't enough just to sing with unified vowels and in tune. Those were just the starting points. We spent a lot of time on small things: the lift of a phrase, subtle gradations in dynamics, even text painting. There was great richness in the rehearsal process, and we got to the point where the whole choir would respond to the conductor's smallest hand or even facial gesture with a common understanding of what was being asked of us."

"His conducting style was so fluid, it was a joy to sing for him. I don't remember feeling any vocal stress singing for him, and as a 1st soprano that doesn't always happen. I think I enjoyed his rehearsals more than performances. As a music ed. major, I was in awe of his pacing, planning, and ability to break down some really tough literature into manageable pieces. “[As a result of my St. Olaf Choir experience], I always expect the most of all musicians, regardless of their age, and as a teacher I hope to give my students performance experiences they'll never forget." Mark Johnson was privileged to sing first under Jennings, then under Armstrong. "The influence you see and hear today in the Minnesota Boychoir is a direct reflection of my studies with Jennings and Armstrong," he writes. "They both were completely aware of the voice, its needs, its health and the best way to use it. They treated the voice as an individual instrument, one to be careful with and to nurture, and they both showed great respect and collaboration with the rest of the voice faculty and music department at Olaf. "Kenneth Jennings and Anton Armstrong gave me an even greater gift - the ability to show and care and nurture the human soul. They took time and interest in the PERSON that makes up the musician and singer. Working with Jennings and Armstrong made you want to be a better person, not only to them, but to yourself, those around you and the community at large."

“[Jennings'] soft hands and gentle gesture could create the most amazing sounds from an ensemble – something so desperately quiet that the audience had to strain to hear, to the most joyous, full sound an ensemble could make. This esoteric way of making music was Kenneth Jennings David Mennicke cites Jennings' "passion to work on only heightened when Anton took control. He certainly minute detail to achieve excellence" (referring to the "gargoyle knew what he wanted and how to get what he wanted from his story" mentioned above). "To do things to the best of your abilstrong hands and conducting style. It was and continues to be ity, to stand firmly on foundational principles, and to do so grahis uncanny way of complete control without being in control; ciously (without histrionics)." Mennicke also appreciated that his way of being the vessel through which all of this beauti"after graduation he was so kind and supportive of my work as ful music is created. Like Jennings, he has the ability to show a conductor. I know that many of my choral colleagues have gentleness and strength, passion and hard work, tears and joy found the same delight when he has expressed pride in our as a teacher, educator and conductor from the podium, but work when we have gathered for choral events." also as a friend and companion in the world of music to all who come into contact." Karen Werdahl notes, "I was pushed to stretch my musicianship skills higher than I'd ever been before. I will never forget Luke Warren echoes many of Mark's sentiments about ArmDr. Jennings talking about leaving our college troubles outside strong: "Excellence in the choral art form is not a pursuit of the choir room in our book bags, as they simply weren't needed technical perfection, but instead the constant search for ways or helpful in the rehearsal room." She then recalls the "gargoyle to use singing to communicate love, hope, and compassion for speech.” "He also talked a lot about the St. Olaf choir 'belongthe betterment and fulfillment of the human experience. The ing' to all of us, not the conductor. lessons I learned from the St. Olaf Choir help keep me cen-

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


tered on what is REALLY important for my students to take away from choral music." Luke goes on to describe the amazing tour experience when the choir performed on both coasts of the US in 48 hours (from Newark out to an ACDA Convention in LA and back to New York for the Carnegie Hall concert of the regular tour). Of the ACDA convention he recalls, “I literally do not have words to describe it other than to say it was an out of body experience for every member of that choir and the audience as well. "Dr. Armstrong is such an incredible pedagogue, both as conductor and vocalist. He has such a deep and thorough understanding of the technical side of the art form that it provides us students with an incredible knowledge base. I was constantly carrying around a notebook and writing down little quips he would say, or warm-ups, or how to approach a certain phrase. Dr. Armstrong is not a cookie cutter teacher, and even though his technical knowledge is vast, it never shackles him to one way of doing things. He has an uncanny ability to draw out of people what is needed for the moment. To have the opportunity to watch him do that every day is a pretty incredible opportunity, one I am certainly a better teacher because of."

setting of O Little Town of Bethlehem for the Christmas Festival. I remember that he gave us one note from the piano, looked at the sopranos, and began. No one came in at first; we were all nervous for them because the melody is so exposed. He gave a quick, kind word of encouragement and tried again with more satisfying results. We never received another pitch from the piano for the next thirty minutes or so. It was amazing to work with this icon and experience his energy, flow, and passion for the music. The experience also modeled something else that was really powerful: Anton stepped back and brought his predecessor and teacher in to lead us. To see the conductor of the St. Olaf choir give up the reins and observe for an afternoon sent a great message about what strong leadership really means. "Spirit and community. These are a tremendous part of the St. Olaf Choir experience. The more time I have invested into the life of the ensemble and the lives of my students (and not chasing notes), the farther we have been able to go together in our music making and in our growth as human beings. We have a rare opportunity, and I would argue, responsibility, in our vocation to foster the whole person, and this is one of the most important lessons I learned from the St. Olaf Choir."

Anton Armstrong stressed above all else Jason Etten sang in the choir as a junior and the contributions of other St. Olaf music senior, but also sang in the Viking Chorus staff in what the St. Olaf Choir becomes – and Cantorei and played violin in the St. Olaf From FMC's colleague Oscar Overby, who Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra. He reminded us that "you are never so close to cites all of these as having "pushed my musiheaven as when you are part of a chord in cal skills to new levels. “I remember Dr. Armtune," to Paul Ensrud and Robert Scholz who strong saying that we don't want to do things annually programmed choral/orchestral masas people expect them to be or they will be terworks with the Chapel Choir, to Alice bored as listeners. We must find ways to use Larson, whose Manitou Singers' tone quality Anton Armstrong tools such as breath, phrase, tone, and articuinspired all her colleagues, to John Ferguson lation to make the music and text come alive. I credit and his emphasis on hymns, to Sigrid Johnson who him with letting his students into his life to teach us about being has done amazing work training the freshman women, as well as complete human beings. the instrumental conductors and all the private voice and instru"His sweeping gestures of legato, his hand shape and cuing techniques are all part of how I move in class every day." Of Armstrong's repertoire, Etten writes, “City Called Heaven and Past Life Melodies by Sarah Hopkins are two pieces that 'went viral' in the choral world sense. They have been repeated in many performances since. These pieces and styles are examples of music and programming that Dr. Armstrong brought to the St. Olaf Choir tradition that didn't just change what the St. Olaf Choir was singing but what choirs all over the country were singing. Christopher Aspaas, who now directs the St. Olaf Chapel Choir and Viking Chorus, recalls, "One of my most 'awe-filled' moments was when Anton brought Dr. Jennings back to ‘the Hill’ for a rehearsal, because we were preparing Dr. Jennings'


Star of the North • Fall 2012

mental teachers. As Armstrong insists, "The St. Olaf Choir does not exist in a vacuum." Aspaas affirms, "The biggest impact was the environment. St. Olaf College is a place where exploration of spirituality and faith through music and word was not only encouraged, but in many ways, expected. The opportunity to delve so deeply into these things, all the while focusing on musical excellence, forged the foundation of my work as a musician, educator, conductor and singer." Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series on the influence of the St. Olaf Choir on choral music in Minnesota authored by ACDA-MN member Ronnie Nelson, St. Olaf class of 1949. Ronnie was the recipient of the F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985. To view the first article from the Spring 2012 issue, visit

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From the Field To Inspire and Support a Community of Choral Musicians

Paula holmberg

Metro West District Chair Minnetonka High School

Could this be your mission statement, as you prepare to begin working with new choirs (communities of choral musicians) this Fall? As an ACDA member, it IS your mission statement and serves as foundation for ACDA-MN programming and services. Certainly this mission manifested itself in practical and inspiring sessions at MN-ACDA Dialogue a few weeks ago. Indeed, one could boldly claim that this mission was evident in the work of Craig Hella Johnson, as he worked with the Directors' Chorus and left us “inspired and supported” on many levels. After one year on the ACDA-MN board as Metro West representative, I have been prompted to consider and ponder our mission statement. I like it. It is clear and concise, articulates why our organization exists, and reminds the community of what they can expect. Through service on the board, I have become sensitized to the “living out” of this mission – both by its authors and by the leaders that continue to serve our organization. A brief glance at our new and improved website illuminates a plethora of professional opportunities this coming season, especially those associated with our 50th anniversary celebration. A beautiful tapestry is woven here, with threads in celebration of what has been, vision for what is to come, and engagement in the present. Our mission is at the heart of all of this, serving as the loom – the power-source for this magnificent work. One of the 50th anniversary initiatives is “Minnesota Sings." The original idea was to “surround the state in song." In each district, there would be a

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Star of the North • Fall 2012

public venue which would host a day of continuous singing- a nonstop display of choirs of all kindsilluminating for the local community the significant role of choral music in the lives of Minnesotans. (There’s that word from our mission statement – community.) The project has evolved, now offering more sites (and more venue choice for directors and their choirs) for an expanded presence in which to “inspire and support a community of choral musicians." Via print, broadcast, and internet media, choral music enthusiasts will be made aware of these extravaganzas, enticing listeners to drop by for an hour, for a morning or for the day! Here, listeners will see and hear our mission at work, in nooks and crannies across our state. To date, an eclectic mix of choral ensembles have registered to participate in MN-SINGS. Represented are children’s choirs, middle and high school choirs, church choirs, community choruses, ethnic and multicultural groups, and college ensembles. The estimated age span of singers is predicted to be 8 to 80. Wow! The diversity in this demographic reflects an impressive community of choral musicians. To further inspire and support your program, the MN-SINGS project gives your choir the opportunity to come together early in the year, thereby building performance skills, confidence and belief in the ensemble. The project becomes a performance venue for each choir, taking singers out of their home space – perhaps out of town – and into a new and unusual acoustic.

MINNESOTA SINGS! Saturday, November 10, 2012

The invitation is yours. Can the MN-SINGS project assist you in your mission “to inspire and support YOUR community of choral musicians”? Stop to consider this. The benefits are many. As one of a dozen or more choirs in your venue, imagine the rewards of community-building in and among the various choirs. Simply by participating, awareness develops, connecting singer to singer, choir to choir. Respect for the choral art is heightened, as well as respect for one another’s efforts and artistry. The singing participant views him or herself as one of a larger choral community, where there are many possible paths to success, limitless ways to express our humanity and a lifelong opportunity for involvement. Finally, in a sincere effort to support MN choirs, steering committees for each MN-SINGS site are working to make this a manageable project for all choirs. Our goal is to keep it simple and well-organized, to assist in publicity and marketing, so that all involved will enjoy this community event. Join in our mission. Take advantage of our 50th anniversary programming. And register to feature your choir in the great community event – MN-SINGS.

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From the Field Be Mission Driven

W. Clement Stone said, “When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” I would propose that, simply stated, our mission is to do our best every day.

Daryl Timmer

Metro East District Chair Woodbury High School

Beginning the new school year, I challenge myself to be mission driven. Webster’s Online Dictionary defines mission as “calling: an aim or task that somebody believes it is his or her duty to carry out or to which he or she attaches special importance and devotes special care.” Wow, isn’t that what we do every day in our classrooms and rehearsals? I’m sure we can all look back and remember when we knew we felt that tug to be a teacher, and I venture to guess that for many of us it was because of someone who was mission driven. Pablo Casals said, “The heart of a melody can never be put down on paper.” As a master musician, Casals’ performing embodied the true meaning of his quote. He poured himself into his performing as well as his preparation. I believe his statement applies directly to my teaching. Its most profound meaning leads me to see that the “heart” or “mission” of my teaching is being actively involved in the everyday details of my work. Nurtured and guided by those who saw my strengths and gifts, I have worked to perfect my craft, daily working on becoming more efficient and effective in my teaching. Through examples of how to “live life in passion," my mentors encouraged and guided me to follow in their footsteps. I soon realized that going through the motions was never, and is simply not, an option. Through example, I strive to inspire students to become the best they can be. With high expectations, I challenge students to step outside their comfort zone and try new things, all the while mindfully supported by the same care and concern given to me by my mentors. Learning the technical details of a song is a very necessary part of learning in my classroom, but using those details to create, expe-


Star of the North • Fall 2012

rience, and share music on a higher level has lifechanging effects. The confidence and pride exuding from the students when we reach our “goal” can at times be overwhelming. The satisfaction and accomplishment they sense and experience encourages them to continually refine their skill and craftsmanship. They truly want to be the best they can. A melody may be written down on paper, but it must be given breath and life by those who sing it. Equally, teaching strategies, lesson plans, and the day to day details of the classroom may be written down, but must be brought to life and lived out by a teacher committed to his/her craft and those students within his/her realm of influence. The following quotes posted on the choir room doors help remind both the students and me to be mission driven. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle Always set the bar high, for the feeling of reaching a small goal quickly fades and gives way to the thought of what you might have accomplished.

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fmc endowment fund update The FMC Endowment Fund Committee extends a BIG thank you to those ACDA-MN members who generously donated $4,065 to the F. Melius Christiansen (FMC) Endowment Fund during the 2012 Summer Dialogue. Your contributions are very much appreciated and will assist with guaranteeing a vibrant future for exemplary choral music in Minnesota which is the FMC Endowment Fund’s mission. diana j. leland Director of ­Development, F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund

Many personal tributes were made by ACDA-MN members during Summer Dialogue to honor their mentors. Honoree names, along with the respective donors, will be displayed during our November 2012, ACDA-MN state conference in the lobby of Benson Great Hall at Bethel University and also printed in the 50th anniversary program and the 2012 Annual Report of the FMC Endowment Fund. It’s not too late to honor your mentor! To download a tribute donation form or to make an on-line tribute contribution, please visit: October 1, 2012 is the deadline for inclusion of your own personal tribute(s) in the ACDA-MN 50th anniversary program. Eight scholarships were awarded by the FMC Endowment Fund Scholarship Committee for choral directors to attend 2012 Summer Dialogue. Included below are brief testimonials from the scholarship recipients about what they gained as a Summer Dialogue attendee. Summer Dialogue helped me make valuable and encouraging connections with other Minnesota choral directors, both new and experienced. The sessions were helpful, inspiring, and informative. I left Dialogue energized to plan the year ahead and excited to be back in the classroom. I was especially moved by the experience of working with Craig Hella Johnson and also inspired and transformed through his rehearsals, his programming and the depth he brings to the music. ~ Ben Henschel,   Wayzata East Middle School


Star of the North • Fall 2012

The Summer Dialogue was a great welcome for me as I return to Minnesota. I enjoyed meeting many people and making connections, which will be useful throughout the year. My favorite part of the week was singing with the Directors Chorus and sharing our concert with the All-State Choirs. The energy generated about the 50th anniversary celebration was contagious, and Summer Dialogue made me feel like I was already a part of the family. ~ Russell Adrian, University of Minnesota  Attending Summer Dialogue as a scholarship recipient was certainly an honor and a privilege. I found the weeklong experience to be energizing and nurturing, not to mention fun! As a new choral director and first-time Dialogue attendee, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. By the end of the first day, I was truly overwhelmed by the number of people who had reached out to make me feel welcome. The conference sessions were relevant and educational, and our rehearsals with Craig Hella Johnson were absolutely stirring. I was constantly reminded of how fortunate we are to be part of such an incredible choral community here in Minnesota. ~ Katelyn Larson, St. Francis High School  Words cannot do justice in explaining how attending Summer Dialogue affected me as a teacher. I thought that I might get some ideas for programming this year and that I would also meet other directors from around the state; however, what I gained from Summer Dialogue was so much more than my expectations. I was inspired by all the sessions and the passion that each presenter had for teaching music. My soul was fed from hearing all of the stories and experiences from the many directors that I met. Summer Dialogue was the jump-start that I needed to get excited for the 2012-2013 school year, and will be the beginning of a summer tradition for me. ~ Lauren Fladland   5-12 Vocal Director Martin County West

Attending Summer Dialogue made me realize how blessed I am to be in a state with exceptional human beings, committed to the art of choral music. About to begin my first year of teaching, I was thankful to not only attend the numerous reading and interest sessions, but to have open dialogue with like-minded choral musicians who have had years of experience. As a rookie to the profession, it is easy to have vim and vigor, or as Axel Theimer put it, “to be cocky." However, I was reminded to just take things slow. Having the privilege of working with Craig Hella Johnson while at Dialogue inspired me to know that I can only do what I can do. Thank you to my fellow colleagues at the 2012 Dialogue and to the FMC Endowment Fund Scholarship Committee for offering me this scholarship. ~ Brennan Michaels   Graduate of Concordia-Moorhead Attending Summer Dialogue gave me the opportunity to connect with choral conductors from across the state and nation. I was able to exchange ideas with directors of every background, from small public schools, colleges and universities, and even professional performing ensembles. The varied reading sessions provided me with a wealth of new resources. Singing in the Directors’ Chorus, under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson, was an energizing experience that has recharged my commitment to my own students. Thank you, FMC Endowment Fund scholarship committee, for allowing me to participate in an amazing week of music making. ~ Ann Marie Lubovich, Director of Chisholm   Children’s Choir and East Range Choral Society Dialogue re-lit the flame within me – the flame that originally led me to pursue a career in teaching. During my first year of teaching, I focused on teaching the concepts behind the music and strayed away from just listening to the music and working together to create music with profound meaning. Being a part of the Dialogue Directors’ Chorus and the 50th Anniversary Directors’ Chorus reminded me of the main purpose of making music: to communicate, whether it is a direct message or just a feeling. I will take this renewed attitude to my teaching and focus more on the communicative aspects of the music. Dialogue will also impact my teaching through the relationships that I forged during the week. Being a new teacher from a small, rural district, I did not know many other music educators from my area before Dialogue. I now have many new colleagues who I can contact with questions or ideas, which can only result in a positive benefit for my students and their music education. ~ Laura Forst, Norwood-Young America Schools  REMINDER! Scholarships will be offered for college/university students to attend the 2013 ACDA National Conference which will be held in Dallas, TX from March 13-16, 2013. The deadline for application is December 1, 2012. Graduate study scholarship applications are also due on December 1. Please consider submitting an application for these special funding opportunities! To learn more about these two FMC Endowment Fund scholarships, please visit: scholarships

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The annual Give to the Max Day will be held on Thursday, November 15. We invite and encourage 100% participation from our ACDA-MN members on Give to the Max Day. Contributions of only $10 are most welcome! I’ll look forward to celebrating ACDA-MN’s 50th anniversary in November with you. Best wishes for your 2012-2013 choral music endeavors.

2012 Summer Dialogue Scholarship Recipients

Back row: David Phelps, Ben Henschel, Russell Adrian; Front row: Lauren Fladland, Laura Forst, Anne Marie Lubovich, Katelyn Larson Pictured seperately: Brennan Michaels

50th Anniversary Task Force

Row 1: Judy Sagen, Diana Leland, Tom Hassig, Amy Johnson, Jan Gilbertson; Row 2: Carl Lipke, Bruce Becker, Brian Stubbs, Steven Albaugh, Steven Boehlke Not Pictured: Bruce Phelps, Linda Smith

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


ACDA 36th Annual State Conference 1000 Singers • 20 Choirs • 4 Honor Choirs • 14 Interest Sessions 3 Public Concerts • 2 World Premieres • 3 Magnificent Performance Venues

Outstanding Auditioned Choirs

Bella Voce • Blake MS Choristers • Buffalo HS Concert Choir Exultate • LeDonne • Mahtomedi MS 8th Grade Choir Princeton HS Concert Choir • RAACHE Arioso St. Louis Park Spanish Immersion School Choir

Early Registration Deadline: October 1, 2012 Registration Brochure available September 1, 2012 on-line at:


Star of the North • Fall 2012

ACDA-MN 50th Anniversary Concert Sponsorships Premier Sponsors - $10,000 And Above Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation Rene’ Clausen, Commissioned Composer – In-Kind

Gold Sponsors - $5,000 - $9,999 The Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation JW Pepper, Minneapolis

Silver Sponsor - $2,500 - $4,999 Classical Minnesota Public Radio

Diamond Sponsors - $1,000 - $2,499

Katherine Doepke, 50th Anniversary, History of ACDA-MN-DVD Hal Leonard Corporation Myers Communication Group, LLC Roger Tenney The Wenger Foundation Westmark Productions

Platinum Sponsors - $500 - $999 Accolades International Tours for the Arts Allied Concert Services, Inc. Mattson & Radziej, Ltd. Popplers Music, Inc. Bernie & Janet Wagnild

Crystal Sponsors - $250 - $499 Bruce W. & Paula M. Becker Burnsville Toyota ChiroZone, PA, Dr. Jeff Smidt Complete Family Eyecare Dakota Street Design, LLC Ronald Fossell Gary Eidsvold James & Anne Eidsvold Jeffrey N. Holmberg, DDS JNBA Financial Advisors, Inc. Jon Kietzer/SeaNote Cruises Learner’s Edge Gunilla Luboff/Walton Music MorningStar Music Publishers Sunshine Travel Company UBS Financial Services, Inc. Wealth Financial Consultants

Weston Noble Rudy Speich/Murphy Robe Company United Educators Credit Union

50th Anniversary Legacy Patrons Mark & Karen Aamot ACDA-MN Board of Directors Steven Albaugh Carol Barnett Andrew Beard Bruce W. & Paula M. Becker George Berglund Sonja Chamberlain Geneva Eschweiler John Ferguson Christopher Fettig Murrae & Helen Freng Stephen Fuller Jere Graetz Neal Haugen André-Louis Heywood Robert & Sigrid Johnson Diana J. Leland Glen Linscheid Marie Palmquist Dione J. Peterson Randy S. Schafer Elizabeth Shepley Michael & Carol Smith Chet Sommers Daryl Timmer Kathleen Tunseth Rodney A. Urtel

