Meet Nicole Thietje,

Following her graduation from the University of West Florida she moved to Minnesota and was hired as a choral director in New Prague, Minnesota. Nicole joined ACDA-MN and applied for a scholarship to attend ACDA-MN’s Summer Dialogue, an event that proved to be life-changing for her:

After moving to Minnesota following the completion of my undergraduate degree, one of the first things I did was join ACDA-MN. I found out about Summer Dialogue and other events via the ACDA-MN website. I applied for a FMC Endowment Summer Dialogue scholarship and was incredibly grateful to be awarded one. Attending Dialogue was an invaluable experience. As a new resident to the state of Minnesota, it was wonderful to meet so many directors from all over the state. I had a wonderful and enlightening experience and gained a great sense of pride to be a part of the ACDA-MN organization. I feel that the scholarship was not only an incredible gift, but also a show of support and encouragement from the organization, which as a new conductor, was greatly inspiring. The FMC Endowment Fund afforded me a unique opportunity to grow and learn, and then take that knowledge back to my students, and for that I am deeply grateful.

I feel blessed to be in a state with such a rich and vibrant choral community and to be a part of an organization that supports its members and choral music in many different ways, including the FMC Endowment Fund.


Meet Mark Potvin,

A Graduate Study Scholarship from the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund allowed Mark to work on a master of music degree in choral conducting at St. Cloud State University where he conducts the Men’s Choir. He received his undergraduate degree from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and  is currently the director of choral activities at Princeton High School, Princeton, Minnesota. He is also the artistic director and conductor of the East Central Minnesota Chorale in Cambridge, Minnesota. Mark was named ACDA-MN’s Outstanding Young Choral Director in 2008 and has served as editor of ACDA-MN’s award-winning newsletter, Star of the North. He eloquently states the case for the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund:

The FMC Endowment Fund is an immeasurable gift to Minnesota’s choral community. By promoting lifelong learning for ACDA-MN members through various scholarships, its impact is powerful, substantive, and enduring. As a recipient of a graduate study scholarship I was able to immerse myself in full-time studies at St. Cloud State University and take a temporary hiatus from the day-to-day business of teaching and managing a high school choral program. The result was a more meaningful learning experience that included time to process and to reflect upon my coursework. I returned to teaching eager to share my new discoveries with students and to incorporate a deeper understanding of choral music into all my conducting and teaching endeavors.

The experiences of Nicole and Mark exemplify the way in which ACDA-MN and the FMC Endowment Fund assist young Minnesota choral directors through scholarships and learning opportunities.

To support our scholarship programs, you can donate to the FMC Endowment.