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David Dickau composes piece for state choral conference

One of region's top composers

Prof. David Dickau: One of region's finest choral composers.

By Grace Webb, Free Press Correspondent [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 11/18/2011]

Mankato Children's Chorus at Christ Chapel.
The Mankato Children's Chorus, pictured here during their Winter Concert in 2010 in Christ Chapel, will perform at the public concert during the Minnesota Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association conference.

Every year, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association holds a conference for directors to be able to network and learn.

Usually, the conference meets in the Cities every other year and moves around the state on off-years. This year, on the association’s 35th anniversary, the prestigious conference will take place at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

The conference is a two-day event that offers choral directors a break from their usual conducting and the opportunity to learn at workshops. Choral directors can come from all sorts of backgrounds, such as religious groups or high school choirs. Workshops focus on inspiring and instructing the directors, with sessions on topics such as elementary choral education and liturgical music.

In addition, singing groups from around the state audition to perform at the conference. This year, nine groups will perform. Ensembles range from church choirs to high school and college singers. The Minnesota State Mankato concert choir and Gustavus singers will perform, as well as the Mankato Children’s Choir.

The association frequently commissions pieces for its concerts, and this year’s is especially significant, since the association is celebrating its 35th anniversary. To commemorate the event, the association asked Minnesota State Mankato Director of Choral Activities David Dickau to compose a piece.

“David is … one of the finest composers in our state,” the conference director said. “He’s just the natural choice.”

Dickau has been composing since he was in college and has created hundreds of works that are performed at high school and university concerts, festivals and other events. For this piece, he worked with a consortium of schools put together by the association. This consortium was made up of choral directors who helped suggest ways for Dickau to create his piece and who could then use his piece in their future concerts.

Dickau’s piece for the concert is called “Music in the Night” and focuses on the importance of music.

Besides composing for the concert, Dickau will also conduct the Minnesota State Mankato concert choir. The choir will perform two pieces alone, one piece with Gustavus singers and several pieces with all the choirs.

For the complete Free Press story, see Friday's print edition, or go to

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