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Former Alexandria educator dies

Former Alexandria resident Murrae Freng, age 89 of Plymouth, passed away May 31.

Freng was a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead and obtained a music education degree from MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis. He served as music director at Brooten Public Schools from 1946 to 1952, before moving to Alexandria to serve as choral director for School District 206 from 1952 to 1965.

During his tenure here, he started an annual Christmas concert in partnership with the school art department, started a clinic/concert tradition with nationally recognized musicians as guest conductors, organized the Jefferson Carolers in 1962, directed the Runic Male Chorus and the First Lutheran Church choir.

Under Freng’s leadership, the Jefferson High School choir was selected to represent Minnesota at the North Central Convention of National Music Educators.

From 1965 to 1970, Freng served as assistant executive director of the Minnesota State High School League, and as executive director from 1970 to 1985.

During that time he developed an extensive girls’ athletic program, originated a football playoff system including the Prep Bowl, established a class system of tournament play, restructured the league’s constitution and bylaws, and merged the private school sector into the league.

Freng retired in 1985 and served as executive director of the Central Lakes Concert Association before moving to Plymouth in 2006.

Some of Freng’s honors include the F. Melius Christiansen Award from the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota in 1986; selected as a charter member of the Minnesota Music Educators Association Hall of Fame; grand marshal of the Vikingland Band Festival in 1989; inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Alexandria Public Schools Education Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009.

Freng and his wife, Helen, have four children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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