The CSB/SJU Chamber Choir has been in existence since 1970, when its present director joined the music faculty at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. Up to that point, the students of the two colleges had participated in either the Saint John’s University Men’s Chorus or the Campus Singers - the Women’s Choir at the College of Saint Benedict - combining their voices only occasionally for special celebrations. The choir is now one of the major touring ensembles of the combined Music Department.
Most of the choir’s performances are scheduled in the Midwest, although over the years the choir has also performed extensively throughout the United States (in February/March of 2007 the choir gave concerts in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) and toured Europe in 1980, 1985, 1992, 1997 and 2001 presenting concerts in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In the spring of 2005 the choir toured Asia for the first time, performing for audiences, and working with other choirs in Tokyo, Okinawa, Seoul, Beijing and Hong Kong. In May of 2010 singers from this choir were some of the members of the schools’ Choral Arts Ensemble – travelling to Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria on a three week concert tour.
Traditionally the program covers a wide variety of sacred and secular music, ranging from Gregorian Chant and 17th century polyphony to masterworks of the 20th century. This year, the program will feature music by Britten, Whitacre, Rachmaninoff, Sweelinck, Hogan, Casals, Grotenhuis, Fissinger and others. The Chamber Choir appears regularly with the Amadeus Chamber Symphony, has participated in joined performances with the Plymouth Music Series and the University of Minnesota and has performed numerous times for MN-ACDA and MMEA Music Conventions. In 2002 the choir presented the American Premiere performance of an oratorio by noted Czech composer Petr Eben, Anno Domini.
The 2009-2010 tour included concerts in Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Last season (2010-2011), the Men's Chorus has the privilege of touring throughout the United States, and this year we have the honor of doing the same.