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Minnesota Choral Theater to perform this Sunday

The Minnesota Choral Theater will be hosting a performance this Sunday, April 27 at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria at 3 p.m.

The group will be celebrating the magic of music in many different languages - English, Russian, Georgian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and French.

Admittance is free, but a free-will donation is being requested to help defray the cost of travel expenses and the group's upcoming tour to New York and Boston.

Elise Kronberg of Alexandria, a member of the musical group for the past eight years, is excited to be performing on Sunday with the group.

She became involved with Minnesota Choral Theater while she was a student at St. Cloud State University.

Although she lives and works in Alexandria, Kronberg continues to be a part of the group and continues to drive to rehearsals in St. Cloud or Maple Grove on a weekly basis.

"A lot of folks think I'm crazy, but I stay with this group because of the friendships, the travel opportunities and the ability to say I belong to and sing with a Russian choir," said Kronberg.

She added that not many people can say they can sing in Russian without a western accent.

Kronberg works as a preschool teacher for Community Nursery School in Alexandria and hopes that the musical experiences she brings her students make as big an impact as her director, the choir and the experiences she has had made on her.

The director, whom the choir members affectionately call "Doc," is like a surrogate grandfather to Kronberg, she said, adding that he "is an amazing mentor."

About the group

The Minnesota Choral Theater is an independent, non-profit organization and was originally formed in 1995 under the baton of Russian-born conductor Dr. Albert Grotell.

The ensemble promotes quality singing of distinctive musical literature. For the past eight years the group has produced many unique performances in a variety of musical styles and languages.

Grotell, professor of Russian language and music at St. Cloud State University, was music director and conductor at the St. Petersburg Institute of Theater, Music and Cinematography (Russia).

At the same time he was also chief-choirmaster and conductor at the St. Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy.

Since 1980, Grotell has worked in the United States as a lecturer and conductor for Middlebury College, Columbia University and Dartmouth College, as well as conducting several off-Broadway shows in New York.

Since 1988, he has been working as a professor at the Saint Cloud State University (SCSU) music department where he has conducted The Rivermen, The University Singers and The University Choral Theater.

Minnesota Choral Theater has had many changes along its journey.

Starting in 1989, the men's ensemble, Rivermen, under the direction of Grotell, significantly expanded the group's multicultural focus by singing Russian and Slavic music at the annual festival Moscow on the Mississippi.

In 1995, the tradition of the Rivermen continued in the newly formed group, The University Singers.

In March 1997, the University Singers were invited by Nankai University, Beijing and Xian on tour.

During this tour, participants had an extraordinary opportunity to meet and visit with Chinese people and returned to the U.S. with a much broader vision of China's role in the world.

The group toured Russia and the Czech Republic in May and June of 2001 and 2003.

These tours increased awareness about the state of Minnesota and community overall.

The group's performances are musically rich and evocative, highly entertaining and always garner an enthusiastic audience response.

They are a traveling choir and they welcome anyone with significant musical experience to join the group.

For more information, visit the group's Web site at www.mnchoraltheater.org.

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