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European Tradition • Minnesota Pride
History and Mission
The North Star Boys’ Choir was founded in 2011 and has its roots in the European boy choir tradition. It is linked to that tradition through the Artistic Director Francis Stockwell and the Executive Director Craig “Andy” Anderson, whose many years of working together in choral direction has resulted in a unique and musically powerful partnership. Mr. Stockwell, who studied in England, Germany, and Austria, and worked with the Vienna Choir Boys, is internationally recognized for his ability to guide boys to the heights of musical excellence and with them to craft the celebrated Viennese sound so noted for its brilliance, clarity, richness, and tonal range. Mr. Anderson, the Founding Director of the well-known and award-winning Land of Lakes Choir Boys also studied in Vienna, and has 35 years of experience working with boys in choral musical development and character building. He has extensive choral program experience, having served in posts as Executive Director, General Prefect, and Principal Choral Director.
The North Star Boys’ Choir is devoted to the traditional boy choir repertoire including sacred music of all periods, dating back to the 5th century, classical works, spirituals, and folk music from around the world. The hauntingly-beautiful sound of the North Star Boys’ Choir results, in large part, from the centuries old European voice training technique which Mr. Stockwell mastered while working in Vienna. Mr. Stockwell is one of a handful of voice trainers around the world who has preserved and currently practices this technique. The North Star Boys’ Choir was founded, in part, to provide an enduring American home for this rare and beautiful musical legacy.
Providing a well rounded experience for the choirboys is a significant part of the program, and is realized through a wide range of recreational and character building opportunities, including overnights and outings, Choir Camp, tours, both national and international, and competitions. Training is provided in manners, deportment, and leadership, which readies the boys for success in concert and tour settings, as well as in future life. The virtues of honor, integrity, and perseverance are represented by the three stars on the choir emblem and instilled in the boys throughout their choirboy careers.
About the Emblem
The shield, common to royal and religious coats of arms, represents ties to old Europe, and correspondingly Western history and culture. The dominant eight pointed star, symbolizing Minnesota, is modeled after the Architect Cass Gilbert’s L’Etoile du Nord (Star of the North) design for the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda floor. The points of the star form the letter “M” when viewed in any orientation. The globe within the star indicates that the North Star Boys’ Choir sees itself as an international musical organization which will tour internationally and build relationships with choirs outside the United States, and which, as well, performs in multiple languages. The banner and Latin inscription “Through hard work to the stars” represents both the choir’s aspirations, our cultural connections to the Roman civilization, and the fact that much of the repertoire is performed in Latin. The Minnesota icon on the striped field signifies that we are an American boy choir based in Minnesota, and the treble clef symbolizes our music, as rendered by the soprano and alto boys’ voices. The three five pointed stars represent the virtues of Honor, Integrity, and Perseverance, while continuing the imagery of our flag.