The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2013,

Minnesota Boychoir

The Minnesota Boychoir, founded in 1962, is the oldest boychoir in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan area. The Boychoir’s reputation for excellence has brought invitations from local and national music conventions, as well as sporting events and touring Broadway companies. The Boychoir has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio, and a long list of local and national performers. This season our 160 choirboys will be featured in the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Golden Finale Concert, as well as first-time appearances with the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, Edina Chorale and St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church Choir (Orff’s Carmina Burana) and will participate in the third annual Minnesota State Festival of Boychoirs.

The choir’s schedule includes national and international tours, thrilling audiences in over a dozen states and on five continents. In 2007 to celebrate of our 45th Anniversary, the boys headlined the World Voices Australia International Choral Festival at Sydney’s famed Opera House. Our 50th Anniversary Season began by touring to Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, Italy in June 2011, featuring a performance for Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and culminated with solo performances at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and the State Capitol this past summer. The choir travels to Texas in June 2013 with visits to Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

The Minnesota Boychoir trains young men to be outstanding musicians and strives to help them develop a sense of poise and self-confidence through education and performance. A choirboy is challenged to sing well, stand tall, stay on schedule, take pride in his appearance, respect those in charge and tap into the best part of who he is and what he can accomplish. The Minnesota Boychoir challenges boys and young men from many backgrounds to the highest standards of choral music, nurtures the development of exceptional character, and inspires and benefits the community.

The Boychoir is comprised of boys and young men, ages 7 to 18. Singers come from many communities throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and sing in four different ensembles:

CANTAR Comprised of our youngest and newest members, Cantar functions as a training choir. These developing singers, ages seven and eight rehearse once a week with emphasis placed on the basics of singing: posture, breathing, tone production, ear training and reading music. Rehearsals provide their core experience which build and increase musical skills.

CANTANDO New members, ages nine to twelve and Cantar boys who grow older are invited to sing in Cantando. These young singers rehearse once a week and learn to strengthen their own singing and musical skills through advanced study of the basics of singing, music theory and ensemble performance practice.

CANTABILE Participation in Cantabile is reserved for those choirboys ages nine to fourteen who have demonstrated high levels of musicianship, leadership, responsibility, discipline and commitment. Our most visible choir, Cantabile rehearses twice a week and performs at well over thirty events a season, singing music in a wide variety of styles and languages.

ALLEGRO Graduates of the Boychoir program are invited to return to sing in Allegro. Singers range in age from fourteen to eighteen, rehearse once a week, and perform works for tenor and bass, the changed voice. They also regularly sing with our treble choirs, increasing the range of literature we are able to perform.

Other choirs associated with the Boychoir:

TOUR CHOIR The Tour Choir is comprised of our two most select ensembles, Allegro and Cantabile. While touring is not mandatory for these boys, most of them travel on summer tour to enhance their Boychoir experience by bringing their music not only to different cities and states, but also to different countries and continents. Their repertoire consists of the best of the best from our most recent concert season.

ADULT CHOIR Parents of choirboys, members of our board of directors, and friends of the organization come together in the spring to form the Adult Choir. While partly social in nature, the choir also serves as testing ground for future repertoire for our top choirs. All of the tuition collected from the singers benefits our scholarship fund.

ALUMSING Each year, alumni of the organization are invited to join Allegro at our spring concerts to form AlumSing. This gives old members a chance to re-connect with the organization, not to mention getting a chance to sing some great music. We are honored to host Paul Pfeiffer, music director emeritus, as co-conductor of this group.

What new functionality we are looking for

Here is our wish list, compiled by our Office Manager who serves as our web administrator -

· A way for visitors to listen to the Boychoir on our website through a sound and/or video player - the boys are the reason we exist, and we currently can't showcase the sound of the Boychoir well on our website

· Members sub-site needs to be separate secure site with password

· Board sub-site needs to be separate secure site with password (these two sites currently are together)

· Header template (do not have one currently - we have to recreate one for every page we build)

· Announcements (rotating set of announcements on the home page – 3-6 at a time) - currently do not have this

· Interactive Media Kit - currently do not even have a media page

· Mailing list (we do not currently have an email blast option from our office, all snail-mail marketing at this time)

· Blog (used on tours) – current one is embedded from Google

· Calendar – currently embed a Google Cal that is synced with a personal Outlook calendar

