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The Bruce Larsen Collection

Organist, choir director, arranger, composer, producer, choral teacher, historian

Bruce Larsen was one of Richard Proulx's teachers for both choral conducting and composition. Bruce's career threaded its way through several area institutions: choral director at the University of Minnesota Newman Club 1946 to 1958; organist and founding music director at the Church of the Holy Childhood in St. Paul 1946 to 1949; organist and choral/music director at St. Olaf's Catholic Church, Minneapolis, 1949 to 1964; and choral/music director at the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, 1964 to 1968. Larsen then returned to Holy Childhood where he continued as music director until 1987.

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About the Collection

The executor of Bruce Larsen's estate donated his extensive collection of music and reference materials to Saint John's University in 2001. Some of the material has been added to the Saint John's Universiy collection and can be searched using the library's catalog and the search phrase "Bruce A. Larsen" (include the double-quotes to search as a phrase). The rest of the material is being cataloged in a locally-built database accessible via links on the left-hand side of this page: Larsen Choral Music Collection, Vocal Music Collection, etc. Richard Proulx's materials were also donated to the library and when the Larsen and Proulx cataloging is complete the separate Collections will be combined into a single search called the "Sacred Music Collection" which will include Bruce Larsen's music collection and Richard Proulx's collection of music used as reference material for his own compositions or in his work as a choral/music director. Music in the Sacred Music Collection belonging to Richard Proulx carries his ownership stamp or has the initials 'RP' in the upper-right hand corner.

Choir Director Works to Glorify God - The Catholic Bulletin

Bruce Larsen at Holy Childhood parish - circa 1976

Choir director Bruce Larsen puts a group of his student singers through their pre-Christmas paces during a vigorous practice session at Holy Childhood parish, St. Paul (Catholic Bulletin - December 24, 1976).

 

While he chatted with a visitor in his choir room, Larsen toyed with a policeman's whistle on a black cord. When his choir boys got too boisterous during rehearsal Larsen used to pound on the top of the organ console with the palm of his hand. After a few years of this the screws in that panel started popping out onto the floor.

So he got the whistle.

"You know when Bruce reaches into his pocket, that the whistle is coming out," reports Larry Jagoe, a bass. "He'll blow that thing, and a hush will come over the choir."

A bachelor, Larsen has escaped the color-coordinated counsel of women. During a recent conversation he wore a forest green jacket, a lemon shirt, flowered tie, herringbone slacks, mustard socks and well-scuffed loafers.

For concerts, however, he is impeccable in a tuxedo.

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