Tribute Concert Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors - $50 - $249 American Family Insurance/ Linda Stangland Agency Anchor Bank of Apple Valley, Minnesota Anonymous Awards Direct Daniel B. Borgmann, CPA By All Means Graphics Cole’s Salon Richard H. & Carolyn L. Davies Farmington Printing Frank Ell, Burns Brothers Financial Group Groth Music Company Roe & Beverly Hatlen

Annette Patrias Armstrong High School Choir Booster Club Sharon Caine Perry Cohn Jewelers, Ltd. Dakota Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, PA Alison Davis & Michael Blake Linda & David Deal Douglas Dirks Timothy & Carol Hearn Heimie’s Haberdashery Inspiration Design Center Inver Grove Honda Mainstream Boutique, Inc. Michael & Sarah Mardell Minneapolis Window Shade Company Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale Minnesota Valley Women’s Chorale Rejuv Skin and Laser Clinic, LLC Earl & Barbara Sagen Yankee Eye Clinic Susan C. Zemlin

As of August 16th, 2012

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


STUDENT PODIUM Summer Dialogue Response

Katelyn Larson St. Francis High School St. Francis, MN

On a scorching summer day in August 2005, I made my way up to St. John’s University, along with several other high school singers from across the state of Minnesota. All-State Choir camp was about to begin, and I could hardly contain my nerves and excitement. I had no idea what to expect when my high school choir director, Angela Mitchell, prompted me to audition and take part in the experience; I only knew that I’d be spending a week with kids who loved to sing as much as I did. I never imagined that it would end up being one of the most transformational weeks of my life. I also never dreamed that I’d be in the same place seven years later, albeit on the other side of things, as a brand new choral director and first-time Summer Dialogue attendee. I returned to St. John’s University on the first Tuesday of August feeling like a five year old on Christmas morning. I remember saying to my friend, “The last time I was here I had the best week of my life!” Needless to say, I had pretty high expectations. Being new and inexperienced; however, I was a little apprehensive about attending my first state conference with such seasoned educators. By the end of the first day, I was truly overwhelmed by the number of people who reached out to make me feel welcome. I met several new conductors and reconnected with current colleagues, former teachers and professors, and I felt that I could be myself; I could be real. Craig Hella Johnson put it best when he said that we should come to the table of singing “as we are." He emphasized the importance of pushing ourselves forward and striving to become better rather than getting caught up in what we don’t know. I don’t think anything could have been more crucial for me to hear. I was reminded that no matter where we’re at, we all have something to offer. Every day at dialogue was spectacular. I was exposed to a variety of choral repertoire, learned new ways to incorporate technology in the classroom, observed renowned conductors, and was presented with multiple opportunities to reflect on my role as both a choir teacher and an ensemble member. Socializing at the “afterglows” every eve-


Star of the North • Winter Fall 20122012

ning was certainly enjoyable as well. I’ll never forget celebrating at Axel Theimer’s home the night he was presented with the FMC Lifetime Achievement award. He beckoned us outside to watch him light fireworks off the back porch, to which everyone reacted with vocally healthy “oohs” and “aahs." I could tell that I was part of a very special community, and that in years to come these conferences would feel even more like extended family gatherings. It seemed that everyone had a deep appreciation for music and its ability to cater to the human spirit. I will cherish these annual gatherings when choral directors and music educators from all over reunite to share that same special bond. While my scope may be limited at this age, I can’t help but imagine that ACDA-MN stands out as one of the leading choral organizations in the country. Summer Dialogue connects choral directors of all stages in life. I’m still in awe of the number of times I found myself seated between my middle and high school choir directors, Sue Gilsdorf and Angela Mitchell. These two women provided me with a solid musical foundation, fostered my love of choral music, and gave me the confidence to pursue my aspirations. I arrived at the conference with expectations that were not only met, but also highly exceeded. I left knowing that I’m where I am meant to be, and I have an affirmed faith that our students are in the hands of fantastic educators and incredible human beings.

Brother Nick Kleepsie, Katelyn Larson, and Dean Jilek enjoying the closing banquet.

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1. Our Leaders: Brian Stubbs, Amy Johnson and Steve Albaugh 2. Kim Motes (College of St. Benedict) and Axel Theimer 3. Axel: "We've come a long way together..." 4. Gillian Teoh, Steve Albaugh, and Daryl Timmer 5. Perfecting our voice parts! 6. Craig Hella Johnson fine tunes the Directors' Chorus 7. FMC Award Recipients Row 1: Sigrid Johnson, Diana Leland, Axel Theimer, Katherine Doepke, Geneva Eschweiler, Jan Gilbertson Row 2:  Bruce Becker, Dick Edstrom, Steve Boehlke, Ronnie Nelson, Carl Lipke, Murrae Freng, Karle Erickson, Wayne Kivell 8. Craig Hella Johnson and Teri Larson

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


summer dialogue 10


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Star of the North • Fall 2012

9. Maestro Craig sharing his magic! 10. Axel Theimer, Judy Sagen, and Steve Boehlke 11. Axel Theimer "... and we have a long ways to go together!" 12. John Kleinwolterink focusing on his tenor part 13. All-State Choir Conductors Chris Aspaas, Rhonda Fuelberth, and Rollo Dilworth 14. Our State President Steve Albaugh 15 Viewing the Exhibits Fair 16. Your ACDA-MN Staff: Bruce and Barb 17. A Welcoming Community Awaits Us! 18. L-R: Teri Larson, Marie Dymit, Craig Hella Johnson, Rebecca Wyffels




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19. Summer Dialogue Directors' Chorus 20. Mary Jo Bot and Mark Potvin 21. Voice Care Network Colleagues Pat Feit and Liz Grefsheim 22. Axel Theimer and family 23. BJ and Sigrid Johnson 24. ACE Award Recipients Front: Eileen Ness (SE); Jan Scovill (NE); Marcia Torning (ME); Back: Jim Swearingen (SW); Marcus Johnson (MW); Ted Masog (NW) 25. Outgoing ACDA-MN Board Members Front: Deborah Lamb, Angela Broeker, Bonnie NelsonBack: Steve Boehlke, Marie Dymit, Kari Douma, John Kleinwolterink 26. 50th Anniversary Chorus

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


commissioning Corner Concord Canticles – René Clausen’s Anniversary Gift to ACDA of MN In November, the Minnesota choral community will witness and participate in the premiere of René Clausen’s new work, Concord Canticles, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of ACDA of MN. In August, as the new academic year was dawning on the campus of Concordia College, I sat down with Dr. Clausen to discuss this new piece.

Michael Culloton Concordia College Moorhead, MN

René Clausen Concordia College Moorhead, MN


Michael Culloton: Good morning, René. I’ve enjoyed this sneak peek at your new piece a great deal! What was the impetus for the writing of it? René Clausen: Actually, I volunteered to write the piece for this specific event. This really is a gift to ACDA for the 50th anniversary. The whole idea was to give back to ACDA, especially our state organization. MC: The score is in four movements with fairly different texts. How did you select them and how do they fit together under the title of Concord Canticles? RC: If you look up the word ‘concord,’ it means unity, together, words like that that are synonyms for togetherness. Part of the battle is to – well, it’s a big battle – there were a lot of things to figure out about this piece that were similar to when I wrote the 9/11 piece, Memorial, because the question is what do you write about? The prescription for me was that they wanted to include a children’s choir, a high school honor choir, an adult choir, and a college choir, so there were all these various levels. How do you write one piece that focuses, or at least gives some clear distinctive use of each of those choirs, and yet have it all fit together as one piece? So the first goal is to understand that I wasn’t writing for one level of choir, but really for the gamut all in the same piece. And then it’s not like writing a mass setting or a Requiem or even an anthem that has this specific text, but it’s about creating a series of texts that celebrates ACDA in Minnesota, so that was some of the most difficult work – going through a lot of texts and ideas. While spending some time online and researching texts, I actually found a Minnesota gentleman who had put together a rather comprehensive collection of Minnesota folk songs that went clear back to the 18th century, and that’s where I thought of the idea of making this piece a journey.

Star of the North • Fall 2012

MC: This journey begins in a place far from home. Talk about the use of a Swedish text and tune for the basis of the first movement. RC: I ran into this folk song, Hälsa Dem Därhemma, and decided to use it as the basis for the first movement, which we do in Swedish. This tune is about leaving home. The translation of the title is “Greet the folks at home”. This song was translated into virtually every Scandinavian text and is about people leaving home and going to the new country. As I was piecing this together, I thought it would make sense to start there. This is about the roots of who these people are, and this tune and idea works well with the children’s voices. MC: How did you settle on the orchestration for the piece? RC: Originally this was going to be for brass choir, but I spoke to Bruce Becker and said that children’s choir and brass choir don’t always work so well together, so I asked for a woodwind quintet in addition to the brass. There is also an organ used in several spots throughout the work. There are going to be narrations throughout the piece and Bruce (Becker) volunteered to do it, which will be very fun. They won’t be long, but they will provide connective tissue between the sections. Bruce will be the perfect narrator as our leader within the state. MC: How does the second movement advance the journey that you are going for with these texts? RC: The adults start the second movement and the young voices echo back and forth. The text is lines from Wendell Berry’s Within the Circle of our Years, and it connects to the previous text by bringing us all together – the intersecting circle of our years together. MC: There’s a moment in the second movement that will be very special. RC: Yes, I hope so. When we look at ACDA of MN and this occasion, we need to celebrate the major, dominant influence in Minnesota that was F. Melius Christiansen. I simply couldn’t ignore the figure of F. Melius Christiansen. Well how do you do that? I think one of his most well-known arrangements is O Day

Full Of Grace, so I put the famous vocal introduction as he arranged it in the brass during a transition over which will be a brief narration about his impact on choral music in our state, and then the audience will join along with the singing of the hymn. I think it will be a nice moment. It begins in unison and then goes into parts so all can sing in harmony with a trumpet descant and the wonderful organ at St. Andrew’s. This will be a moment to honor the tradition. MC: The third movement, Let Us Be United, feels like the calm before the storm that is the sweeping fourth movement. RC: Two things: this is a dense, textural moment about the beauty of the choral sound. Musically, I wanted to have this anthem-type moment. The second thing is that this text from the Rig Veda allows us to speak about the variety of influences and traditions in our choral world, as well as the greater humanity that is obviously being addressed. Think about all the influences including Sateren, Fleming, Argento, the Christiansens. And Philip Brunelle and Dale Warland – those are huge influences! The reason for this text, without being too specific, is to say that we are a wide family; we come from many influences. MC: At a glance, this movement also appears as though it could have been done a cappella, but you use a solo oboe to accompany the choir. RC: The oboe is a color. The chorus part has a fair amount of stasis; it’s about hovering. The cadence points are long with

color chords, and a soaring oboe over it lends a forward motion and provides a more melodic sense. I just heard oboe with this. I thought it was important and significant to have an F. Melius moment, but also important to have a non-F. Melius moment too, and the narration that leads into this will address those other influences. MC: And just as the audience is reveling in the serenity of this movement you bring the momentum back and the fourth movement ushers in a whole new energy and musical sweep. Talk about this final movement. RC: It’s about seven minutes – it’s a relatively long anthem-type movement. The text is a Jewish Prayer – A Divine Voice Sing Thoughout Creation and I use a portion of the text as a recurring refrain throughout: “How wonderful, Creator God, the arch of the skies displays your handiwork.” It’s a fun text to set because of all the imagery, and I especially love the last bit of text: “In your goodness you have made us able to hear the music of the world.” It just seemed so appropriate and right to use this text for the finale of this piece. Near the end, there is a section on the word “alleluia." The alleluia theme cascades between the soprano and the tenor – I put it at close imitation. I like the idea of the cascading alleluia that is followed by the straightforward ending. I keep returning to the refrain of “A divine voice sings throughout all creations.” I think the piece will work for this occasion and I hope that it fulfills people’s expectations of the piece.