· Method for admins to add documents (PDF, Word, Excel, etc.) to website

· Method to easily add new pages and sections as need arises

· Feature connections to: Twitter, Facebook, and Donation Sites: and PayPal

· Maintain the functionality of a web page finding all PDF docs in a folder and listing them on the web page (so all we need to do is upload a doc and it’s automatically a link on the web page). Dreamweaver is currently used to update HTML and PHP pages, and upload PDF and other documents

· Method for members to sign up to receive e-messages related to their ensemble

· Method to collect/maintain all contact information for members online

· Method to collect/maintain all/most form information for members online

· Implement an eMarketing tool that collects names/emails for email blasts

How the new functionality will help

Our vision is to strive to be the premier Boychoir in the United States for training, education, and performance. We need a website where it's easy for people to listen and share the sounds of our boys - this is something we currently don't have. In addition, we're looking for a website to make it easier to securely communicate with parents, volunteers, and board members. This will ultimately help us save on paper costs and time spent on email and the phone. We also have a limited office staff - our accompanist is currently responsible for some office work - and an easier to use web admin would create more time for him, and the rest of our staff, to focus on the musical side of the organization.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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66 Messages from Supporters

2013-01-13 23:03:55 UTC
Amy Driscoll

My son loves being in the MN Boychoir! It is so fun to watch the development of musicianship in the boys as they grow and move on to the next level. Our director and accompaniest are amazing. They demonstrate intelligence, kindness, responsibility, love of music, and a strong sense of community, and expect the same from the boys. Amazing organization!!

2013-01-13 20:10:45 UTC
Pr. Mary Kaye Ashley

I love the level of expectation the Boychoir has for it's members, and I love watching how they continue to fulfill these expectations. Great musicianship!, the ability to talk to others in public, support for each other, discipline. Every kid in the world needs a niche, big or small, to help them find and live into their "spark" or call. Any way you can help them, thank you!

2013-01-13 20:50:06 UTC
Jim Mulrooney

Dear Nerdery,

I am writing to strongly encourage your selection of the Minnesota Boychoir for your Overnight Website Challenge. As a proud alum of the Minnesota Boychoir I experienced first hand the impact the Boychoir has on a boy and young man. As I reflect on my upbringing, I can say that no organization had a greater impact on my development than the Minnesota Boychoir. The musical training the Boychoir offers does not simply lead to a world-class repertoire; it develops well-rounded boys and young men who are engaged in their communities, respect diversity, and are self-confident in who they are as individuals. The boys carry these characteristics with them into the classroom, onto the sports field, onto the stage, into college, and into the workplace. I am honored and fortunate to have been a member of the Boychoir and now want to ensure the experience I had continues to be available to boys for generations to come.

As the Boychoir celebrates 50 years of contributing to the artistic and cultural dynamics of the Minneaplis/ St. Paul community while "helping boys find their voice"; it would be a wonderful to share the story, music, history, and opportunity of the Minnrsota Boychoir with a new website created by The Nerdery. Thank you for your time and consideration of the Minnesota Boychoir for this wonderful opportunity.

2013-01-13 23:10:42 UTC
Holly Aastuen

My son has been in the Minnesota Boychoir for 7 years and has loved every minute of it. Through this organization he has had opportunities to grow musically, personally and professionally. He has gained confidence and a multitude of skills through his association with this organization and I highly commend them for your Overnight Website Challenge. They could use your help and are worthy recipients.

2013-01-13 23:46:33 UTC
Jennifer and Mark Erickson

Our son, Joel did a mid-season audition last year and we have felt like such a strong bond with the organization/family. Joel has a challenging time in school, but when it comes to singing and being apart of a choir he outshines and the glow on his face is priceless. We hope he gets into the more advanced group as music is his life... -mom

2013-01-14 00:00:33 UTC
Cyndy Crist

I have watched with amazement the incredible discipline instilled in the members of the Minnesota Boychoir, but not at the expense of enjoyment. The boys obviously work hard, but they also look like they're really loving what they do. It takes a rare talent and strong organizational structure to be able to achieve that. And, of course, the music is incredible. Our grandson has only been in the Boychoir since early fall, so we have had just a few opportunities to see them perform, but the concerts have all been first rate. How proud we are of our sons/grandsons/nephews who are learning and growing as musicians and as individuals, and how grateful to the Minnesota Boychoir for what they are giving the choir and its audience.

