BEMIDJI CHORALE: YESTERDAY & TODAYThe Chorale began rehearsing in 1979. It was the brainchild of Lyle Jewel and a small group of area music educators who saw a need in the community. They wanted to provide an opportunity for area vocalists to come together to sing challenging choral literature, and also provide another quality concert venue for the Bemidji area. Lyle Jewell was the Chorale’s founding conductor, followed by Dr. Paul Brandvik, Chris Fettig, and Sarah Aamodt. Patricia Mason, one of the charter members, has been the conductor since 1997. The thriving and vibrant Chorale is growing in both numbers and musicality, while still retaining some charter members. The group is very fortunate to have Wayne Hoff as their accompanist.
The Chorale rehearses from September to May, presenting concerts the first week in December and on Mother’s Day each year. The group has also performed several times at conventions for the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association and the American Choral Director’s Association. Membership in the Chorale is made up of choral musicians of all ages and from a large geographical area surrounding Bemidji. They have performed a wide variety of styles from different music periods, including many larger works such as the Bach “Magnificat,” and the John Rutter “Gloria.” The Chorale has also combined with the Bemidji State University Choir and the Bemidji Symphony on several occasions, performing works such as Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” the Brahms Requiem, Handel’s “Messiah”, the Mozart Requiem, the Rutter Requiem, and the Defiant Requiem.
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