Copyright 2014. East Central Minnesota Chorale. All rights reserved.
In spring of 2007, David Clarke retired as director of the Chorale. Mark Potvin, Vocal Music Instructor at Princeton High School, accepted the position of Artistic Director of the Chorale in September 2007.
Throughout the years the Chorale performed in several Cities in East Central Minnesota, and the Twin Cities. We performed at regional tours in Duluth, Grand Forks, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Rochester, Marshall, and other Minnesota towns. The Chorale performed at the State Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), as well as the ACDA Regional Convention in Lincoln, NE. Locally we give three concerts per season Christmas, mid-winter and spring.
The Chorale founded Unum Vox in 2010, an audition only honors choir that draws members from high schools across East Central Minnesota. Unum Vox and ECMC appear together during our concert season; the Unum Vox director is Tonya Barnes who also heads the choral program at North Branch Area High School.
Our repertoire includes everything from classical renaissance to contemporary choral selections and oratorios, to folk songs and spirituals, as well as Broadway and pops arrangements.
Traditionally, we invite local high school choirs to join us and Unum Vox at our Scholarship Concert in February, providing a unique experience for area high school singers.
After seven years of excellent leadership and outstanding choral programs, Mark Potvin retired from the Chorale Artistic Director position. We thank him for his contributions to the Chorale and are excited to begin the 2014-2015 concert season under the capable baton of Joseph Osowski.
In spring of 2010, ECMC applied for and received one of the inaugural Arts and Cultural Heritage ("Legacy") grants to form Unum Vox, a regional honor choir for students in schools that service Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine counties. Unum Vox (translated as "one Voice" and pronounced "oonoom vocks") is an elite choir designed to enrich the typical high school choir experience by allowing students from various schools to excel in a common pursuit of quality singing. The hope of the East Central Minnesota Chorale is to solicit the participation of serious 10-12 grade choral students from area schools to sing in an ensemble whose artistic capabilities cater to their desire to perform at the highest level possible. Unum Vox engages singers in conversations about choral literature, teaches healthy singing, and introduces students to music from a diverse set of world cultures. Student singers take the skills and experiences from weekly rehearsals home to share with their peers in the hopes of enhancing their leadership in their high school ensembles.
Mary Kay O'Neill earned her B. A. Degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN in elementary education and music, and an M. F. A. degree from University of Minnesota in organ performance and piano pedagogy. She has studied organ with Ruth Berge, Stephen Gabrielsen, and Heinrich Fleischer. Post-graduate piano study was with Celeste O'Brien at Augsburg College for five years, during which time she performed three recitals. Mary Kay is the organist, accompanist, and handbell choir director for Cambridge Lutheran Church, Cambridge, MN, a position she has held since 1987. She is a member of the Twin Cities Area Suzuki Piano Teachers Guild, having served as president for two years. As a certified Suzuki Piano teacher, she maintains a private studio in Cambridge, MN.
Joseph Osowski, Director of Choirs at St Michael - Albertville High School, previously served as choral director at Anoka-Hennepin and Washington School Districts. Choirs under his direction have been featured at numerous festivals throughout the region. Mr. Osowski has also served as Choral Director at Zion Lutheran Church in Anoka, MN and First United Methodist Church in Worthington, MN. He was also a staff member of the Rene Clausen Choral School. Osowski is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. He has served in these roles throughout the Midwest. Mr. Osowski is an active member of the Minnesota Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association, most recently serving as the North District chair for ACDA-MN. Joseph Osowski holds a Master of Music Degree in Music Education from North Dakota State University and a Bachelors Degree from the same institution.
David Clarke founded the East Central Minnesota Chorale in 1980. Clarke was choral director at Cambridge High School, and after leaving Cambridge, became Director of Music at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina. Dr. Dennis Port, now conductor of the Bethel University Choir, also served as director for a few years. Over 150 East Central Minnesota residents have been members of the Chorale. Some of our members have been involved since the Chorale's first year.
Angie O'Keefe, Representative-at-Large
Dick Schultz, Representative-at-Large
Marya Willert, Representative-at-Large
Renee King, Business Manager
Lorrie Larson, Representative-at-Large
Fred Nolan, Representative-at-Large
Jean Knight, President
Monte Dybvig, Vice President
Lowell Becker, Treasurer
Shirely Geib, Secretary
Jennifer Larson lives in New Hope with her husband and their three pets: a snake and two chinchillas. Jennifer has been playing piano for over 20 years. She started accompanying church choirs, orchestras, and soloists while in high school. Throughout college, she continued accompanying soloists, both vocal and instrumental. Upon graduation from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a K-12 Spanish teaching degree, she got a job at St. Francis Middle School teaching 8th grade World Language Class. In her four years working at St. Francis, Jennifer involved herself in the high school music program by accompanying choir concerts and solo/ensemble contests. She also played piano for the pit for each of the spring musicals. Jennifer is currently working for various companies teaching Spanish lessons to adults and children, tutoring Spanish students, and teaching Saturday intervention classes. She is staying musical by playing piano at her church, playing in a handbell choir, and accompanying Unum Vox!
Tonya Barnes, a native of Central Minnesota, has been teaching vocal music for the past ten years. She received her degree in Vocal Music Education from Cornell College in 2003 and went on to teach MS and HS in the North-Linn Community School district in Iowa. While teaching at this small school, she helped the students earn the school's first Division 1 rating in music. Wanting to be closer to home, Tonya moved back to Minnesota and taught HS choir at St. Francis where she was responsible for the school's yearly Madrigal Dinners and Vocal Direction of the school musical. Currently, she is the vocal instructor for North Branch High School. She maintains her own private voice studio in her home in Coon Rapids. She continues to perform as a singer in the Northern Lights Chorale, where she serves as Soprano Section Leader, Marketing Chair and soloist. She loves spending time with her husband, Ben, and their two children.