F. Melius Christiansen 151st Anniversary Concerts
Sunday, November 20, 2022
2:00 and 6:30 pm
Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis MN
Celebrate this historic occasion with
Kristina Boerger, conductor
Kristina Boerger received her formative training from pianist Annie Sherter and holds the choral doctorate from the University of Illinois. She has directed choral programs in the WI and IL public schools and at Carroll University and the DePauw School of Music, also serving the University of Illinois as Interim Director of Choral Activities. While professionally based in Manhattan, she taught music history at Barnard and choral conducting at the Manhattan School. Her philosophy of arts for liberation is rooted in study and teaching with Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute. She is Augsburg’s Schwartz Professor of Choral Leadership.
Manhattan-based ensembles under Boerger’s direction earned acclaim in the New York Times for performances of ancient and contemporary music, Baroque opera, and 19th-century symphonic works. Significant premieres conducted include Lisa Bielawa’s “Lamentations for a City” (with Cerddorion, on the Tzadik label) and Xavier Pagès-Corella’s “Audito è un canto” (in Barcelona, with The Rose Ensemble). Minnesota conducting credits include the SPCO’s Northside Celebration and the Page Theater’s A Path of Miracles with San Francisco’s ODC/Dance.
Her work in the 1990s as Founding Director of AMASONG: Champaign-Urbana’s Premiere Lesbian/Feminist Choir earned her the 1999 GLAMA for Best Classical Composition and AMASONG the 1997 and 1999 GLAMAs for Best Choral Performance and is the subject of a PBS documentary aired nationally in 2004.
Boerger’s vocal credits include touring/recording with Early Music New York, Pomerium, Bobby McFerrin, and Western Wind. A veteran of The Rose Ensemble, she is a current performer with the Mirandola Ensemble.
The Augsburg Choir
The Augsburg Choir was founded in 1933, when the Men’s Glee Club and the Ladies’ Choral Society united under Henry P. Opseth. The first student choir president was Leland B. Sateren ’35, who succeeded Ospeth in 1950. Over three decades, Sateren cultivated the choir’s contemporary classical tone, establishing professional standards of musicianship and commitment. Concert programs featured works by Sateren and by Scandinavian composers unfamiliar in the U.S. Shortly before retiring, Sateren led the choir in a 40th-anniversary tour to Scandinavia.
Under Sateren’s successor Larry L. Fleming, the choir performed as official U.S. representative to the 450th commemoration of the Augsburg Confession, held in Augsburg, Germany. Directors since the Fleming era include Thomas D. Rossin, alumni Peter Hendrickson ’76, serving two decades, and Mark Sedio ’76, serving two Interim years during a period of radical transition in Augsburg choir culture.
In 2018, John N. Schwartz ’67 endowed a Professorship for a choral leader prepared to ensure performance excellence, globalized repertoires, interdisciplinary interest, and civic engagement in experiences accessible to the Augsburg student body of today.
Highlights since Boerger’s 2018 appointment include: performance with local and visiting professionals (The Rose Ensemble, Mirandola Ensemble, Incantare, Jarabe Mexicano); premiere with Harding H.S. of a commissioned setting of local Hmong poetry; choral execution in Reinaldo Moya’s opera Tienda; interdisciplinary foci on the politics of clean-water access and on histories of anti-fascist resistance; innovative execution, during COVID isolation, of 6-part Renaissance polyphony via interactive software; and direct study with international culture-bearers via the Augsburg Twin Cities Global Harmony Choir.
Michael Culloton, conductor
Michael Culloton is Director of Choral Activities, conductor of The Concordia Choir, and the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He teaches vocal music education and church music courses, serves as campus supervisor for student teachers, advises the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and leads the Minnesota All-State Lutheran Choir. He also conducts the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists and Trinity Lutheran Church Cathedral Choir.
Previously, Dr. Culloton conducted the Chapel Choir, Cantabile, and Kantorei at Concordia, and was the artistic director of Choral Arts Ensemble and Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College where he studied with René Clausen, and his Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Maurice Skones. His Doctor of Musical Arts degree is from NDSU, where he studied with Jo Ann Miller and Michael Weber.
Dr. Culloton has taught at Luther College and Winona Senior High School, and has served as assistant and interim conductor of the National Lutheran Choir. He is co-editor of the Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc. ACDA of MN has recognized him as the Young Conductor of the Year and he also received the ACDA/VocalEssence Creative Programming Award for his work with Choral Arts Ensemble. In 2009, he was featured in Never Stop Singing, a documentary about the history of choral music in Minnesota.
The Concordia Choir
The Concordia Choir of Moorhead, Minnesota, continues to affirm its reputation as one of America’s finest a cappella choirs. Since 1920, the 72-voice choir has performed in nearly every major hall including Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center as well as numerous international venues.
