Student choir serves the St. Paul community

Undergrad Nathan Kosbau started the group in the Fall of 2005.

Allison Wickler

While most 10-year-old musicians played from beginning lesson books, Nathan Kosbau was directing his church choir.

Once he got to college, the applied plant sciences senior read a University survey that revealed many students with St. Paul campus classes were also interested in music.

Kosbau said for many chorus members that have classes mainly in St. Paul, it’s difficult to schedule time to sing in University choirs that rehearse in Minneapolis.

So he took his knowledge of music and, along with a few other students, formed the St. Paul Chorus to show that other talent exists.

“We wanted to create something over here to broadcast to Minneapolis,” he said.

But despite its name, Kosbau said membership is not restricted to St. Paul regulars, and anyone affiliated with the University can join.

Kosbau, the conductor, said the group had about eight regular members in its first semester in fall of 2005, and now as an official student group it has 18 student, faculty and staff singers who rehearse weekly at the St. Paul Student Center.

The group performed a holiday concert in the Cargill building and sang at the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences commencement last year.

The chorus was asked to sing at this spring’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences commencement and hopes to sing at the Minnesota State Future Farmers of America convention at the University in April.

CFANS director of alumni relations Mary Buschette is the group’s faculty adviser, but said she is “mostly just a cheerleader.”

“(Kosbau) really has the passion and the vision and the inspiration,” she said.

Though members don’t have to audition, many of them have musical backgrounds.

Kinesiology and nutrition sophomore Sara Luedtke, the chorus’ music coordinator, said she was in choir in high school but was intimidated by the School of Music choirs.

“I guess I was a little scared because all of them were music majors,” she said. “I just wanted to do it more for fun.”

Animal sciences graduate student and chorus secretary Amy Hazel said she likes having a student director because he understands the chorus’ needs.

“We’re trying to create a musical community rather than a professional, big-league organization,” she said.

Fisheries and wildlife sophomore Eric Mattson, the group’s vice president, said he was in the University of Minnesota Concert Choir last year, but because of the time commitment and scheduling, he couldn’t participate this year.

While he doesn’t think the School of Music neglects St. Paul students, Mattson said the St. Paul Chorus makes it easier for students to relate through a social activity.

“It’s just another opportunity that they won’t have to go far to find,” he said.