The American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN) 2012-13 State Honor Choir Program

STATE 4-5-6 CHILDREN’S HONOR CHOIR – Saturday, Nov 17, 2012

St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi (ACDA-MN State Conference Event) Guest Conductor – Mary Alice Stollak, University of Michigan, ret. Honor Choir Co-Chairs: Shannon Dorschner & Kayla Krizek Audition Timeline: Wednesday, Sept. 26 – On-Line auditions due Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Directors notified Wednesday, Oct. 17 – Directors return student forms and fees

STATE 7-8 BOYS’ & 7-8 GIRLS’ HONOR CHOIR – Friday, Nov 16, 2012 St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi (ACDA-MN State Conference Event) 7-8 Boys’ Guest Conductor – Timothy Peter, Stetson University, DeLand FL 7-8 Girls’ Guest Conductor – Karen Fulmer, Auburn WA 7-8 Boys’ Co-Chairs – Chris Larson & Michael Skaar 7-8 Girls’ Co-Chairs – Jamye Casperson & Terri Thomas Audition Timeline: Wednesday, Oct.3 – On-Line auditions due Wednesday, Oct. 10 – Directors notified Wednesday, Oct.24 – Directors return student forms and fees

(save this notice for future reference)

STATE 9-10 HIGH SCHOOL WOMEN’S & MIXED HONOR CHOIR – Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis (MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic Event) 9-10 Women’s Guest Conductor – Phillip Swan, Lawrence University, Appleton WI 9-10 Mixed Guest Conductor – Judy Sagen, Eastview High School, ret. 9-10 Women’s Co-Chairs – Melanie Kjellberg & Jami Lercher 9-10 Mixed Co-Chairs – Philip Brown & Kyle Eastman Audition Timeline: Wednesday, Oct. 31 – On-Line auditions due Wednesday, Nov. 7 – Directors notified Wednesday, Nov. 21 – Directors return student forms and fees

Directors go to: for complete student audition information, honor choir pricing structure, conductor biographies, photos, and new on-line audition procedures. (Please note that current director membership in ACDA is required for student participation in the State Honor Choir program) For further information on the ACDA-MN State Honor Choirs contact Honor Choir Executive Assistant Barb Geier at: American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN) • Land of 10,000 Choirs! The choral director’s source for engaging and ongoing professional development Our Mission: To inspire and support a community of choral musicians in our state Our Legacy: A Distinguished Past…A Vibrant Future

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


mmea update Dan Hampton MMEA Choral Vice-President Montevideo High School

Greetings to all my ACDA-MN colleagues! It was great seeing so many of you during the Summer Dialogue. From what I could tell, you seemed to be having a great week. Your Directors' Chorus performance was wonderful and inspiring. It made me wish I could have been up there singing with you; perhaps next year. All-State Choir Camp was a great success, and I had an outstanding team to work with. The conductors connected well with the students, and my staff of section coaches was knowledgeable, conscientious, and hard working. My assistant, Wendy Suoja, was a great help throughout the week, and St. John’s University proved to be a perfect host. Thanks to all for making my final All-State Camp as Choral Vice President a success. Summer is drawing to an end as I write this article, and with the changing of the seasons and the beginning of another school year, I once again feel a mixture of emotions. Even after all these years

as a teacher, I still feel a combination of excitement and sadness. The feeling of wonderful anticipation that I feel each August is also laced with a bit of grief as I realize that my schedule will only get more intense with each day until I hit a downhill run in mid-May. Just as ACDA-MN pauses at its 50th anniversary to consider the topic of “mission," I feel like late summer is the time that I stop to think about what I am doing and why I am doing it. I have to admit that the trend toward standards education and assessments has not helped me love my job more and I find myself getting frustrated by the strong emphasis lately on these aspects of education. I realize the importance of focusing our curricular content so that students learn as much as they can, but I am worried that we will lose sight of essential, not-so-easily-assessed aspects of choral music. As I look back on my life and reflect on what has inspired me to do choral music and to love choral music, I honestly find very little that has anything to do with meeting a curricular stan-

Congratulations to Minnesota’s Music Directors Your dedication to educate Minnesota students will foster an appreciation of music and develop their talents making the world a better place. GNTT wishes you success on another year of music education. We look forward to working with you on your next student tour. REQUEST A FREE PROPOSAL: email OR online OR Call: Twin Cities metro 651-487-0661 Outstate 1-866-487-0661


Star of the North • Fall 2012

dard. I remember the joy of making great music as part of a team. I remember feeling a tremendous sense of accomplishment as my choir moved from being sight readers of a piece of music to proficient performers at the concert. I remember the way that music filled me and moved me to a different place. I remember poetry that took on more depth when set to music. I remember how music had a way of penetrating me and I couldn’t get enough of it. As we reflect on what is important in what we teach, I hope that we remember to revisit what it was that brought us to choral music and to not be afraid to pay attention to that as we approach incorporating standards. We don’t need to apologize for the non-tangible aspects of our art or for strengths that are not easily assessed. I hope you all have a great fall. I also hope you recognize what a difference you make in your students’ lives. We are all so lucky to be able to do what we do and to be able to make music – especially choral music – every day.

ith College Of m S Mu lly a n sic c ’s M

Looking for the perfect non-competitive event to showcase your high school’s vocal jazz talent? Register today to participate in McNally Smith College Of Music’s 5th Annual Vocal Jazz Festival!

McNally Smith College of Music • St. Paul, MN • Perform for and listen to other groups in MSCM’s auditorium • Network with other choral directors and students • Record a song in MSCM’s state-of-the-art studios • Stay for a concert with MSCM’s top vocal jazz ensemble

Moving? New School?  New Address? Change of Email or Phone Number? Contact Bruce W. Becker, Executive Director Keep your ACDA Address Book Current! See what our ACDA-MN and FMC boards have been up to lately... Check out posted meeting minutes at Our Golden Legacy: A Distinguished Past... A Vibrant Future!

Registration is $200. Space is limited.

For more information, contact Shon Parker: 651.361.3547 or




19 Exchange Street East Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


In The News NEW WEBSITE and THE DAILY BEAT LAUNCHED Two years of planning and eight months in design and development have produced the remarkable new ACDA-MN website, launched for the first time on Monday, August 13. The website features a new and fresh design, specifically meant to artistically and gently guide the user into experiencing all of the unique features of our website. The background development and updated versions of the newest in navigation tools will help the user easily move from one theme to the next. The original website was first upgraded in 2010 that transferred the former site to a new Drupal platform. This process permitted our developer to build our new site utilizing the latest features in web development. Meanwhile, the ACDA-MN Board of

Directors gave final approval to move forward with a complete re-design in January of 2012. Extensive work in new design and development began shortly thereafter with the goal of opening the new site immediately following Summer Dialogue. The design and development team of Katryn Conlin of Dakota Street Design and Tom Hale of New Day Web Design were contracted by ACDA-MN to work on the project. Incidentally, Tom Hale served as ACDA-MN Web Master from 2004-2011 and was recently re-hired on July 1, 2012 to serve as our new Web Editor, a position combining the former two job descriptions of Web Master and Web Developer. In addition to the new website, ACDAMN also has begun a new way to communicate with our membership, utilizing some of the latest developments in web-based communication technology. The Daily Beat is a new statewide messaging program that will combine multiple daily announcements and eblasts into one combined message. Relevant topics, important notices, and reminders from the ACDA-MN office, along with paid announcements advertising concert events, job postings and audition notices, will all be featured in one sleek message per day. All topics displayed in The Daily Beat will feature hyperlinks that will direct you to the full content of each item on the ACDA-MN website.

Want to print this issue on your own printer? You may either click the .pdf version, or click the print icon at the top of each interactive page to print specific pages.


Star of the North • Fall 2012


As a community of choral musicians, we acknowledge our special mentors by remembering and honoring those individuals who have made a lasting impression upon our hearts and souls through the strength of their character, their guidance, inspiration, knowledge, and love of the art of music.

steve boehlke

Concert Coordinator

judy sagen

With the combined voices of the St. Olaf Choir, Magnum Chorum, and an ACDA-MN Anniversary Directors’ Chorus all under the artistic direction of Craig Hella Johnson, the Tribute Concert: Celebrating Influence and Inspiration will profoundly move our hearts and bring us together in the spirit of celebration to honor and remember the gifts we have received, as we continue to influence and inspire future generations to come. This special concert event on Saturday, November 17 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration weekend, will provide an opportunity for you to designate a $25 tribute per honoree to remember your mentor and give tribute to someone special that has influenced your professional career.

Each honored or memorialized name will be prominently displayed in the ACDA-MN Hall of Honor located in the Benson Great Hall lobby during the entire duration of the State Conference weekend. In addition, all donor names and their honorees will be printed in the Tribute Concert program and the 2012 FMC Endowment Fund’s Annual Report. Tribute gifts may be sent directly to the ACDA-MN state office at: 12027 Gantry Lane, Apple Valley, 55124 or may be gifted on the FMC Endowment Fund (via website link located on the new ACDA-MN homepage. Tribute gifts must be received by October 1, 2012 for names to be included in the Tribute Concert program. Further questions can be answered by Steve Boehlke at: or Judy Sagen at:

Concert Coordinator

WESTMARK Audition Recordings Join the ACDA-MN community on our new page. Visit to connect with your ACDA friends!

Planning to submit an application for performance at a conference or festival? A top-quality recording allows your choir to sound their best to the selection committee, and conveys your dedication to excellence. We can handle everything from the recording to preparing the finished product for submission in the required physical or electronic format. A great audition performance deserves a great recording. That’s what you’ll get from Westmark.