A February 2010 performance and recording session with the Grammy Award-winning King’s Singers and numerous National and Division ACDA Conference performances highlight the choir’s world-class quality. In May 2017, the choir toured Germany and Austria to observe the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Concordia College.
The Concordia Choir is featured in the Emmy Award-winning Concordia Christmas Concerts, which are nationally broadcast on public television. The choir’s recordings are distributed nationally and internationally through Concordia Recordings and digitally through iTunes, making it one of the top-selling choirs in the country.
Dr. Michael Culloton is the fourth conductor in The Concordia Choir’s history, assuming the role in 2020 following former conductor René Clausen’s retirement after 34 years conducting the ensemble. Prior to this, the choir was conducted by Paul J. Christiansen from 1937-1986 and Herman Monson from its founding in 1920 to 1937.
David Mennicke, conductor
Dr. David L. Mennicke is a Professor of Music in the Concordia University, St. Paul Music Department, where he has been Director of Choral Studies since 1989. He has been the Director of the Chorale and Men’s Choir at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis since 1996. He graduated summa cum laude from St. Olaf College, with M.M. and DMA degrees from the University of Arizona. He has studied with Kenneth Jennings, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Maurice Skones, and Dale Warland.
Mennicke has been a clinician and/or guest conductor for over 300 festivals and guest choirs in the U.S., the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, including the ACDA of MN All-State Children’s Choir, the MMEA All-State Tenor/Bass Choir, Lutheran Summer Music, the National Lutheran Choir, and Singers in Accord. ACDA of Minnesota awards include: “Outstanding Young Director,” “Creative Programming Award,” “Minnesota Choral Director of the Year,” and the World Choral Symposium Grant. Under his direction, the Concordia University Christus Chorus was a National Finalist in the America Prize competition in 2017.
He has numerous choral compositions, services, music education materials, and articles published. He is active as a professional singer, having sung in the Grammy Award-winning Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, and was the section leader in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorales. He currently is a tenor section leader in the Minnesota Chorale. His wife, Katherine, has sung and accompanied the Christus Chorus, and their three daughters all sang with him in the CSP choirs.
Concordia University Christus Chorus
The Christus Chorus is the auditioned concert choir of Concordia University, St. Paul. The group began in 1952. Choir members represent many of CSP’s 100+ majors. They participate in Concordia’s annual Christmas Concerts and sing regularly for CSP’s chapel services. The choir tours and records annually, with international tours every four years, included an invited appearance from the Polish government at the 2000 Gaude Mater Festival, choir-in-residence for the 2004 Thomaskirche (Leipzig, Germany) Pentecost Vespers, a 2008 concert/service tour to Ghana, a 2012 South Korea tour that included collaborations with several professional choirs (including the Incheon City Chorale), and a 2016 tour to Germany/Poland.
The Christus Chorus has sung for several conventions of the Minnesota Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. They have also performed for the national conferences of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Great Commission Convocation, the Lutheran Education Association, and the College Music Society. They were a 2017 National Finalist in the College/University division of The American Prize non-profit competition in the performing arts. They performed in the F. Melius Christiansen 135th Anniversary Gala Concerts.
The Christus Chorus has received seven invitations to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1997, including performances of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and the world premiere of Re-Formation by Sebastian Currier in November 2017. The choir has worked with internationally renowned guest conductors such as Dale Warland, Eph Ehly, Paul Salamunovich, Edith Copley, André Thomas, Karen Kennedy, Janet Galván, and Francisco Nuñez.
Brandon Dean, conductor
Dr. Brandon Dean serves as the Jon and Anita Thomsen Young Distinguished Chair in Music and Conductor of the Gustavus Choir. In addition to his conducting duties, he also teaches beginning and advanced conducting, coordinates the choral music education program, and serves as music director for Christmas in Christ Chapel.
Frequently appearing as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Dr. Dean recently served on the international panel of adjudicators for the World Choir Games and appeared at the National Conducting Symposium with the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Dr. Dean received the 2014 Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence at Gustavus.
Prior to his appointment at Gustavus in 2011, Dr. Dean completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
The Gustavus Choir
Now in its 90th year, the Gustavus Choir is the flagship choir in an active and highly integrated choral program that is comprised of over 250 students in eight ensembles. Rooted in its Lutheran choral heritage, the choir performs fine sacred music from all historical periods but also champions new music by contemporary composers. The choir has premiered commissioned works of noted composers including Elaine Hagenberg, Eric Whitacre, Stephen Paulus, Imant Raminsh, and Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.
The Gustavus Choir maintains an extensive annual touring schedule throughout the United States and travels abroad every four years. Over the past 40 years, the choir has appeared at cathedrals, conservatories, and cultural centers in Scandinavia, Russia, Asia, South Africa, and dozens of European countries.
