Choirs converge on Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS -- The world has come to the Twin Cities to sing.
Organizers of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, which started this weekend, relied on area ethnic communities and churches to pull off the nine-day songfest.
The symposium, which happens every three years, is in the United States for the first time in its 15-year history.
A largely volunteer task force arranged 40 programs by choirs from about 20 nations, most of them free and in in churches and community centers around the Twin Cities and suburbs.
The opening night concert on Saturday featured The Boys Choir of Harlem with the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Chorale at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Organizers have established connections between the visiting ensembles and corresponding ethnic-culture organizations and churches.
For instance, the Minnesota chapter of the Taiwan America Association will prepare a preconcert dinner for the Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir. The Ansan City Korean Choir's concerts include one at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Minnesota in Brooklyn Center. The National Youth Choir of Namibia will perform at Zion Baptist Church in north Minneapolis, a black congregation.
The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, called Mindekirken, will present a program by the Norwegian Soloists Choir.
The Church of St. Stephen and Sagrado Corazon de Jesus will present a performance by Cantoria de Meriof Venezuela.
The Croatian Cultural Society of Minnesota is planning a dinner Sunday for the LADO National Folk Dance Ensemble of Croatia. "This will be the biggest Croatian cultural event here in more than a decade," said Lou Novak, cultural attache for the Croatian consulate and organizer of the effort.
Because of a schedule mix-up noticed at the last minute, the Red Leaf Children's Choir of China arrived on Friday, a day early, and won't leave until four days after the event ends.
"It's not a problem, but it was so last-minute," said symposium president Philip Brunelle, founder and music director of VocalEssence, which was formerly known as the Plymouth Music Series.
For help, he turned to two Chinese programs in the metro area.
Members of the Minhua Chinese Choir agreed to house the visitors for three nights. Families of students in the Chinese language program at Breck School will house them for the other night.