Chorale direction

This is choral director Laura Odden Quaintance’s first year as faculty at M State, although she graduated from there in 2004.

The choirs at M State are preparing for their annual winter choir concert taking place this Thursday, Dec. 5. This is new choral director Laura Odden Quaintance’s first winter choir concert and she’s excited to share with the community all that she, the students and community members have been working hard on for the past few months.

The chamber chorale, concert choir and voice ensemble will each be taking the stage starting at 7:30 p.m. “The theme for this concert is ‘the music of the living,’ and there are many selections that are connected with nature and music,” says Quaintance. “It’s been really fun to explore those connections with all three of the choirs. We also have a section, just a set of three pieces at the end, that are holiday selections, so tunes familiar to many people this time of year in December.”

The three choirs will also come together to sing selections from “Frostiana,” a suite of Robert Frost poems set to music. “I’ve loved the collaboration that the combined pieces have offered, it’s been fun to watch the connections of both the adults and the college students performing together and learning from each other, and just connecting in that way, it’s been fun to watch how they both inspired each other in different ways,” says Quaintance of the three-choir combination, about 65 singers altogether. “Some of our college students have never performed in a group this large, so it’s been really fun to watch the joy on their faces the first times they’ve rehearsed the music with them, that journey has been so much fun along the way.”

Quaintance worked briefly at M State many years ago before teaching for 11 years at Milaca High School, so she’s familiar with working with high school and college students, but working with adult community members was something new. “This is my first year conducting an adult group and it’s just truly been such a pleasure for me,” she says. “They’re so extremely musically talented and they’re so responsive to everything I’ve been doing with them, so it’s been a lot of fun to have both that collegiate level choir and the adults to work with.”

Tickets for the M State Winter Choir Concert are $11 in advance or $14 at the door for adults, or $9 in advance and $10 at the door for students. Tickets can be purchased at the M State box office by calling 218-736-1600 or online at


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