2013-01-14 01:46:39 UTC

The MN Boy Choir is an organization deserving of your assistance with their web site. They offer opportunities for young men to be in a choir of excellence and they train young men to put their best foot forward in all their endeavours. The choir builds young men of character. We have two children who are not just participants in the choir, but are members of the choir and announce with pride their involvement in the MN Boy Choir. It would be great to show more of the excellence the MN Boy Choir offers to their members with an enhanced web site.

2013-01-14 06:03:56 UTC
Mary Finnerty

My son has been a member of the Boychoir since he was 9 and is now 18. I have served as a volunteer for the organizatin on the Choir Support Committee for 8 years. This is one of the finest, best run organization I have ever seen. I work in non-profit and this organization uses every dollar to serve the boys. My son has learned deprotment, resposnsibility, courage, accountability and poise fromthis amazing organization. They so deserve your support. Please consider how muxch a well designed website will help the 160 families who use it on a daily basis as weill as the thousands of people who are fans of the boychoir and are inspired by these dedicated young singers.

2013-01-14 12:45:36 UTC

This is a great thing for my sweet nephew to partiscipate in. He takes a lot of pride in being in the MN Boys Choir.

2013-01-14 21:01:11 UTC
Patty Crower

The Mn Boychoir helps shape the futures of all the members. In addition the choir encourages & entertains all who have the privilege of hearing the wonderful concerts.

2013-01-14 22:18:04 UTC

Numerous lives have been touched by the Minnesota Boychoir in so many different ways. Audiences have been inspired and uplifted by their performances. Boys have grown into upstanding young men because of their experiences with the Minnesota Boychoir. A finer example of integrity, professionalism, talent and hard work among its members you will not find anywhere else. I can't imagine any other organization so deserving of your time and talents in designing a new website for them. This would give the Minnesota Boychoir an incredible gift in return for what they have done for so many others. Thank you for your consideration.

2013-01-15 01:09:00 UTC
Sara Driscoll

Can't say more than enough about the role the Boy Choir can play in all young men's lives to build skills, create community, sharpen the mind and have developed young men come out the other side full of life and maturity!

2013-01-15 20:45:22 UTC

The Minnesota Boychoir is so much more than a choir and that is why a new website is needed. It needs to show the music along with how it changes the lives of everyone involved with the Boychoir. Not just the members themselves, but their families, friends, school choir directors, and many others. It brings a tear to my eye and goosebumps every time I hear those young boys/men perform. This is a greatly deserving organization!

2013-01-15 21:59:08 UTC

My son has been in the Minnesota Boychoir for seven wonderful years. Being a part of this organization has helped him develop life skills such as teamwork, accountability, deportment, discipline and respect. Everyone in this organization works hard no matter if they are the youngest boy or the oldest volunteer- and the work is done with joy. It is a rather amazing thing for a choir experience to change the life of a boy, but it happens over and over and over again in the Minnesota Boychoir. I know for a fact, that my son would not be the confident young man he is today without the boychoir. For this, I am so very grateful. I would also be very grateful if the Minnesota Boychoir website could be updated. It needs to be easier to navigate, less wordy, and have better sound quality (since this IS a choir). This is, literally, a world class boychoir, and the website should reflect that honor. Thank you for considering the Minnesota Boychoir for your Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge. God Bless the Nerds of the world!

2013-01-16 01:41:22 UTC
Terri Rea

I wholeheartedly recommend the Minnesota Boy Choir!
Their incredible energy and sound is joyful and uplifting.
The will make great use of a website. I'd like to use it to hear more of their singing.

Theresa Lynn Rea
Board of Directors, Theater Now and a fan of the choir

2013-01-16 02:29:36 UTC
Ann Hohenshell

Thanks for your consideration of the Minnesota Boychoir for the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge. This organization runs lean and is true to its mission (challenging boys and young men from many backgrounds to the highest standards of choral music, nurturing character, and benefitting the community). In addition to sharing its music with the community, the choir also does volunteer projects (Feed My Starving Children volunteering events the last few years). With your help designing a better website, the Boychoir could further its mission by reaching more boys/families and potential audience members (Minnesota Boychoir concerts are free). Thank you.

