The amount of creative and artistic talent south of the river is quite amazing to consider sometimes. In this case I am thinking about the vocal talents of the students in school district 196 and this even includes younger children. So what am I talking about?
Well on Sunday evening Oct 30th 2011 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, MN the Dakota Valley Choral Festival was held. This was apparently the 35th year of this festival and the church was packed for very good reason. This festival is so well run and the level of talent is so high that the show gives the listener the impression that they are listening to a college choir.
There were four choirs from the local high schools of the district, Apple Valley with director Joel Beyer and accompanist Bill Blatzheim,
Eagan directed by Randy Schafer with accompanist Margaret Boehlke, Eastview directed by Greg Douma accompanist again Margaret Boehlke and Rosemount with director Steven Albaugh accompanist Judy Sagen and there was the Dakota Valley Festival Children’s choir directed by Kari Douma and Kelley Sundin accompanist Kellie LeClair.
So each choir presented several pieces on their own presenting a dazzling array of choral styles eras. Of course the little tykes stole the show because of their great energy and antics that they used to present their material.
After each choir presented then all the choirs got together to create a triumphant mass choir. This large choir was conducted by Dr. Angela Broeker from the University of ST. Thomas and the accompanist with Mark Johnson.
The evening was concluded with the Battle Hymn of the Republic and of course the entire audience was invited to sing along. I am sure you can imagine the power, energy and pride that were displayed while that song was being sung, it was pure pleasure.
The only way an astonishing festival like this can go on year after year is by the commitment and support of the entire school district leadership, the school principles, the music departments of each school and the retired choral leaders in the community that continue to give above and beyond what would be expected of any mere mortals and I for one am a very grateful community parent. I thank you all and I salute you.
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