Article Written by Grace Jacobson — Assistant Editor.  Photos provided by Dr. Lara M Moline.

St. Cloud State University Department of Music hosted its 13th annual Big Sing Festival on Oct. 14.

High school honor choirs from around the St. Cloud area joined the St. Cloud State Concert Choir and Chamber Singers on Friday to rehearse for the evening concert.

Participating high school honor choirs included: Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Breckenridge, Eden Valley Watkins, Monticello, Paynesville Area, St. Cloud Cathedral, St. Cloud Christian, St. Michael-Albertville and Orono.

“Big Sing provides local high school students with an opportunity to work with composers and conductors outside their program,” said Dr. Lara M. Moline, St. Cloud State University Choral Director. “It also gives students a chance to visit SCSU’s campus and see the music facility in hopes that they further their studies at SCSU.”

All 206 choir students rehearsed on the St. Cloud State campus for seven hours throughout the day with this year’s guest composer and conductor Timothy C. Takach.

Takach is a full-time composer whose work is showcased in many different All-State and festival programs across the country. He is a graduate from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. His wife, Jocelyn Hagen, is also a composer. The couple currently live in Minneapolis with their two children.

“We are very excited to have Tim as our guest composer this year,” said Dr. Moline. “His music resonates with all ages of choral singers.”

The two-hour Big Sing concert began at 5 p.m. in Stewart Hall’s Kimberly A. Ritsche Auditorium with SCSU students and staff admitted free and public attendees paying $5 per ticket. All ticket proceeds go to the Department of Music.

St. Cloud State Chamber Singers opened the concert with an arrangement of Jamie Cullum’s “Mind Trick,” featuring student soloist Winston Johnson and students Brandon Kain, bass, Cole Grundhoefer, guitar, and Joseph Sicora, drums. The singers then performed Gary Rosen’s arrangement of “Blackbird” by The Beatles and finished off their performance with an arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” featuring student soloist Caitlin Hutchcraft and students Kain, Grundhoefer and Sicora.

The St. Cloud State Concert Choir followed the Chamber Singers’ performance with “My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose,” “Hold Fast to Dreams” and “Cantate Domino,” conducted by Dr. Moline.

Monticello High School A Capella Choir took the stage next to perform its three-song set. Conducted by Nathan Herfindahl, the a capella choir sang “Sing Me to Heaven,” “Lunar Lullaby” and “The Music of Living.” Herfindahl asked audience members to hold their applause until the end of the last song.

St. Michael-Albertville Concert Choir performed fourth in the program with “Kyrie (from Missa Rigensis),” “Alleluia,” “Give Me Jesus” and “Way Over in Beulah Lan’,” conducted by Joe Osowski.

The Big Sing Festival Choir took the stage last to showcase its seven-hours of hard work with four songs.

The festival choir sang “One Step,” “Amplify,” “A Mural of Change” and “Heroes and Dreamers.” Takach conducted “One Step,” composed by Jocelyn Hagen; and “Amplify” and “A Mural of Change,” composed by Takach himself.

Dr. Moline conducted “Heroes and Dreamers,” composed by Pinkzebra, with students Brandon Kain, bass, and Joseph Sicora, drums.

“It was super cool to see all of the schools come together to sing as one big group,” said Chris Schmidt, concert attendee. “I really enjoyed it [the concert], and I’m glad I went.”

The St. Cloud State Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will perform in concert again on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in St. Mary’s Cathedral located downtown St. Cloud.


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