Help ensure Minnesota’s Choral Legacy. Give annually to the FMC Endowment Fund at STATE HONOR CHOIR DIRECTORS Mary Alice Stollak • Karen Fulmer Timothy Peter

On-location audio and video recording Computer editing & mastering CD & DVD duplication Graphic & printing services For more information, contact us at (763) 512-1718, email, or visit our website at Proudly serving choral music ensembles for over 35 years WESTMARK PRODUCTIONS • 5717 Woodstock Avenue • Golden Valley, Minnesota 55422

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


In The News Mens & Womens Chorus Festival... 23 Years & Counting Continued

What an amazing tradition! For the 23rd time, on the last Saturday in October, there will be hundreds (maybe a thousand!?) high school and college singers from across the state of Minnesota on the St. John’s University campus gathered for one of the most unique festivals in the country. For some, this is an annual tradition that could not be missed. For others, this is a festival that should be added to your schedule this year to see what it’s all about! Michael Walsh Men’s/Women’s Festival Chair, Buffalo High School Buffalo, MN

So, what’s so special about this festival that some of us keep coming back year after year? • It’s a unique experience for many high school singers! For some this may be their only opportunity to sing men’s or women’s literature. • It connects high school singers to college choir programs from throughout the state! High school singers get to work with four different college directors and hear 10-12 different college choirs. • It’s economical! The festival registration has remained the same for over a decade and, at $15/ student, it is one of the best values around. • It’s at a great time of year! It gives college choirs a performance opportunity and high school singers something to excite them early in the year. • It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with your colleagues, spend the day talking with your fellow teachers, listening to the college choirs, and enjoying the director’s luncheon. • It’s easy! Rehearsal tracks for your singers are all online (or available on CD) so that students can do the majority of the preparation on their own.

ACDA NATIONAL CONFERENCE Choral Art March 13-16, 2013 Dallas TX Congratulations to Minnesota Choirs selected to appear at the Conference... Roseville Area HS Concert Choir – Dean Jilek, conductor VocalEssence – Philip Brunelle, conductor Sigrid Johnson, St. Olaf College Conductor, National Women's Honor Choir


Star of the North • Winter 2012

So what’s new this year? •T  his year the registration is all being done on-line! So you can just go to the ACDA-MN website, click on the Men’s/Women’s Festival and input your singers’ information. Then download the rehearsal tracks (or better yet, just give the link to your students), order your music, and you are ready to go. •T  he ACDA-MN Commissioning Project is hosting the SSA Commission Choir on the same day at St. John’s! A 100-voice choir representing the schools participating in the commissioning project will premiere a new work composed by Carolyn Jennings at the Finale Concert. •T  here’s a new guy coordinating the event. After more than a decade of running this amazing festival, Tom Hassig has passed the torch over to me and, with the help of my ACDA colleagues, I look forward to keeping it burning. At Dialogue, I was excited to hear from many college directors who were planning on bringing their choirs (could be a record number!) and high school directors looking forward to the event. Our R & S chairs have selected wonderful music (many of the selections from previous years to save on music costs for returning schools) and all the information is online and ready. Now we just need you to make this event complete! Feel free to contact me with questions or to offer suggestions (or help) at We’ll look forward to seeing you at St. John’s University on Saturday, Oct. 27th!

ACDA NATIONAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE Star of the North 1991 • 1997 • 1999 • 2003 2005 • 2007 • 2009 • 2011 ACDA-MN Website 2011

In The News


New SSA Commissioning Consortium Project ACDA-MN will sponsor the second commissioning consortium project during our 50th anniversary year with a SSA commission by Minnesota composer Carolyn Jennings, former member of the St. Olaf College music department.

carolyn jennings Composer

The world premiere of “Some Glad Morning” will be featured as part of the annual Men’s/Women’s Festival on Saturday, October 27, during the 4:30 pm Grand Finale concert performance at St. John’s University Abbey Church.

Consortium member ensembles will each send up to six voices to participate in the consortium honor choir. These selected representatives will be coming from the following institutions: Aitkin High School Blaine High School Brainerd High School College of St. Scholastica Crown College Eagan High School Eastview High School

Minnetonka High School Mound Westonka High School New Ulm High School Prior Lake High School St. Catherine University Staples Area Women’s Chorus Stillwater High School

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


6 e

Pick Steve Deitz

Repertoire and Standards Chair, Alexandria High School

I Know Where I’m Goin’ Irish Folk Song arr. Alice Parker Lawson-Gould Music Publishers 51444 SATB unaccompanied This piece is simple, short, and mysterious. She is betrothed, but loves another. The women basically carry the song, but men provide haunting and steady reinforcement. This would be a very simple addition to any set on the theme of secular love. It could easily be learned in a few rehearsals, and would be nice vignette to teach homogenous vowels and breath support within your choir. The piece is approximately 2:30 minutes.

High school choirs

Russian Picnic (based on Russian Folk Tunes) By Harvey Enders G. Schrirmer 9544 SATB with piano accompaniment This piece requires a good accompanist and dramatic tenor 1 soloist. It is a lively, exciting, and colorful old-school ROMP. This would be a good stretch for any high school choir as singers must move between robust forte to legato singing with manic intensity. It’s just plain fun.


Lerchengesang (Song of the Lark) Felix Mendelssohn Op. 48 No. 4 National Music Publishers NMP-168 SATB unaccompanied This German folk tune provides delicate and balanced phrasing. Men and women sing both alternately and together (primarily in parallel thirds). This song is not very difficult, but hovers around high “G” for the sopranos and would be a “comfortable” piece to introduce German language to young choirs.

WELCOME TO NEW DISTRICT CHAIRS Andrew Hasty – Central District Daryl Timmer – Metro East District Elizabeth Shepley – Southeast District Shelly Wahlin – Northwest District 

Star of the North • Fall 2012

Eldorado Emma Lou Diemer (text by Edgar Allen Poe) Hinshaw Music-1817 SATB unaccompanied This piece is lively and rhythmic, requires a good accompanist, and has divisi in all parts except basses. This would be a good piece for teaching crisp diction, analysis of fine poetry, and telling a story of adventure. To the New Jerusalem William Walker (hymn from the Sacred Harp) Arranged by Matthew Culloton SBMP 703 SATB unaccompanied (divisi in all voices) This piece begins with simple presentation of the melody in a minor key and quickly becomes layered with other voice parts. As verses continue, texture and dynamics change, and the piece ends in a very broad and dense statement of victory and triumph. This is not a difficult piece, but has a very impressive effect. It requires robust singing and also lively and intense diction at pianissimo. Sing Unto God (from Judas Maccabaeus) G. F. Handel Edited by R. P. Condie Carl Fisher Music Publishing, Inc. SATB accompanied SBMP 703 This is a great piece for festival. It will require a fine accompanist, and well-balanced choir. Because it is written in high Baroque style, it will reveal any weaknesses in your singers. It is also an excellent piece to teach fugue form and martellato vocal style. The piece only lasts about three minutes, and would certainly provide a good aerobic workout for your choir.

FMC SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE December 1, 2012 ACDA National Conference Full-time and Part-time Graduate Study Applications available at

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college And University choirs

Dr. matthew ferrell Repertoire and Standards Chair, St. Cloud State University

Vigilate William Byrd CPDL SATTB or ATTBB, a cappella From Byrd’s 1589 Cantiones Sacrae, this composition employs brilliant polyphony and wonderful text painting. The fast melismatic passages and irregular canonic entrances prove quite challenging; however, the use of solfege and count-singing allow much time to be saved in the choral rehearsal. This is a wonderful work that deserves more performances. The compositional techniques, especially text painting, make for wonderful discussions in the classroom. Christus factus est Anton Bruckner CPDL SATB with minor divisi, a cappella This composition is a haunting account of Jesus’ death on the cross. The work employs extraordinary modulations and extreme dynamic contrasts that mirror Bruckner’s symphonic writing. Choruses will find the constant instability of tonal center quite challenging and the vocal range quite demanding. Despite its difficulty, this is a wonderful example of Romantic literature that looks back to the compositional style of Monteverdi. Dominus vobiscum Sydney Guillaume Walton Music, HL-8501782 SATB divisi, with baritone solo, a cappella Dominus Vobiscum is a touching and harmonically lush composition commissioned for south Florida’s professional choir, Seraphic Fire. The seven-minute a cappella work provides several interesting harmonic challenges, which may be mitigated through the use of solfege in rehearsal as the tonal center of the piece does not stray from the key of G. Additionally, the Creole language provides its own set of challenges. Like much of Guillaume’s music, there are a few rhythmic obstacles, but when those obstacles are mastered the music dances.

My Flight for Heaven Blake Henson GIA Publications, Inc., G-7189 SATB divisi, a cappella Blake Henson wrote this beautifully serene setting of Robert Herrick’s poem for the inauguration of Joe Miller at Westminster Choir College. Set in the wonderful key of Db major, the composition provides many beautiful dissonances that are approached gracefully. This work is very accessible, but the long sustained lines may cause breath and intonation challenges for singers. Textually and harmonically, this composition seems to pair nicely with Lauridsen’s Sure on this Shining Night. Long Time Trav’ling Abbie Betinis Santa Barbara Music Publishing, SBMP-702 SATB divisi, with tenor duet, a cappella Energetic, exciting, and well crafted, this composition pays homage to early American shapenote singing. Betinis combines two folk songs from the shape-note tradition very effectively. The individual layers in the music combined with the bright and straight-toned vocal quality required for shape-note singing provides engaging challenges for singers. Although I have not yet conducted this work, I purchased it immediately after seeing a performance by Matthew Culloton and The Singers. Serenity (O magnum mysterium) Ola Gjeilo Walton Music, HL-8501809 SSAATTBB, with violin or cello solo This is an ethereal setting of O magnum mysterium with beautiful open chords and carefully placed dissonances. Through much of the composition, the choir serves as an accompaniment to a wonderful melody presented by the violin or cello solo. The music delivers a few unexpected tonal shifts, but the main challenge is the long sustained chords throughout the entire work. Stagger breathing and elimination of vocal tension are necessary in a performance of this stunning music.

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


6 e

Pick Mark Stover

music and worship choirs

Minister of Worship, Music and Arts Colonial Church, Edina


Sweet By and By with “Shall We Gather at the River” arr. by Joel Raney Hope Publishing Company, C 5759 SATB, piano Optional rhythm parts for electric guitar, bass, B-3 organ, drums This setting by Joel Raney combines two great hymns with a gentle gospel groove that is accessible for any church choir. The text lends itself beautifully for worship planning on All Saints Sunday or for general use. The piano accompaniment dazzles on its own, but adding the rhythm section can also be a bridge builder between your choir and worship band if your church utilizes both worship expressions.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing arr. Victor C. Johnson Choristers Guild CGA 1279 SATB, piano Sometimes as leaders of the song of the church, our job is to re-awaken our ears and hearts to hear and know the great hymns of faith. The setting of this great hymn uses the BEACH SPRING tune, which pairs so naturally and uniquely with the text. The piano part is unobtrusive and supportive of the strong, homophonic part-writing. This would serve your choir well to program early in the choral season or when needing to pace the ensemble during a more rigorous rehearsal period.

Crucified Craig Courtney Beckenhorst Press BP1953 SATB, piano Craig Courtney demonstrates his mastery at painting the text in both the choral and accompaniment parts with this piece. For many who are familiar with his Thy Will Be Done this anthem is a worthy counterpart, powerfully evoking the journey of Christ’s Passion with a repetitive cry of “crucified.” This would be appropriate throughout the Lenten season, but particularly if your choir sings for your Good Friday worship service.

