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Blue Earth Area senior becomes All-State Choir member

By Staff | Mar 1, 2020

Jack Frundt recently became a member of the 2019-20 All-State Choir. He is pictured rehearsing above, with his choir director Paul Johnson, in the practice room at Blue Earth Area High School.

The late, famous jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, is said to have made the following statement about singing, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

Blue Earth Area senior Jack Frundt, who is the son of David and Angie Frundt, seems to embody Fitzgerald’s statement.

Not only is the talented bass singer involved in numerous vocal groups in the school, he also tried out for and became a member of the 2019-2020 All-State Choir, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Music Educators Association.

According to the MMEA, nearly 1,200 students tried out for one of the seven All-State groups which include choral, band and orchestra. Jack was one of the 561 students who made the cut.

Becoming an All-State member is quite an accomplishment according to BEA 6-12 choir director Paul Johnson, who also received the honor when he was in high school.

“I actually tried out my sophomore year and did not get in,” Jack comments.

But he did not give up.

“It was a little discouraging not getting in the first time,” Jack remarks. “But seeing how much I grew musically in a year was very rewarding.”

His director felt Jack had the desire necessary to achieve the All-State designation.

“Jack is a great example of what working hard can accomplish,” Johnson says. “I always knew he was going to get there.”

Johnson explains the process involved in becoming an All-State member.

The first requirement is the student must be a member of a school ensemble and take private lessons, according to Johnson.

“Students can audition in March of their sophomore and junior years,” Johnson says. “It is a three-part process with the student first singing a prepared solo or aria. Next, they must sing an excerpt from Alma del Core by the composer Antonio Caldara. All entrants sing the same piece of music acappella. Lastly, the students have to sing a scale and once again, do it acappella.”

Johnson recorded Frundt singing the required musical pieces and then sent the recordings off to be graded by a panel of judges who have no knowledge of who the students are.

And no, the students can not use an auto-tune device.

“There are very strict rules about how the recordings are made and what is allowable,” Johnson says.

After being selected for the Tenor Bass Choir last April, Jack attended an All-State music camp in August of 2019 for six days. The camp was held on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield.

“We would sing for eight hours a day and we prepared six songs in those six days,” Jack shares.

Each music group has a guest conductor.

Michael Culloton was the guest conductor for the choir Jack was in.

At the time of the camp, Culloton was an associate professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead. He was recently named the new director of choral activities at Concordia, beginning in the 2020 fall semester.

The last day of camp the music groups put on a concert which was attended mostly by friends and family of the students.

Then on Feb. 15 of this year, the three choral groups, the Tenor Bass Choir, the Mixed Choir and the Soprano Alto Choir, performed at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis during the MMEA Midwinter Clinic.

“It was pretty amazing,” Jack says. “The acoustics are unbelievable and everyone was so passionate about singing at Orchestra Hall.”

Jack is not the first BEA student Johnson has had who has been able to make it into an All-State Choir. Johnson says five or six other BEA graduates have received All-State honors.

“What I enjoy is the All-State students share their experience and use it to expose other choir members to the opportunities which exist to enhance their singing,” Johnson explains.

It certainly worked in Jack’s case.

“Bennett Peterson (a BEA graduate) was an All-State selection and he came back, shared his experiences with me, and got me fired up to start doing voice lessons,” Jack states. “And along with encouragement from Mr. Johnson, I began voice lessons.”

For Jack and other BEA students to even have a chance to be in an All-State group, Johnson has to be a paid member of the National Association for Music Education.

But for Johnson, the chance to see Jack, and other former students, performing at a high level makes the cost worth it.

“It is a forever thing. You will always be on that list,” Johnson says. “But you have to buy in, you have to want it.”

And Jack bought in.

“Props to Mr. Johnson for helping me get there,” Jack comments. “It takes the extra mentorship and encouragement he provided and I am thankful he did.”