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Land of Lakes Choirboys

Director: Francis Stockwell

Land of Lakes Choirboys


As a young Marine on weekend liberty almost a half-century ago, Craig Carmody-Anderson accompanied a friend-reluctantly!-one day in 1962 to hear the Vienna Boys' Choir. By intermission he knew that, though he had scant musical training or experience, this is what he wanted to do one day. A chance encounter the following year with a suddenly director-less choir at the Minneapolis Boys' Club ("Well, they were not the Vienna Boys' Choir," he notes dryly) led him to learn the rudiments of directing-on the job, from the accompanist. But soon other obligations and interests intervened-family responsibilities (he had married the accompanist), the Boys' Club, a career as police officer and coaching boys' gymnastics. For years, having a choir of his own remained just a dream. Finally, in 1976, "Andy" was asked to form a choir to sing at a celebration of the country's bicentennial in his native Elk River, Minnesota. He agreed-on condition that it be a boy choir. An ad in a local newspaper and in church bulletins drew 18 boys to the first rehearsals, and when the celebration was unceremoniously cancelled, parents convinced the director to continue, and the Land of Lakes Choirboys was born.

Before the end of the choir's first season, Andy recruited John Fitzgerald from the Boys' Club to come on board as prefect. Who better than a law student with a military background and an imposing frame-who happened to be exceptionally gifted in working with and building up children-to reinforce discipline as a positive thing? With thunder in his voice and a twinkle in his eye, John became the backbone of offstage activity, and, Andy remembers, "John and the boys took to each other like ducks to water." The first tour went off without a hitch, and as the group grew, the two men likewise grew into it. Andy studied music and developed his directing technique. John practiced law and grace, and the program evolved to include training not just in music but in conduct and manners, an annual national or international tour, and a growing reputation. Along the way grew an association with top musicians, including-yes!-Wolfgang Powischer and the Vienna Boys' Choir, with whom Andy and the boys had a reciprocal hosting arrangement. The connection was serendipitous.

For the Land of Lakes Choirboys' 1984 European tour, Herr Powischer matched Andy and John up with one of his voice colleagues to serve as translator and tour guide. New Zealander Francis Stockwell had trained in Geneva, Switzerland, as a concert pianist before establishing a career living with, caring for, entertaining and teaching boys English, Latin, German, math and music at an elite international school in Zug, Switzerland-not to mention founding their touring boy choir. Needless to say, he hit it off with the group then, as well as on a second tour he accompanied in 1993. Four years later, when the chance arose to bring Francis and his formidable gifts into the organization, Andy stepped aside as director to make room for him. Once again, however, he was destined not to give up the baton. Inevitably, perhaps, the organization quickly grew to accommodate two directors, two choirs, and eventually two tours each summer.

From this abundance of ability and a shared vision of excellence evolved a preparatory training program with two more choirs and the desire to lay a foundation to ensure the future of the organization. In 2004 the group brought on young blood. In his budding career Aaron Carpenter had logged years already directing a boy choir; with his broad background in church music and in conducting came a corresponding depth, ambition and passion for variety: he is committed to stretching not only the notes, but the group's and individuals' sense of possibilities for the present, as well as for their future.

Now in its fourth decade, the Land of Lakes Choirboys includes more than 100 boys in six groups, including an alumni choir. The tours have progressed from an initial five-day trip to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, back in 1977, to two annual concurrent tours, one national and one international. As the choir has traveled through all contiguous states, Hawaii, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand, so its reputation has grown to receive international acclaim including a Trebby Award for Best Boychoir Recording of 2004, Grand Champion of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Festivals in 2006, and two Silver Medals at the 2008 World Choir Games in Graz, Austria. The initial core of family and friends has expanded likewise to encompass many thousands, across the nation and across the world, who have been moved and changed by an intimate encounter with the music, as did a young Marine was one evening so many years ago.


Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.

Land of Lakes Choirboys : All Ye Who Music Love : 1 CD : Francis Stockwell : 

Land of Lakes Choirboys : All Ye Who Music Love

Review: Pride of Elk River, MN, the Choirboys are nationally and internationally known as one of the best boys' choirs in the world. Ably led by Director and pianist Francis Stockwell, The 20 cuts begin with the title tune by Donato, and include some fine classical works, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," "Laudemus Te," Bach's "Gloria sei Dir gesungen," Schubert's "Ave Maria" and "Die Nacht," and many others. The spiritual "Little David, Play on Your Harp," "An Irish Blessing," "Auld Lang Syne," "The Last Rose of Summer" and "Danny Boy" are other favorites. Some piano accompaniment. A beautifully-sung collection from beginning to end!