Recent international tour venues have included St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Notre Dame in Paris, Stephansdom in Vienna, Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, Scholosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg, and Hedvig Eleonora in Stockholm. The choir is frequently invited to perform at professional conferences and performed for the King and Queen of Sweden in 2012. Members of the choir represent a broad spectrum of academic and life interests while sharing a common passion for the choral experience.
David Cherwien, conductor
David Cherwien, Artistic Director of the National Lutheran Choir, is a nationally known conductor, composer, and organist. Recognized for his contributions to the field of church music and liturgy, he is in demand as a clinician and hymn festival leader across the country.
David serves as Cantor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, a parish known for its passion for traditional liturgy and creative, high-quality music. He also serves as editor of the National Lutheran Choir Series of choral music published by Morningstar Music Publishers. David is a founding member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and has served in its leadership in a variety of capacities, including as National President. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, American Guild of Organists, Chorus America, and Choristers Guild.
David Cherwien is a prolific composer with hundreds of publications with several publishers, and is the 2007 winner of the Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition for his piece, “The Souls of the Righteous.” For the National Lutheran Choir alone, Cherwien has composed nearly 30 new works during his tenure with the Choir.
National Lutheran Choir
Under the direction of Dr. David Cherwien, the 60 plus member National Lutheran Choir’s artistry is rooted in its mission to strengthen, renew and preserve the heritage of sacred choral music through the highest standards of performance and literature.
Founded in 1986 by the late Dr. Larry Fleming, the National Lutheran Choir sings a spiritual story through diverse repertoire–from early chant and simple folk anthems to complex choral masterworks and new compositions. Currently in its 37th year, the National Lutheran Choir features a roster of 60 committed volunteer singers from all backgrounds and many faiths.
In addition to concertizing, the National Lutheran Choir enjoys frequent broadcasts on public radio and thousands of views on its YouTube channel of selected performances and concert streams. A discography of 35 recordings showcases the ensemble’s music making over the years and features hymns, choral classics, contemporary works, spirituals and major new works commissioned by the National Lutheran Choir. Much of this influential new work is featured in “The National Lutheran Choir Series,” published by MorningStar Music. The choir was most recently awarded the Dale Warland Commissioning Award for its most recent commission, Steve Heitzeg’s “Lament of the Earth.”
Anton Armstrong, conductor
Anton Armstrong is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Chair in Music, Professor of Music at St. Olaf College and Conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, a position he assumed in 1990. Under his leadership and vision, the choir has remained a pacesetter in performing a varied program that remains committed to music of the sacred realm while welcoming new and multicultural perspectives from composers around the world.
He came to this position following ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served on the faculty of Calvin College and conducted the Campus Choir, the Calvin College Alumni Choir and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. A graduate of St. Olaf College, Anton Armstrong earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. He holds membership in several professional societies including the American Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, Chorus America, and the International Federation for Choral Music. He also serves as editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
Dr. Armstrong is widely recognized for his work in the area of youth and children’s choral music. He served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School, Princeton, New Jersey and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75 voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-1990. He is the founding conductor of the Troubadours, 30-voice boys’ ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs since 1991. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. In June 2022, he will assume the position of Chair of the National Board of Chorus America.
St. Olaf Choir
For more than a century, the St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong, has set the gold standard for choral singing, performing for millions around the world. Composed of 75 mixed voices, the St. Olaf Choir is hailed as one of the nation’s premier a cappella ensembles, renowned for its artistry and beauty of sound.
The St. Olaf Choir was founded in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, whose work established the ensemble’s standard of excellence and its tradition of bringing music to audiences outside of campus. Christiansen chose spiritually profound music and pushed student musicians to perfect a tone that was disciplined, controlled, and free of excessive vibrato. That sound — securely in tune, controlled in pitch, smooth in delivery — became the choir’s hallmark.
When Armstrong took the helm in 1990, his vast knowledge of music and his ability to articulate a vision to singers and audiences alike took the St. Olaf Choir to the next level, adding more flavor to its signature sound and further expanding its repertoire to include music of the Pacific Rim, Africa, and Latin America.
Under Armstrong’s leadership, the choir continues to expand its touring horizons, engaging capacity audiences in major concert halls throughout the United States and worldwide. The ensemble has toured internationally 15 times. Most recently, in June 2019, the St. Olaf Choir toured Norway for two weeks with the St. Olaf Orchestra.
ACDA-MN will honor the Covid-19 mitigation protocols in place at Orchestra Hall that could include showing proof of updated vaccination status and required masking. Updated information will be posted on this site.
For further information contact
Bruce W. Becker, Concert Coordinator
Sponsored by the
American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN)
F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund Committee
Proceeds from this benefit concert will assist ACDA-MN as it develops and supports new and ongoing diversity initiatives programming.