In dulci jubilo Matthew Culloton Morningstar, MSM-50-0090 SSAATBB, a cappella When planning for the Advent/Christmas season, this refreshing setting of the traditional carol In dulci jubilo is well worth the effort for your choir. It may be one of those “stretch” pieces to challenge your singers, or an opportunity to assemble a small vocal ensemble to augment a worship service or concert program during the Advent season. Matthew Culloton brilliantly drives the piece with rich sonorities and syncopated rhythms that, once mastered, feel very intuitive.

Praise the Lord, Every Land and Nation G.F. Handel, arr. Hal Hopson Morningstar MSM 50-5812 Two-part mixed voices, organ or piano Hal Hopson takes the music of one of the great composers of all-time and gives us a sophisticated two-part rendering from Handel's Dettingen Te Deum paired with selected verses from the Psalms. This can serve as a wonderful pedagogical tool to help teach your choir to confidently sing Baroque phrasing and melismatic figures. This piece is an ideal choice for programming early in the year as you work to build your choir’s voice and establish good, consistent singing habits.

Hear My Words Stephen Paulus Hinshaw Music HMC201 Two-Part Mixed, piano This piece is so elegant, so accessible, and can be programmed creatively in any worship service to augment a spoken prayer, shifting the worship order for your church service away from a more common anthem use. This works well for an adult choir, a children’s choir, or a combination of choral forces that can unify voices from across generations. The piece progresses from unison voices with the addition of a countermelody that employs a very comfortable range for any voice type while exploring two key areas.

Star of the North • Fall 2012

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Pick Laura Tempel

jazz choirs

Repertoire and Standards Chair for Jazz Choirs Champlin Park High School

All the Things You Are Jerome Kern, arr. Ward Swingle UNC Jazz Press SSAATTBB a cappella Swingle’s arrangement of this timeless Jerome Kern chart starts with a slow, traditional setting of the tune, moves into a challenging eight-part scat section that is the signature style of the Swingle Singers. It builds to a big band section before revisiting the initial melody. The opening has beautiful harmonies and is wonderful for teaching your ensemble to develop musical phrasing. The middle section is difficult and demands a great deal of attention to rhythmic and harmonic detail. If you have talented singers looking for a challenge, I highly recommend this chart! Fly Me to the Moon Bart Howard/arr. Kerry Marsh UNC Jazz Press or SATB Piano, Bass, Drums This arrangement of the classic swing tune is from Kerry Marsh’s ‘starter series’ and is great for the beginning of the year or for a beginning vocal jazz ensemble. There are unison sections that will help your singers develop their sound as an ensemble and work on singing in the swing style. The jazz chords Marsh uses throughout are great for training your ensemble to sing jazz chords with success. There are fully notated instrumental parts available that are accessible if you have student instrumentalists playing in your rhythm section. Nothing But Static Brian Eichenberger/arr. Jeremy Fox SATTB a cappella This is a great new arrangement of a song written by former Four Freshmen singer and Twin Cities based songwriter, Brian Eichenberg. The song features a solo opportunity for a tenor and like so many great a cappella charts, Fox captures the instrumental accompaniment brilliantly in other voice and vocal percussion parts. A recording of the original song is available on and there is also a demo of the arrangement available on Evening Prayer Engelbert Humperdink/arr. Phil Mattson Hal Leonard 08743195 SATB a cappella Phil Mattson does a beautiful job of setting this well-known duet from Hansel and Gretel. The piece starts with a simple, traditional, choral style and becomes more complex in chord structure, voice leading and divisi on the last page. The piece will work equally well for a large choir or small jazz ensemble. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard Paul Simon/arr. Darmon Meader Shawnee Press 35014042 SATB Piano, Bass, and Drum Written with a Brazilian feel, your group will definitely love this arrangement of the wellknown Paul Simon song! The scat sections are written out and demand great attention to rhythm and style. There is an opportunity for a scat or instrumental solo in the middle of the tune so this is perfect for your singer who loves to improvise. If your singers are inexperienced improvising, I recommend listening to the recording on the “New York Voices Sings the Song of Paul Simon” as you may have singers that would enjoy the challenge of transcribing the saxophone solo. A great way to learn improvisation! The piano part is fully notated and bass and drum parts are also available from the publisher. Amazing Grace John Newton/arr. Jeremy Fox SATB Piano, Bass, Drums This unique arrangement is accessible for large choirs and a smaller jazz ensemble, features a wonderful solo opportunity, as well as additional opportunities for improvisation. Fully notated piano, bass, and drum parts are available at and are accessible for student rhythm section players. A demo is also available.

STAR OF THE NORTH Online edition available at:

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


ACDA-MN State Board of Directors

Don’t Miss... Appearing at the 2012 State Conference November 16 & 17 First Lutheran Church • Columbia Heights Benson Great Hall • Bethel University NATIONAL HEADLINERS Mary Alice Stollak • Karen Fulmer Kari Gilbertson • Dale Warland • John Ferguson Change of Contact Information? Contact Bruce W. Becker, Executive Director

Row 1: Barb Geier, Diana Leland, Andrew Hasty, Tom Hassig; Row 2: Joe Osowski, Liz Shepley, Paula Holmberg, Amy Johnson; Row 3: Bruce Becker, Steve Albaugh, Shelly Wahlin, Eli Johnson, Greg Aune; Row 4: Bret Amundson, Brian Stubbs, Andrew Beard, Tom Hale, Daryl Timmer

A GOLDEN HISTORY OF ACDA-MN 1962-2012 Check it out at:

Perform. Worship. Lead.

Timothy Sawyer Mary Kay Geston Voice Faculty Carol Eikum Doreen Hutchings Catherine Larsen

Women’s Chorale Chamber Singers Choral Music Education

Director of Choral Activities College Choir Men’s Chorus | 888-878-5514 | 651-631-5218 |


Star of the North • Winter Fall 20122012

ACDA-MN Members approve district realignment beginning in 2012

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •



Introducing... Dr. Paul Nesheim as

Director of The Augustana Choir


r. Paul Nesheim will serve as the fifth director in The Augustana Choir’s 90-year history. Dr. Nesheim most recently served as associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he conducted three choirs and taught choral conducting. He also served as artistic director of the FargoMoorhead Chamber Chorale and the conductor of the Senior Choir at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead. He has served on the faculties of Concordia College in Moorhead and Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He has held positions conducting high school, church, and community choirs in Minnesota, California, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from St. Olaf College, a Master of Music degree in choral music from Arizona State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Arizona. He has studied conducting with Maurice Skones, Douglas McEwen, Kenneth Jennings and Miles Johnson. Nesheim is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, and is a frequent clinician and guest conductor for high school festivals and honor choirs.

Dr. Paul Nesheim, Associate Professor of Music, Director of The Augustana Choir

Augustana Performing and Visual Arts

Dr. Nesheim is a published composer and the author of “Building Beautiful Voices,” a book of vocalization methods and materials published by the Roger Dean Publishing Company.

Dr. Nesheim will make his directorial debut with The Augustana Choir in Fall 2012. You are invited to join us for Choral and other Perand Visual arts events at Augustana, all of which are open to eventsforming are open to the public. Learn more at the public and many of which are free. Learn more at


Star of the North • Fall 2012

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


A Golden History of ACDA-MN written by Wayne Kivell and Bruce Becker Founding of the National Organization The American Choral Directors Association began in 1959 guided by a vision articulated by a small group of choral directors who met informally in Kansas City at a national convention of the Music Educators National Conference.

wayne kivell

Executive Secretary, 1997-2009

Bruce becker Executive Director, 2009-

The first issue of ACDA’s official publication, the Choral Journal, appeared in May of 1959. It was printed in an eightpage, octavo-size format and contained the constitution, the names of the national officers, and a list of the 81 charter members who had paid dues as of that date. Among those named were three Minnesotans: Olaf C. Christiansen, St. Olaf College, Northfield; Murrae Freng, Alexandria High School; and Lamar Runestad, St. Peter High School. The second issue of the Choral Journal (January 1960) also adds Minnesotans Walter Collins, University of Minnesota; Keith Forstrom, Fairmont; and Curtis Hansen, Brainerd High School. All who joined the first year were considered charter members. The third issue (May 1960) contained a photo of Curtis Hansen and announced that he had been named the new vice-president of ACDA.

Founding of the MN Chapter

Within several years, individual state chapters of ACDA began to form throughout the United States. These organizations grew rapidly in some states within the first decade. Iowa proved to be a strong leader among the states that now make up the North Central Division. Harvey Waugh became Minnesota’s first state president in 1962. Since there was no state organization as such until 1972, state presidents were not elected but rather appointed by the national board. In 1964, Harvey Waugh convened a business meeting at the annual Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Mid-Winter Clinic. A similar meeting was held in 1967. In 1965 ACDA sponsored its first session at the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. Entitled “A Choral Program in a School of 67 Students,” the session fea-


Star of the North • Fall 2012

tured the Hendrum High School Choir and Girl’s Chorus under the direction of Melva Sulerud. A. B. (Bud) Engen presided at that session. Other sessions were sponsored in 1966, 1968, 1970, & 1971. Of particular interest is the 1970 session on “The Solo Voice” which featured a panel consisting of June Swanson and Helen Engen (St. Olaf College), Oliver Mogck (Bethel College), and Roy Schuessler (University of Minnesota). In February of 1972, ACDA national president Morris Hayes of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire met with a group of Minnesota choral directors at the MMEA Convention at the old Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis. The purpose of this meeting was to plant the seeds for the development of a state ACDA organization in Minnesota. Wayne Kivell was appointed to succeed Philip Steen as state president effective July 1 of that year. Steen was unable to attend the North Central Convention the following month in Indianapolis, and requested that Kivell attend the board meeting in his place. Among the agenda items of this meeting was the site selection for future divisional conventions. Des Moines, Iowa, was chosen for 1974 and Columbus, Ohio, for 1976. Kivell volunteered Minnesota to host the 1978 convention in Minneapolis. It was now imperative that a state ACDA organization be formed in Minnesota.

Development of ACDA-MN

In July 1972, Minnesota had a total membership of 66 choral directors. The membership doubled during the next two years. During Wayne Kivell’s presidency, from 1972 to 1974, the first state board was developed. It was a six-member steering committee comprised of Ken Denzer (St. Paul Highland Park Jr. High), Dorothy Fleming (St. Paul Johnson High School), Donn Mattson (Marshall High School), Jon Romer (Gustavus Adolphus College), David Thomas (Inver Hills Community College) and Kivell (Northfield High School). The first ideas that emerged from this committee included the creation of the Star of the North newsletter, the first ACDA

column in Gopher Notes, the organization of student chapters, and a contemporary music forum to be held at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. In 1973, the state was divided into six districts. Each district had a representative on the state board, in addition to one member chosen at-large and the state president. The state’s six districts expanded to seven in 1991 when the Metro district was divided into east and west. However, continued rapid growth in the metropolitan area led to total redistricting in 1995. Several suburban counties were aligned with out-state areas, thus creating six new state districts which were more equal in membership. In 2012, the membership voted to return to the original seven-district structure, permitting District Chairs to better represent their geographic regions. In 1979, Diana Leland, Vernon Opheim, and Wayne Kivell drafted state ACDA by-laws that aligned Minnesota with ACDA’s national structure. This was the first step leading toward ACDA of Minnesota becoming an independent, affiliated organization in 1993. Affiliated states have autonomy in financial affairs.

