On Sunday, June 22, First Lutheran Church of St. Peter and Gustavus Adolphus College will collaborate to present the Viking Choir, the international touring choir of the North Star Boys’ Choir, in concert at Christ Chapel. This performance, under the direction of Artistic Director Francis Stockwell, is part of the Viking Choir’s “Voices of Gold…” 2014 Summer Tour which includes concerts in New Ulm, Pequot Lakes, Elk River, Winona, Maple Grove and Mitchell, South Dakota. The North Star Boys’ Choir concert in Christ Chapel begins at 7:00 p.m. on June 22. The performance is free to the public with an opportunity for the audience to support the costs of the tour through a free will offering.
The North Star Boys’ Choir was founded in 2011 and has its roots in the European boy choir tradition. It is linked to that tradition through the Artistic Director Francis Stockwell and the Executive Director Craig “Andy” Anderson, whose many years of working together in choral direction has resulted in a unique and musically powerful partnership. The hauntingly-beautiful sound of the North Star Boys’ Choir results, in large part, from the centuries old European voice training technique which Mr. Stockwell mastered while working in Vienna. Mr. Stockwell is one of a handful of voice trainers around the world who has preserved and currently practices this technique. The North Star Boys’ Choir was founded, in part, to provide an enduring American home for this rare and beautiful musical legacy.
The North Star Boys’ Choir is devoted to the traditional boy choir repertoire including sacred music of all periods, dating back to the 5th century, classical works, spirituals, and folk music from around the world. Sunday’s program in Christ Chapel will reflect that tradition. It includes works of Plainsong from the 5th century, “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck, Thomas Tallis’ 16th century “Glory to Thee my God this Night,” Baldassare Galuppi’s “Dixit Dominus,” along with other sacred compositions by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Handel. The more secular half of the program includes some contemporary classics such as Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow,” Hansel and Gretel’s “Evening Prayer” by Engelbert Humperdinck, along with the Serbian Gypsy dance titled “Niska Banja,” the Mark Hayes arrangement of the American folk song “The Water is Wide,” Mac Davis’ “I Believe in Music” and others.
Providing a well rounded experience for the choirboys is a significant part of the program, and is realized through a wide range of recreational and character building opportunities, including overnights and outings, Choir Camp, tours, both national and international, and competitions. The Viking Choir is one of 4 choirs in the North Star organization and is the ensemble which tours and competes internationally. Music Magic is the beginning choir for boys between ages 5 and 8. The Cadet Choir is the intermediate choir and Kantorei is for boys whose voices have changed. Training is provided in manners, deportment, and leadership, which readies the boys for success in concert and tour settings, as well as in future life. The virtues of honor, integrity, and perseverance are represented by the three stars on the choir emblem and instilled in the boys throughout their choirboy careers.
Francis Stockwell, who studied in England, Germany, and Austria, and worked with the Vienna Choir Boys, is internationally recognized for his ability to guide boys to the heights of musical excellence and with them to craft the celebrated Viennese sound so noted for its brilliance, clarity, richness, and tonal range. Craig Anderson, the Founding Director of the award-winning Land of Lakes Choir Boys also studied in Vienna, and has 35 years of experience working with boys in choral musical development and character building. He has extensive choral program experience, having served in posts as Executive Director, General Prefect, and Principal Choral Director.
For more information regarding this performance by the North Star Boys’ Choir, please call First Lutheran Church, St. Peter, at 507-934-3060. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in Christ Chapel on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus. The concert and parking are free. A free will offering will be received.