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Live From Fargo-Moorhead: Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists

Photos submitted by Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists

Michael Culloton has been the artistic director and conductor of the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists (FMCA) for six years. His job is to audition the singers, lead rehearsals and conduct the public performances. Let him tell you more about what an experience with the FMCA looks like.

Choral artists

Upcoming events

Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 pm

Very few musicians have made as large of an impression in the American music scene of the 20th Century as did Leonard Bernstein. The Choral Artists will celebrate the centennial of his birth with a concert featuring his Chichester Psalms and Choruses from The Lark, the latter of which will feature a local actress playing the role of Joan of Ark. They’ll also present music from his landmark musical West Side Story, his opera Candide and other gems from this American icon.

Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral
3600 25th St. S, Fargo


How did the FMCA come to be?
Michael Culloton: The choir was founded in 1980 as a very small chamber ensemble called the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber Chorale and they focused on early music, such as madrigals. In the last six years, we’ve grown the ensemble to approximately 60 singers and changed our name to the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists.

Choral artistsWhat all does the FMCA offer throughout the year?
MC: The Choral Artists present a number of concert weekends throughout the year with a wide variety of music that we are comfortable singing. In fact, last year we presented a program that included music by Johannes Brahms and Dolly Parton. We also present an annual gala benefit called “A Singing Valentine” and we participate in the Fargo Parks/Minnesota Public Radio Classical Music Festival at Rheault Farm. For the last two years, we’ve presented a free family holiday concert at the downtown Fargo Public Library and we’ll continue to do this as it is an enjoyable and rewarding event for us.

How do you choose the shows you produce during your seasons?
MC: I select the music for our concerts with our singers in mind and our potential audience. We are lucky to sing in a community that enjoys a variety of musical styles.

In what ways can people get involved — on stage or off?
MC: We love meeting singers who want to participate in a choir that unapologetically works hard to achieve musical excellence. Auditions take place each spring for the upcoming season and can be scheduled by emailing me at Auditions are competitive, and experience singing at the collegiate level is almost a requirement since the quality of the singers who walk through the door is so high. We are also looking for community members who want to serve on our board and provide guidance and oversight for the organization. And lastly, we are always pleased to sing for large audiences, so we invite everybody to come and hear us.

Choral artistsHow do live entertainment options affect a community and the culture?
MC: Choirs are particularly special because the instrument is the human voice. We all own our instrument already, and chances are pretty good that at some point in the concert or season, we will ask you to sing along with us. Communities are enriched by arts organizations that can remind us or educate us about cultures from around the world, and we do that on a regular basis. Our first concert this season featured music from 15 countries in eight different languages and our audiences enjoyed the musical journey a great deal.

What about FMCA specifically adds to the culture of Fargo-Moorhead? What’s unique about it?
MC: We have a lot of great collegiate choirs in our community, so we need to have a choir that allows the singers who graduate and stay in the region to keep fostering their love for the art form. Our musical expectations are high, but I think that the concerts we sing can really impact our audience and make them feel something. We offer our audience the chance to unplug and enjoy humans making choral music together.

Written by Kara Jeffers

Fargo Monthly Editor Kara Jeffers is from Garrison, North Dakota, a small town north of Bismarck, North Dakota, on Lake Sakakawea. She graduated from North Dakota State University in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in theatre arts. In addition to working at Spotlight Media, Jeffers also works at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center, where she’s one of the first people (and, at times, the only person) visitors meet when they arrive in North Dakota—talk about pressure.

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