Last year the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists opened its season with a program of music from 15 different countries and in eight different languages.
This year, however, the choir is kicking off its 39th season with a concert that hits much closer to home called “Made in Minnesota: Music from the Land of 10,000 Choirs” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church.
“Made in Minnesota” features music by more than a dozen composers from the North Star State, including René Clausen, Stephen Paulus, Jake Runestad, Timothy Takach, Jocelyn Hagen and more.
“We often spend much of our time looking far and wide for interesting music to perform, and the truth is that no other state in the country can claim as extensive a choral background as Minnesota,” says FM Choral Artists Director Dr. Michael Culloton. “Many of the great choral traditions from around the country have roots here in Minnesota, and so I wanted to showcase a number of influential composers, both past and present, to start this season.”
The FM Choral Artists has performed choral music of all styles and music periods for the community since it was first established as the FM Chamber Chorale in 1980.
Currently, the choir is comprised of over 60 talented men and women from both sides of the Red River.
“Made in Minnesota” will give audience members the opportunity to “hear living, breathing works of art that were not written by people centuries ago, but rather by living artists who are composing for their daily bread, so to say,” Culloton says.
“In this way, I believe that we can continue to contribute to the art form while cultivating an appreciation for some of the young and emerging voices of composers from Minnesota and North Dakota,” he continues.
One of the composers, René Clausen, is from right here in Moorhead.
Clausen has been the conductor of the Concordia Choir for more than three decades, and this weekend, the FM Choral Artists are performing a piece of his called “Prayer.” This will serve as a teaser for when the choir teams up with the FM Symphony in April to debut a brand new piece that Clausen is writing as you read this article.
Culloton has worked with a number of the composers, like Tim Takach and Jocelyn Hagen, who were part of his dissertation in 2013. Another composer happens to be Culloton’s twin brother, Matthew Culloton, a conductor of a professional choir in Minneapolis.
But the concert will also feature pieces by composers the choir hasn’t worked with before, Culloton says.
“(‘Made in Minnesota’) is a very eclectic concert that I think will be very, very enjoyable for our audience members and our singers,” he says.
Tickets to the FM Choral Artists “Made in Minnesota: Music from the Land of 10,000 Choirs” concert are $15 for adults, $5 for students, and are available at fmchoralartists.org or at the door. All tickets purchased online will be at the will call table at Trinity Lutheran Church (210 7th St. S. in Moorhead) before each concert.
To see the FM Choral Artists full schedule for its 39th season, click here.
All photos are courtesy of Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists.