To Inspire & Support a Community of Choral Musicians in Our State

The Star of the North magazine is official publication of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN). It is published online only three times a year in Fall, Winter, and Spring. The magazine is part of ACDA-MN organization to be the choral director’s source for engaging and ongoing professional development.


Recognizing the broad diversity of cultures and beliefs by our member directors, by our singers, and by all those touched by performances of choral music, ACDA of Minnesota reaffirms its commitment to balance and diversity in programming. It is important that we, as the leading proponents of choral art in our state, actively encourage and model sensitivity to and awareness of diversity, particularly with regard to sacred and secular repertoire. We recommend that no more than fifty percent of the literature chosen for Honors Choirs, All-State Choirs and Pick Six packets contain music with sacred text. Performances and lists pertaining to music in worship are exempt.

Adopted by the ACDA of Minnesota Executive Board, January 13, 1996


  • 1991 — Ken Hodgson, Editor — Bruce W. Becker, President
  • 1997 — Mark Howarth, Editor — Allan Hawkins, President
  • 1999 — Mark Howarth, Editor — David Dickau, President
  • 2003 — David Scholz, Editor — Ken Hodgson, President
  • 2005 — Ryan Connolly, Editor — Kathryn Larson, President
  • 2007 — Kari Douma, Editor — Mary Kay Geston, President
  • 2009 — Kari Douma, Editor — Judy Sagen, President
  • 2011 — Mark Potvin, Editor — Brian Stubbs, President
  • 2013 — Bret Amundson, Editor — Steven Albaugh, President
program discontinued in 2015

Articles may be submitted to the copy editor for consideration:

Peter J. Durow
Star of the North Editor
Phone: 573-587-2223

All website contents are © Copyright of ACDA-MN and may not be copied, reproduced and distributed in any form without specific written permission from ACDA-MN.

Each article can be saved as PDF file or printed (see the buttons at the bottom of each article & page, including this page) for your personal use only.


On behalf of the Star of the North editorial team, we thank you for engaging in the work of equity and for pursuing peace and justice that enhances the social and emotional well-being of our communities.

Peter J. Durow

Managing Editor

Peter J. Durow is a conductor and composer working in the field of music education. He began his tenue as the Artistic Director of From Age to Age, a chamber choir of young professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2016. Dr. Durow has taught at the Secondary and University levels and as worked as a church musician in Minnesota, Texas, Indiana, Florida, New York, and Missouri. Peter’s compositions and arrangements are published in the Henry Leck Choral Series and Rodney Eichenberger Choral Series with Colla Voce Music, LLC; the Peter J. Durow Choral Series with Heritage Music Press; MusicSpoke; The Sacred Music Press; and VocalEssence Music Press in the Graphite Marketplace. Peter enjoys serving ACDA-MN as the managing editor of the Star of the North. He lives with his wife Jodi, and their two children in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Miriam Augsburger

Associate Editor

Miriam Augsburger holds a B.A. in Music Education from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. She received her M.A. in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa in 2015, studying under Dr. Timothy Stalter. Miriam is in her twelfth year of teaching, and has taught at all levels K-12. She is currently the 7-12 choir director at Rockford Area Schools in Rockford, MN.

Miriam serves on the editorial board of The Star of the North, volunteers as a church musician, and is active as an accompanist.

Richard Carrick

Associate Editor

Richard Carrick is a conductor, clinician, singer, and educator. He is the Director of Choral Activities at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Richard holds a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington where he studied with Geoffrey Boers and Giselle Wyers.

Erik Doucette

Associate Editor

Erik Doucette is a conductor, vocalist, and writer living in Minneapolis. In his short career, he has worked with high school, college & university, and church choirs, sung as a professional chorister, coached conductors-in-training, and directed music in theater. Erik studied Music, Latin, and Modern History at the University of Minnesota, Voice and Conducting at Eastern Michigan University, and Conducting, further, at the University of Iowa. Currently, Erik serves as an associate editor for Star of the North – the publication of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota – and he writes the Diligent Dirigent newsletter on Substack. In his free time, he tries to put a dent in his to-read list, studies and tutors in languages, takes long walks with his pup, Ava, attempts to catch up on movies and TV, and spends time with his partner, Claire.