State Conventions

In 1974, the first state convention was held at Normandale Community College in Bloomington. Though the first convention took place in January, the state board determined that future conventions would be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. The board felt strongly that the state convention should prepare and inspire directors for their year’s work and not be the culmination of a year’s activity. The board also felt that the November date would conflict less with the MMEA clinic, but still allow performing groups adequate time to prepare for a convention performance. The term “State Conference” came into use following an ACDA national office preference in 2010.


The Star of the North began as a two-page mimeographed and stapled newsletter edited by Wayne Kivell. Over the decades, the newsletter has been given significant changes and improvements. The second editor, George Berglund, receives credit for making the transition to off-set press in 1976. In October 1979, the newsletter was upgraded to a professional typeset magazine format and contained its first pictures and advertising. The blue background masthead appeared on the December 1979 issue and remains in some form to the present day. Berglund’s nine-year commitment as editor is the longest, but succeeding editors Paul Rusterholz, Martin Dicke, Ken Hodgson, Mark Howarth, David Scholz, Ryan Connolly, Kari Douma, Mark Potvin and Bret Amundson each made significant contributions. The Star of the North received national commendation as an

outstanding state newsletter in 1991 under Hodgson’s leadership. National awards were again received in 1997 and 1999 (Mark Howarth, editor), 2003 (David Scholz, editor), 2005 (Ryan Connolly, editor) and 2007 & 2009 (Kari Douma, editor), and two awards in 2011 with Mark Potvin, editor. Due to increasing print, production, and postage costs, the Star of the North became an electronic publication in 2010.

Summer Dialogue

The idea for Summer Dialogue began at the 1984 division convention. State president Roger Tenney invited a group of Minnesotans to join him for lunch at an Arby’s restaurant in Sioux Falls. The luncheon became a brainstorming session on how to rejuvenate choral musicians for their teaching and directing responsibilities. As a result of this luncheon, a six-member committee was chosen. Axel Theimer, Robert Scholz, Avis Evenrud, Geneva Eschweiler, Rolf Anderson, Chet Sommers, Alice Larsen, and Tenney met several times and worked out two principal ideas. The first was the creation of workshops that would be held in the various state districts over several years. The second focused on the need for a summer ACDA activity that would promote communication, discussion, and sharing of ideas. Fifteen months later, in the summer of 1985, the first Summer Dialogue became a reality on the campus of St. John’s University, Collegeville. Axel Theimer and St. John’s hosted the first six Dialogues until the time and location were changed to coincide with the All-State Choir camp in 1991. That change allowed Dialogue to utilize the All-State Choir directors as clinicians.

Festivals and Honor Choirs

ACDA of Minnesota has always been committed to the sponsorship of choral activities throughout the state. A series of church music seminars and junior high workshops were held in various districts in the mid-1970s. ACDA would frequently co-sponsor choral festivals with high schools and colleges. In 1986 the first Male Chorus Project was held in conjunction with the annual November state convention. The project continued in succeeding years independent of the convention. In 1989 the first Treble Choir Project was initiated. The following year these two festivals were combined. Renamed the Men’s Choir/Women’s Choir Festival, it is held annually on the last Saturday in October at St. John’s University. In 1991, the “Star of the North” festivals for chamber choirs, jazz choirs, and show choirs made their debut and continue to be hosted on college campuses in the metropolitan area. These unique festivals allow high school and collegiate singers to rehearse and perform outstanding choral literature side by side. At least one honor choir is organized and performs at each state convention under the leadership of an outstanding guest conductor. Honor choirs have included elementary

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


(grades 4-6), junior high/middle school Anacrusis (grades 7-9), and community colleges. Each fall, a student chapter on one of the Minnesota college campuses organized and hosted a symposium designed for students and beginning choral conductors. Beginning in the mid2000’s, the Student Symposium was scheduled to coincide with the State Conference program, allowing student members to attend both symposium and conference sessions. Minnesotans have been honoring choral directors in the name of F. Melius Christiansen since 1974. Following his term as state president, Bruce Becker had a vision of honoring “Christy” with a unique collaboration of choirs upon the event of his 125th birthday. Many people worked countless hours to make this significant choral event possible. This special 1996 celebration was a tribute to ACDA of Minnesota and its commitment to furthering the legacy of F. Melius Christiansen and our choral heritage. A similar event was held in 2006 marking his 135th birth year. In 2009, the FMC Endowment Fund Committee sponsored the first Collegiate Choral Festival featuring five collegiate choirs with headline guest conductor Craig Jessop.

Division Conventions in Minnesota

By the time ACDA of Minnesota hosted the North Central Division Convention in Minneapolis in 1978, it was a vibrant organization with quality leadership. A strong program of concerts and interest sessions drew over 1000 registrants to the ten-state gathering – the largest ever to attend any division convention up to that date. At the conclusion of the convention, Minnesota’s membership stood at 430. Ten years later, in 1988, Minnesota again hosted the North Central Convention. The Minnesota membership then surpassed 600 following the convention. Minnesota again hosted in 1998; however, with the inclusion of North Dakota in the rotation, Minnesota did not host again until 2010.


The F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award in choral music was set up with the Christiansen family, and first presented in 1974. In 1988, two new awards were established: Choral Director of the Year and Outstanding Young Choral Director. These are presented, in addition to the FMC Award, at each annual state conference. The ACE (Advocate for Choral Excellence) awards were first presented in 2008, recognizing the efforts of special leaders throughout our seven geographic districts who support choral music in their communities.

Commissioned Works

In 1975, the first composition for the Minnesota All-State Choir was co-commissioned by ACDA and MMEA. This cocommissioning of a choral work for one of the All-State choirs,


Star of the North • Fall 2012

by a Minnesota composer, still continues today. In 2010, a new ACDA-MN Commissioning Task Force was created to further the development and support of commissioning projects. Four commissions were sponsored for world premieres at each of the State Honor Choir events during the 50th anniversary year of celebration in 2011-12. In addition, two commissioning consortium projects were introduced bringing together school and community choirs to partner with a composer. In 2011, David Dickau of Minnesota State University-Mankato was commissioned for the SATB piece “Music in the Night," while in 2012 composer Carolyn Jennings of Northfield was asked to compose a new SSA piece entitled “Some Glad Day."

Electronic Communications

In 1996, Susan Zemlin launched the ACDA of Minnesota website, which was further developed by Garrett Lathe. Under the presidential leadership of Mary Kay Geston, in 2006 the board approved hiring Tom Hale to maintain the website on a regular basis. In addition to a more robust web presence, ACDA of MN members received regular email communications about organizational activities, along with paid announcements from other organizations. The use of online credit card purchasing was added to the website. In 2010, the board approved updating the website to the Drupal Content Management System. The Drupal system is now the centerpiece for electronic communications for ACDA of MN. It continues to provide online credit card purchases, but now members can register for conferences, purchase eblast communications, and web postings all through the website. The ACDA of MN newsletter, Star of the North, is only available online as an interactive magazine or as a PDF for download and printing. ACDA of Minnesota members have a special “Members Only” section of the website that provides easy access to all of the other members’ contact information and their involvement in choral music. District chairs can easily communicate directly with their members and find their district members information online. Administration of the Drupal system is centralized for the Executive Director and Webmaster, to provide easy access to everything from updating web content to tracking online orders and maintaining the membership database. The Drupal platform will allow for further growth and expansion of electronic communications for many years to come! In 2012, and as part of the 50th anniversary year of celebration, the organization moved to create an entirely new website design, featuring the latest in website development and navigation features. ACDA-MN Web Editor Tom Hale and designer Katryn Conlin collaborated to produce an impressive new website. With the launch of the new website on August 13, 2012, the organization also initiated a new way to communicate regularly with the membership via The Daily Beat. Relevant topics,

important notices along with paid announcements advertising concert events, job postings and audition notices would now be featured in one message per day.

50th Anniversary 2011-12

Upon assuming the new office of Executive Director in 2009, Bruce Becker was approached with an offer by prominent Minnesota composer René Clausen to compose a new major choral work that would be gifted to ACDA-MN in celebration of its 50th anniversary year. That was the impetus to organize the 50th Anniversary Task Force to begin planning a major year-long celebration that would culminate in the 2012 State Conference weekend of events. Three major public concerts were added to the traditional State Conference program entitled: A Minnesota Choral Mosaic featuring Cantus and VocalEssence; The Tribute Concert: Celebrating Influence and Inspiration featuring The St. Olaf Choir, Magnum Chorum, Concert Choir of the Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs, Concert Choir of the Northfield Youth Choirs, and an ACDA-MN Anniversary Directors’ Chorus all under the direction of Minnesota native Craig Hella Johnson; A Golden Grand Finale featuring The Concordia Choir-Moorhead,

The University of Minnesota Singers, The Singers, Minnesota Boychoir, and an ACDA-MN State 11-12 High School Honor Choir all collaborating on the world premiere of Clausen’s major work. In addition to the three public concerts, the Task Force planned other events that included the development of a new corporate logo, six commissioning projects, Minnesota Sings! (a series of regional choral festivals scheduled in nine locations around the state), an official ACDA-MN Commendation Program that recognized over 200 choral music programs throughout the state, the launch of a newly designed website and The Daily Beat membership messaging program, a Governor’s Proclamation, development of the extensive ACDA-MN archival pages including the In Remembrance Honor Roll of deceased Minnesota choral directors, a 50th anniversary banquet, video archival histories, and the selection of a 50th anniversary motto: Our Legacy: A Distinguished Past... A Vibrant Future!

