Ramsey County History – Spring 2022: “Six Decades Making Music and Memories: Minnesota Boychoir”
Six Decades Making Music and Memories: Minnesota Boychoir
Author: Barbara W. Sommer
Sixty years ago, father and son—Morris M. Nilsen and Morris A. Nilsen—wished to give back to their community, and, so, they founded the Morris Nilsen Boys Choir, featuring the high treble voices of young, male singers. In the first decade, three talented directors worked with the vocalists, teaching discipline, teamwork, and appreciation for the magic of music. In the early 1970s, Paul H. Pfeiffer with his wife, Virginia, took up the baton, adding new repertoire and changing the name of the organization to the Minnesota Boychoir. The boys sang at PTA meetings, churches, and other venues, as well as around the state, country, and world. The choir grew in size and reputation when its fifth director—Mark S. Johnson—stepped onto the podium in 1993. During his tenure, he’s formed six choirs, a summer camp, and other opportunities for singers to lift their voices in song. He and his team put their creativity in overdrive during the pandemic, knowing “the show must go on,” and it did.
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