Dennis Friesen-Carper

Associate Editor

Dennis Friesen-Carper is a versatile conductor, composer, and keyboardist with performances in major venues of North America, China, and Europe. Former Music Director of the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and Indiana Opera North, he is experienced with orchestras and choirs in professional, academic, and church settings. He is active as guest conductor and composer, most recently at Shanghai University, Wuhan Conservatory, and with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra of Warsaw. Dr. Friesen-Carper serves as Music Director at St John’s Lutheran Church in Lakeville, MN and is teaching conducting and leading the Philharmonia Orchestra for Spring 2022 at St Olaf College. In December of 2022 he will conduct the Asian Cultural Symphony in concert in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Commissioners include the Houston Symphony, Houston Chamber Singers, Tucson Symphony, Zhejiang Symphony and Symphony Chorus, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, Lutheran Music Program, and Augsburg Fortress, with recent sacred works premiered in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Innocents, his oratorio with Walter Wangerin, Jr. on the abuse of power, received the 2010 Arlin G. Meyer Prize.

As Reddel Professor of Music at Valparaiso University, Dr. Friesen-Carper created the all-student Symphony, conducted opera, musicals, and oratorio, taught composition, conducting, and improvisation. He has collaborated with Chinese musicians for over twenty years, including keyboards and arrangements for three tours with Silk Cedar, a Chinese/American fusion band.

Garrett Lathe

Associate Editor

My path to conducting choirs began my junior year of high school, taking rehearsals when my choir director when on an unexpectedly early maternity leave. Little did I know that day when I volunteered out of curiousity how incredible the journey that was about to start. My training brought me to North Central University, under Dr. Larry Bach, then to Bemidji State University, under Dr. Paul Brandvik. I have completed my coursework in the master’s program at St. Cloud State University. My early teaching career found me in Red Lake, Bagley, and Staples. I spent twelve wonderful years in Sartell, building a program of 250 singers in a school of under one thousand. In 2005, along with a wonderful group of volunteers, I founded the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota.

Kira Winter

Associate Editor

Dr. Kira Winter is an assistant professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota where she conducts The Concordia Chapel Choir, Kantorei, and Cantabile. Dr. Winter teaches courses in conducting, aural skills, and serves as campus supervisor for student teachers. She is an active guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Alongside her work at Concordia, Dr. Winter serves as Organist and Choirmaster at Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral in Fargo, North Dakota.

Winter holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting with a secondary area of study in vocal performance from The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where she studied with Kathy Saltzman Romey, Matthew Mehaffey, and Wendy Zaro-Mullins; a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Boston University where she studied with Ann Howard Jones; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from St. Olaf College where she studied with Sigrid Johnson and Anton Armstrong.

Bruce W. Becker

Executive Director

I was born and raised in rural St. James, Minnesota and graduated from St. James High School. I received my B.A. degree in Vocal Music Education from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD and my M.A. degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas. I had the pleasure of teaching for 36 years and served in five Minnesota high schools: St. Cloud Apollo, New Ulm, Irondale, Robbinsdale Armstrong, and the last 21 years at Apple Valley. The final three years of my tenure were spent as a Peer Leader (teacher mentor and cognitive coach) implementing the Q Comp program in District 196.

I joined ACDA as a student member back in 1972 and at the time, it was the best $5 investment in my continued learning as a choral director. I had the privilege of serving as ACDA-MN State President and as ACDA North Central Division President. One of the career and organizational highlights for me was serving as Program Chair for the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music and the International Choral Festival. I began my tenure as your Executive Director in the fall of 2009.