Land of Lakes Choirboys
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The Land of Lakes Choirboys is a nonprofit boy choir organization based in Elk River, Minnesota in the United States. Consisting of six individual choir ensembles, the organization performs in local, national, and international locations. Through a series of training programs, choristers are taught arts of music, leadership, respect, honor and other elements of human integrity. Known for singing works of various musicians such as Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, the choristers sing religious and secular music. The Land of Lakes Choirboys are supported by various organizations and individual donors.
Land of Lakes Choirboys was founded by Craig Carmody-Anderson in 1976. It consisted of a single choir and depended on the community and a school building to support choir events. Beginning with eighteen members and conducted by Anderson himself, the organization continued to grow. Deciding it was important to perform for different audiences, the Choir purchased a motor coach in 1984. This allowed the Choir to conduct tours and provide transportation. To compensate for limited space, the Choir purchased several acres of land and an old schoolhouse building near Elk River, Minnesota in 1991. This is where the organization functioned, holding its choir rehearsals and activities.
To create its own unique sound, the Choir began searching for a new conductor. Born in New Zealand, Francis Stockwell was hired. Stockwell was a music director at a school in Switzerland and had experience working with the Vienna Boys' Choir. The Choir then established a second ensemble that was used to train choristers until they were invited into the touring choir. Anderson directed the training choir while Stockwell directed the touring choir.
In 2002, the State of Minnesota ordered the condemnation of the choir's land to construct a highway overpass. Rehearsals and activities were temporarily held inside of a local church building, until the choir purchased a facility near St. Francis, Minnesota. Through time, the choir grew large enough for the organization to hire Aaron Carpenter. Carpenter took the direction of two new training choirs and later the national touring choir.
In February 2010, one of their former choirboys took over as Executive Director. P.J. Fanberg was a choirboy from 1994-1997. In the fall of 2011 Mr. Stockwell and Mr. Anderson left the group. After the departure of Mr. Stockwell, Associate Director Aaron Carpenter was promoted to the position of Artistic Director. Mr. Carpenter then brought on two Associate Directors, Corinne Olinger and Taylor Quinn.
In 2013, the choir sold its property in St. Francis and moved back into the heart of Elk River, MN now sharing a rehearsal and office space with Elk River Lutheran Church on Main Street. Mr. Carpenter also was appointed Executive Director to replace the outgoing Mr. Fanberg.
- The Prep Choir is the first, but optional stage in vocal training. This choir features boys aged five, six, and seven. Conducted by Olinger, these boys are introduced to singing through movement, acting and unison song. They perform twice every year and rehearse for a short time once every week.
- The Training Choir features boys aged 8–12. These boys are taught the basics of singing, breathing, note reading and vocal production. Choristers are conducted by Carpenter and often perform with the Voyager Choir. Having adopted the Royal School of Church Music of America's Voice for Life program, these boys begin at the white level and advance through the dark blue levels.
- The Concert Choir features boys aged 8–14. Conducted by Carpenter, these choristers rehearse twice every week and have one personal voice lesson per month. They are introduced to further vocal development and perform for national and international audiences.
For the Man's Voice
- Land of Lakes Men's Chorus, features boys from previous choirs whose voices have changed, as well as their fathers and men from the community. This choir works to develop the changed voice and sings with the Concert Choir as well as alone. It is under the direction of Quinn.
- The only boys’ choir outside of Germany to have received the honor of opening the International Bach Festival in Ratingen, Germany, in June 1999, with a full concert.
- Winner of the 2004 International Trebby Award for 'Best Boys’ Choir Album” with its CD “Steal Away.
- 2006 Grand Champion of Cruise Festivals Music Festivals.
- Winner of the Gold diploma in the qualifying around in Category 1 (Children's choirs) at the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria; July, 2008
- Winner of the Gold diploma in the qualifying around in Category 17 (Sacred Music) at the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria; July, 2008
- Winner of the Silver Medal in the competition round in Category 1 (Children's choirs) at the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria; July, 2008
- Winner of the Silver Medal in the competition round in Category 17 (Sacred Music) at the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria; July, 2008
- Inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the only Minnesota Children's Choir with such an honor; November, 2009
- 2010 Grand Champion of Cruise Festivals Music Festivals.
Each of the following are recordings of the Viking Choir or former touring choir.
- An Evening With the Land of Lakes Choirboys (1999)
- For the Joy of Singing (2000)
- Let Us All Be Grateful (2002)
- Home For Christmas (2003)
- Steal Away (2004)
- All Ye Who Music Love (2005)
- The Voice of the Children (2007)
- Gold & Silver (2008)
- Boys Singing, Bells Ringing (2010)
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