Songlist: All Ye Who Music Love, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Laudamus Te, Gratias Agimus Tibi, Propter Magnam Gloriam, Gloria sei Dir gesungen, Little David, Play On Your Harp, Agnus Dei, Ave Maria, Alta Trinita Beata, An Irish Blessing, Horch was kommt von drauben rein, Beim Kronenwirt, Die Nacht, Caro mio ben, Auld Lang Syne, The Last Rose of Summer, Eriskay Lovelilt, The Wild Colonial Boy, Danny Boy

8683c | 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella Boys Choirs CDs

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Home For Christmas : 1 CD : Francis Stockwell : 

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Home For Christmas

Review: "Minnesota's Singing Boys" had humble beginnings in 1976 when 18 Elk River, MN boys gathered for their first choir practice under director Craig Carmody Anderson. Today the Choir has grown to an organization of 120 boys making up 6 different choirs of varying levels, ranging in age from 5 to 18 years, that draws boys from all over the Twin Cities. The Choirboys have a rich history of travel and concert appearances, especially the Viking Choir, which is featured on this recording. The group has an international reputation for its pure and hauntingly-beautiful sound. "Home for Christmas" is a lovely Christmas collection of 18 songs, of which "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "In Dulci Jubilo," "Angels from the Realms of Glory," "Leise rieselt der Schnee," "O Salutaris Hostia," and the Caribbean spiritual "De Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy," all a cappella cuts that emphasize the beautiful voices of these talented boys! This is a wonderful album for yourself and your family, or as a gift that will sure to be treasured.

Songlist: Lo, How a Rose e'er Blooming, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, O Holy Night, What Child is This / Greensleeves, In the Bleak Midwinter, Hark, Now O Shepherds, In Dulci Jubilo, Heilige Nacht, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Angels from the Relms of Glory, Leise rieselt der Schnee, O Slutaris Hostia, Panis Angelicus, De Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy, I am so Glad Each Christmas Eve, White Christmas, Hallelujah Chorus (live)

8679c | 1 CD | $14.95 | Some a cappella Childrens Choir Christmas

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Let Us All Be Grateful : 1 CD : Francis Stockwell : 

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Let Us All Be Grateful

Review: "Let Us All Be Grateful" is another stellar collection from Elk River, MN's famous Land of Lakes Choirboys Viking Choir. One of the best boys' choirs in the world, the Choirboys are known nationally and internationally for their perfect intonation and pure, clear sound. "Let Us" is a mix of patriotic tunes, "The Star Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America;" traditional folk songs like "Der Almsee is trueab," "Der Dui-Dui," Australia's "The Wild Colonial Boy" and the Serbian Gypsy Dance "Niska Banja;" spiritual tunes (Purcell's "Rejoice in the Lord Always," Maierhofer's "Mater Dei" and Bestor's "The Prayer of the Children); and other favorites such as Rossini's "The Carnovale" and the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." There is some piano accompaniment. Beautiful!

Songlist: The Star Spangled Banner, Rejoice in the Lord Alway, Mater Dei, Willow, Show me the Wind, Prayer of the Children, Caro mio ben, Der "Dui-Dui", Der Almsee is trueab, Tally-Ho, The Carnovale, The Mighty Monarch, Niska Banja, The Wild Colonial Boy, Here Comes The Sun, America, The Beautiful, God Bless America

8682c | 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella Boys Choirs CDs

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Steal Away : 1 CD : Francis Stockwell : 

Land of Lakes Choirboys : Steal Away

Review: "Steal Away" is wonderful collection of sacred and spiritual tunes, from the Viking Choir, the national and international touring choir and one of 6 choirs of different levels that form the renowned Land of Lakes Choirboys. Favorites are a cappella tunes "Phos Hilaron," the haunting spiritual and title tune, "Steal Away," "Dixit Dominus," "O Hear the Joyful Music," "Der Dui-Dui," Brahms' "In stiller Nacht," the traditional Austrian song "Fein sein" and Haydn's "Die Landlust." But all the other tunes, piano and organ accompanied, are equally lovely. A beautiful collection!

Songlist: Phos Hilaron, Wir eilen mit schwachen doch emsigen Schritten, Kyrie, Sanctus, Steal Away, Dixit Dominus, How Can I keep from Singing?, The Holy City, O Hear the Joyful Music, Far from My Love, Der Dui-Dui, Standchen, In Stiller Nacht, Fein sein, Die Landlust, Au clair de la lune, Minnesota Morning, Pal sine Honer

8681c | 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella Boys Choirs CDs

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