FMC 151st Anniversary Concert summary
Thank you to all those who attended, performed, and contributed to two amazing performances celebrating the 151st birth anniversary of Minnesota’s own F. Melius Christiansen, the ‘father of North American a cappella choral music’ and founder of the St. Olaf Choir. This historic celebration illustrated the passion and dedication of the choral community throughout Minnesota and our country as 327 performers from six choirs performed for an audience of over 2800 at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, November 20.
Two previous anniversary observances in 1996 and 2006 directly established and grew ACDA-MN’s F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund whose principal fund balance recently surpassed one million dollars. Since its establishment in 1996, the interest from the Fund has supported 567 Minnesota choral directors to receive scholarships to pursue graduate studies and attend professional development conferences.
Over the years as donations continued flowing into the Fund, many from audience members of these previous anniversary events, the Fund was able to additionally support needs-based students in grades 4-10 to fully participate in the ACDA-MN state honor choir program. Since 2021, growth of the Fund has been able to support 8 choirs with travel expenses to perform at the annual state conference. And since the pandemic, the Fund has been able to keep the doors open of our organization by supporting the ACDA-MN general budget for our full-time executive staff, thereby reducing the overall financial burden on the organization which helps to keep State Conference and Summer Dialogue registration rates low for our members.
The recent FMC 151st anniversary event recorded 439 new donors, 148 corporate and individual sponsors, and 28 advertisers, who contributed over $122,000 in support of ACDA-MN as it seeks to purpose these proceeds to develop and support new and ongoing diversity initiatives programming into the future.
ACDA-MN is grateful for the contributions of the following choirs and their conductors who performed in these historic concerts:
The Augsburg Choir • Kristina Boerger, conductor
The Concordia Choir • Michael Culloton, conductor
Concordia University Christus Chorus • David Mennicke, conductor
The Gustavus Choir • Brandon Dean, conductor
National Lutheran Choir • David Cherwien, conductor
St. Olaf Choir • Anton Armstrong, conductor
Finally, kudos goes to Bruce Becker whose vision created and produced the two original 1996 and 2006 anniversary events, and who coordinated the 2022 celebration at St. Olaf College and Orchestra Hall with members of the FMC Endowment Fund Committee. Coordinating an event for hundreds of performers, and thousands of ticket buyers is complex enough, much less having to navigate the effects of COVID-19. ACDA-MN is indebted to all these leaders (past and present) for their steadfast work in helping to establish the FMC Endowment Fund and for supporting new diversity initiatives within our organization.