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


In Remembrance...

maurice l. legaulT (1934-2012) A High School Choir Director Remembered By Bob Peterson Perhaps most of you may be able to relate to my experience? My high school choir director was directly responsible for my career in choral music. Maurice L. LeGault (1934-2012) arrived at Cambridge High School in mid-Minnesota in 1957. He had recently graduated from the University of Minnesota when he moved to Cambridge. Choral singing was well established in local churches, but not in our high school. I had been interested in music as a small child, but had not thought about choir as a freshman. All of the sudden, students started talking about this fabulous new teacher. Within a few weeks, we had two mixed choruses, men’s chorus, women’s chorus, small ensembles, solo opportunities, etc., etc., etc. I was able to make the concert choir as a sophomore, and the journey began. LeGault was working on his Master’s at the U of M and I became his sample student to try the new techniques he was learning. What a treat! My interest continued to grow by attending professional choral performances where LeGault was a leading tenor. I remember hearing the Minneapolis Madrigal Singers directed by Frederick Hillary. This was a new form of the art for me and I loved what I heard and observed. As a junior, LeGault had me come to a voice lesson with him and his master teacher, Prof. Roy Schuessler at the U of M. I began my lessons with Schuessler at that time – I remained with him for over 20 years! Also, that year we had joint concerts with Princeton and Mora choirs – DuWayne Jorgenson at Mora, and Cornell Runestad at Princeton. What fabulous events. My senior year was filled with outstanding choral experiences and opportunities. LeGault masterfully prepared us for concerts, contests, and public events. The Concert Choir of Cambridge High School became known throughout the area. Our concerts were filled with enthusiastic audience members. After graduation, I attended the University of Minnesota as a potential music major. LeGault continued to guide me through this experience. Because of his guidance, I knew what teachers were the best, what classes to take, what personal goals I needed to accept. In 1966, LeGault left


Star of the North • Fall 2012

Cambridge to begin working on his Ph. D. while I was starting my Master’s program. We continued to be close friends, and he continued to be my mentor. I began my teaching career in 1968 with the Department of Defense Schools in Japan. We lost touch during that time, but LeGault did finish his degree and went on to teach in several colleges and universities in Illinois and Colorado. We reconnected when I began teaching at Macalester in 1998. He would visit and attend rehearsals of my groups. What fun for me! In 2003, I organized a “Reunion Concert” in Cambridge at the new Performing Arts Center. I invited anyone that had been in the Concert Choir under his direction. We brought LeGault back to direct. He was thrilled, and we had a fabulous concert. LeGault died in July at the age of 77. I will always remember this great teacher and friend. He guided every phase of my professional life, and I spent most of my 47 years of teaching attempting to bring to students some of the great gifts he provided for me. I miss my great friend and mentor.

STATE HONOR CHOIR CONCERT AT MMEA MID WINTER CLINIC Central Lutheran Church • Minneapolis 9-10 HS Women’s & Mixed Choirs Thursday, February 14, 2013 The NUMBER of people who contribute to the FMC Endowment Fund on that day is more important then the total amount of money contributed. We invite and encourage100% participation from our ACDA-MN members! STATE HONOR CHOIR CONCERTS AT STATE CONFERENCE St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church • Mahtomedi 7-8 Boys & 7-8 Girls – November 16 4-5-6 Children – November 17


Lastword Our Mission: To Inspire and support…

mission n. 1 a: a particular task or goal assigned to a person or group;

Bruce W. Becker ACDA-MN Executive Director

The first time I heard the word mission was when I was growing up in rural southern Minnesota. As a young child, my family would be part of a Mission Festival, an annual event that was sponsored by my home congregation each fall. I can recall that the men of the parish would spend a full day on the previous Saturday sprucing up the churchyard and cemetery and constructing an outdoor stage platform for the worship leaders. In addition, I remember seeing rows and rows of field drain tile being placed on end under the

canopied fall colored trees, with long planks of lumber positioned on top to serve as seating space. Over by the ball fields, another group of men were constructing and organizing a concession stand to peddle our favorite soft drinks and candy during the post worship social gathering of games and team sports. Meanwhile, the women in typical duty and fashion, were readying and preparing for a massive potluck feast served in the church basement that would feed hundreds of people. By the time the Sunday festival arrived, all the work and labor of love used to prepare for the event was now ready to receive throngs of parish-ioners and guests from near and far. It was the “mission” of this group of church leaders and volunteers that prepared for the Mission Festival each year. mission n. 1b: a journey undertaken as part of this; Over the past five decades of membership and service in ACDA-MN, I have witnessed a Continued on next page.

Concordia College welcomes Michael Culloton Concordia College, Moorhead, is honored to announce the appointment of Michael Culloton to our music faculty. He will serve as conductor of Männerchor, Cantabile and the Concordia Chapel Choir. For the past eight years, Culloton has been the artistic director of the Choral Arts Ensemble and Honors Choirs, two community organizatons based in Rochester, Minn. Previous to these positions, he was the choral director at Winona Senior High School and assistant conductor of the National Lutheran Choir. He also served a one-year sabbatical replacement in the choral program at Luther College. Michael Culloton, Conductor

“Mr. Culloton brings a strong background of experience with high school, college and community choral singing to his position at Concordia,” says Dr. René Clausen, conductor of The Concordia Choir and director of choral activities. Culloton received his master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona, studying with Maurice Skones, and is currently in the process of completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from North Dakota State University.

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


Summer Opera Camp

Continued from previous page.

group of volunteers coming together in mission to serve our members. Similar to the rural church group that prepared for the Mission Festival, these ACDA leaders and professionals developed a vision, executed a plan to realize the vision, and implemented programs and services that would support the profession and organization.

Since the creation of that mission statement, I have personally witnessed how everything our leadership team plans or organizes for its members is developed through the lens of our mission. It is at the core of everything we do. It is the foundation of every program or event we develop. It is a pillar of our organization. It is our mission to be in mission for you! mission n. 1c: a particular course of services undertaken by a community;


That’s all for now...

MINNESOTA SINGS! Saturday, November 10, 2012 A choral festival for choirs at all levels at nine locations throughout the state: Bemidji • Duluth • Edina • Mankato • Marshall Moorhead • Rochester • Roseville • St. Cloud STATE DUES REMINDER Add $15 to Active, Life and Retired membership categories when  renewing your membership  with the ACDA National office New Registration Rate Deadline STATE CONFERENCE October 1 – Early Rate November 1 – Regular Rate After November 1 – Late Rate Save dollars by registering early! 


Star of the North • Fall 2012

Tori Adams as Jonas in The Giver. Photo by Tomy O’Brien.

That was true in 1962 when the initial sparks of ACDA-MN were ignited. It was true in the early to mid 1970’s when another group of leaders created a vision that would move the organization forward with innovative initiatives. It was true in the 1980’s and 1990’s when the organization looked carefully at itself and continued to modify and develop new programs that would expand its mission. It was especially true in 2008 when another group of leaders actually developed the ACDA-MN mission statement: To inspire and support a community of choral musicians in our state.

June 9-14, 2013 Shattuck-St. Mary’s School Faribault, Minnesota Residential camp for teens. Auditions – April 15 & 20

Student Matinees Hamlet – Thur, Feb 28, 2013 Turandot – Fri, April 12, 2013 Fully staged productions with English translations projected above the stage.

For more information, check out 612-342-9573

Every successful music student remembers a time and a teacher.

That time is now. And that teacher is you. Bring SmartMusic into your classroom for free and see for yourself how it motivates and engages students through interactive practice. Visit to learn how you can receive your one-year free educator subscription to SmartMusic today! Connect with every student, every day.

To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


Membership Form


New Membership


Renewal: #

Please print clearly

Online Renewal: Fax or mail: ACDA 545 Couch Drive Oklahoma City, OK 73102-2207 Phone: 405-232-8161 x110 Fax: 405-232-8162 (no cover sheet please)

2. Name First Name

Middle Name

Last Name

(If there are no changes in your membership info skip to #6)


Address 1:

Boy Children & Youth Community Ethnic & Multicultural Girls Jazz Men SATB / Mixed Show Choir Women

Address 2: City: State / Province: Postal Code / Country: (








Last 4 # of SSN

4. Choir & Activity Types - Mark your current areas of involvement. Mailings are based upon these selections

3. Mailing Address



Primary Email:

Primary: ACDA Student Chapter College & University Community Elementary Junior High / Middle School Music in Worship Professional Sr. High School Supervisor / Administrator Two-Year College Youth & Student Activities

As a member, I support the mission and purposes of the American Choral Directors Association.

I would like to receive email notications from ACDA.

5. ACDA Membership - Including Choral Journal Subscription Visit our web site for a description of these types.

One Year Two Years Three Years Active (US and Canada) $95.00 $190.00 $285.00 00 00 Active Iowa (Active members who live in the state of Iowa) $98. $196. $294.00 00 00 Active Minnesota (Active members who live in the state of Minnesota) $110. $220. $330.00 International (Those outside the US & Canada - payment must be in U.S. dollars) $135.00 $270.00 $405.00 00 00 Retired $45. $90. $135.00 Retired Minnesota (Retired members who live in the state of Minnesota) $60.00 $120.00 $180.00 00 00 Student (full and part-time students at any level) $35. $70. $105.00 Associate (Choral Singers, Administrators & non-directors) $95.00 $190.00 $285.00 00 00 Associate Minnesota (Administrators & non-directors who live in Minnesota) $110. $220. $330.00 00 00 Institution (Ensemble or School/Church Music Dept.) $110. $220. $330.00 Industry (Music-related businesses) $135.00 $270.00 $405.00 00 00 Paying Life** (Make a lifetime commitment) $2,000. Annual Installment of $200. or greater $__________ **(To qualify for life membership, you must have been an active member of ACDA for a minumum of 10 years) 6. Payment - Payable to ACDA in US Dollars. Total: $ Check #_________________ (Enclosed) Do not fax if mailing a check Visa



American Express

PO_______________ (PO form & this form must arrive together)

Membership will be renewed upon receipt of payment.

___ ___ ___ ___ - ___ ___ ___ ___ - ___ ___ ___ ___ - ___ ___ ___ ___ Expiration Date: ___ ___ / 20 ___ ___

C V V 2 Code: ___ ___ ___

Name on Card:__________________________________________ Signature: _______________________________________________ Billing Address:___________________________________________ Date: _______________________ ______________________________________________________ I agree to pay the total according to the credit card issuer agreement and acknowledge that all sales are nal unless duplicate payment is made, © ACDA Revised January 27, 2011


Star of the North • Fall 2012

The Call: All Saints

memory, reverence and a joyful invitation Saturday, November 3, 2012 7 pm St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church 900 Stillwater Street Mahtomedi, MN 55115

Sunday, November 4, 2012 4 pm St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church 630 Wayzata Boulevard East Wayzata, MN 55391

Marvel of This Night: Christmas

a night of mystery and hushed awe Friday, December 7, 2012 4:30 and 8 pm Saturday, December 8, 2012 8 pm Basilica of Saint Mary 88 North 17th Street Minneapolis, MN 55403



Mass in B Minor

Hymn Festival

a classic reminder of who we are

the constant rock in our changing world

Thursday March 21, 2013 7 pm

Friday, May 3, 2013 7 pm

Central Lutheran Church 333 South 12th Street Minneapolis, MN 55404

Normandale Lutheran Church 6100 Normandale Road Edina, MN 55436

Sunday, May 5, 2013 4 pm Trinity Lutheran Church 115 North 4th Street Stillwater, MN 55082

Exhilarating performances of transcendent music in beautiful worship spaces. Hushed mystery and awe. The Spirit moves you and all those around you. Alone and together. SAVE UP TO 25% OFF THE COST OF SINGLE CONCERT TICKETS: 4 SHOWS FOR $80


To support and inspire a community of choral musicians •


Fall 2012 ACDA Star of the North  

The Fall 2012 edition of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota chapter Star of the North publication

Fall 2012 ACDA Star of the North  

The Fall 2012 edition of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota chapter Star of the North publication