Stillwater Choral Project

The Stillwater Exhibit Project, a partnership with the Rose Ensemble, brought together students at Stillwater Area High School to learn about the choral traditions of Minnesota. Students interviewed Stillwater residents who have a deep connection with choral music for a panel exhibit.

Stillwater Choral Project
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See the exhibit panels that were created for the project. Click on any image to view larger version. 

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Stillwater Choral Project Stillwater Choral Project Stillwater Choral Project Stillwater Choral Project

Students learned how to conduct oral history interviews, interview Stillwater area residents, and work with an exhibit developer to create a panel exhibit at Stillwater Area High School. Students will write exhibit labels based on primary source documents and excerpts from interviews that tell the story of Stillwater’s Choral Legacy.

The choir of SAHS also engaged in a historical lesson about choral music through two  master classes with the Rose Ensemble. The Rose Ensemble’s master classes explore the true joys of singing and demonstrate ways to enhance your performance. By focusing on the process of rehearsing and performing as well as the context, participants learn about the nature of the music from a more human perspective and the elements that contribute to singing it well.
Youth Participants: Dave, Kelia, Jessica, Wade
Adult Participants: Sonia Esch, Carol Carver, Glenda Bjorum, Ken Hannah, Josh LaGrave
For more information: Contact Project Manager Maren Levad at or 651-259-3480. 

Background on Stillwater
Stillwater, referred to as the "Birthplace of Minnesota," was established in 1848. It held the first territorial convention, to begin the process of establishing Minnesota as a state, on the corner of Myrtle and Main Streets. Stillwater was chosen for the territory's first prison, which opened in 1853. Today, you can tour the old Warden's House, located where the original prison was built. 

Stillwater's main industry was lumbering until the second half of the 19th century. Logs were sent downstream and collected at the St. Croix Boom Site and processed in Stillwater's sawmills. Lumber barons built their intricate Victorian mansions amidst Stillwater's hills overlooking the river. Today, many of those mansions have been restored to their original grandeur and are now historic Bed & Breakfast Inns. The St. Croix River was also home to many steamboats, which were used until about 1890 as a major means of transportation

Background on the St. Olaf Choir
The St. Olaf Choir, with 75 mixed voices, is the pioneer a cappella choir in the United States. For nearly a century, the choir has set a standard of choral excellence and remained at the forefront of choral artistry. 

Background on the Rose Ensemble
Founded in 1996 and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, The Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient with vocal music that strives to stir the emotions, challenge the mind, and lift the spirit. Each performance illuminates centuries of rarely heard repertoire, bringing to modern audiences research from the world’s manuscript libraries and fresh perspectives on history, languages, politics, religion and world cultures and traditions. 

Resources on Exhibit Development
The top 10 techniques to designing an effective exhibit.

Project Details

Date: January 2012 - May 2012
Partner(s): Stillwater Area High School; The Rose Ensemble; Maren Levad, Minnesota Historical Society, Project Manager
Location: Stillwater, MN

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