School Spotlight: Princeton High School Concert Choir

by Claire Philpott, Minnesota Public Radio
September 24, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — To celebrate students returning to school, Classical MPR is launching School Spotlight. Each Tuesday in September, an outstanding student music ensemble will be featured on Classical MPR. Watch for other ensembles to be highlighted throughout the school year.

Through School Spotlight, Classical MPR hopes to share the great music being made in Minnesota schools.

The audio featured today is from the 2013 MMEA mid-winter clinic performance of the Princeton High School Concert Choir, directed by Mark Potvin.

7:15 a.m.

  • Glory to God from Messiah by Georg Friedrich Handel


7:15 p.m.

  • Zum Sanctus from Deutsche Messe D. 872 by Franz Schubert


The Princeton High School (PHS) Concert Choir is a select ensemble of about 56 singers in grades 10-12, and it meets every day for 65 minutes. Given how dedicated the participants must be to commit so much time, it is no wonder that in the last ten years this group has performed more than once at the Minnesota Music Educators Association mid-winter clinic, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) of Minnesota convention, and the Choral Arts Finale at Orchestra Hall.

The ensemble has now been invited to perform at the 2014 North Central Division of ACDA in Des Moines, where its program will consist entirely of dances written and arranged by composers from the early sixteenth century to the present.

This choir is no stranger to music from different time periods and parts of the world; in recent years, it has performed excerpts from masses by Mozart and Schubert (click the link at upper right to hear Zum Sanctus from Deutsche Messe D. 872) as well as folk music from various Central and South American countries.

Being part of a great choir, particularly the Princeton High School Concert Choir, is clearly something that had a profound effect on alumnus Charlie Moe. Now a high school choir director himself, Moe waxed poetical on the wonderful gifts of choral performance last year when he shared these words with the PHS Concert Choir. According to the PHS Concert Choir director, Mark Potvin, this reflection "perfectly summarize[s] our ensemble's identity."

"Everyone carries with them their own burdens, their own hopes, dreams, fears, and their own stories. So too will each person that hears you [in concert]. You will probably never meet these people nor will you learn their stories. But even still there may be in that audience a pair of shoulders that needs a weight lifted off of them, or there may be a heart that needs closure, or maybe someone whose mind is seeking peace. Or maybe there is someone whose life is actually going pretty well and they're just looking for the joy of having an excellent, high quality, musical experience and will get the chance to say that you were the choir who provided that experience!

In each of these cases you will...probably never know these people. But they will always remember you. And it is in those moments when you become the gift givers, the peace makers, the joy affirmers, and the healers. So work hard, sing like you mean it, and give your gifts."

You can have your own opportunity to experience the gifts of choral music when the PHS Concert Choir performs together with Viva Voce, the upper-class women's chorus, and the Mixed Chorus in their combined fall concert, This Will Be Our Reply To Violence, at the Princeton Performing Arts Center on Monday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

All the selections on this program were creatively inspired by violent events throughout history, ranging from the Indian Relocation Act of 1838 to Kristallnacht and the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary.

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