2013-01-16 17:36:22 UTC
Barb Elick Sismilich

Growing up in Texas, everyone heard of the "Texas Boys Choir". Why? I think it has to do with state pride or Texans' innate ability to sing one's own praises (to put it nicely). In the 4th grade, I remember learning the words to "Texas, our Texas," the state song - and can still sing it! Living in Minnesota, the past 30 years, I can't say that I've ever heard Minnesotans sing their state song.

When I realized my ten-year old grandson, Nicholas had a remarkable ear (and voice), I googled boy choir. Within an hour, we had a scheduled audition time. Why? It wasn't because of the web site, it was because of Minnesota Boychoir leadership and their fastidious attention to detail. And, we had no idea what was in store for us.

In brief, Nicholas was accepted into the choir, and nine months later, our family toured Italy with the "Minnesota Boychoir". These little guys performed in Milan, Venice, Lucca, and closed with a finale - singing the high mass in Latin, in St. Peter's Basilica. OMG

The "Minnesota Boychoir", under the tutelage of Mr. Mark Johnson, has been the gem of Minnesota, but thanks to the humble character of its citizens, not all of them have been able to hear these angels sing. When you google "boy choir," or even "choir," their website should be the MOST relevant (appearing at the top each time) AND their voices should be heard - ringing out loud and clear. You should be able to meet each one of these guys - and yes, there are 4 choirs and 160 guys because so many little boys LOVE the camaraderie and love to sing!

Minnesotans deserve to experience this accomplished talent and the "Minnesota Boychoir" only needs a little help in making it technologically easy for them to do so. Creative interactive technology driven by Nerdery, can surely meet the challenge to include sight and sound to bring increased acclaim for this organization. I would caution however, against using cutting-edge methodology to re-create the fragrances produced by 90 boys working in one small choir room, although Mr. J. and Todd (Price) their piano accompanist, have, more than likely, become accustomed to it by now!

Come on, Minnesota - you really have something to brag about !!!
Help us do it, Nerdery !!!

2013-01-17 00:15:25 UTC

I was a part of this organization for many years, and I can say that it changed my life for the better. I got to sing with incredible people, travel the world, and become more disciplined and musically inclined. Though I did not realize it at the time, I must say that its reputation for excellence is very well-grounded. I love this choir and the beautiful pieces they perform and hope it never dies. They are very deserving of a new website.

2013-01-17 00:59:54 UTC
Victor de Meireles

From my experiences, I would like to share a few short stories that highlight just how exceptional the product produced by the Minnesota Boychoir really is.

First, in 2007, the University of Minnesota Men's Chorus held a performance of Randall Thompson's "Testament to Freedom" and was joined by other prominent collegiate and civic men's ensembles. The Allegro group from the Minnesota Boychoir was the only youth choir invited. In the weeks leading up to the performance, Dr. Matthew Mehaffey, who was conducting the performance, led a rehearsal the Boychoir. Afterwards, he shared a few of his thoughts on the rehearsal. He confessed that he came in with no knowledge of the group and rather low expectations. He was blown away by the group's preparation, focus, musicianship, and tone quality. He could hardly belief such a rich and full sound could be produced by a youth ensemble. The Boychoir produces an outstanding musical product. the Boychoir has received numerous invitations and regularly performs with some of the topic top local, regional, national, and international groups. A new website from Nerdy would help showcase the incredible talents this group regularly produces to a wider range of audience members and ensure that more young men and their families are exposed to the wonderful opportunity to sing, learn, develop, and grow with the Minnesota Boychoir.

Secondly, audience members from every age, nationality, and walk of life complimented me and the group after almost every single performance I was a part of. After a performance in the LA Airport, the group got the typical pre-teen scream after a rousing performance. After finishing a deeply moving song sung in Russian, the audience was so lost in the beauty of the music that no one moved or clapped. In a church in New Zealand, after finishing a song in Latin, a very elderly woman exclaimed, "That's beautiful" to the entire audience. Remembering that singing is not a highly tough-of skill for young men by their peers, a 14-year old friend who I invited to hear me sing raved to his parents about the group. My ex-Marine and retired professional musician neighbor told me after a performance that he had never seen such discipline of young men outside the military but had never seen such discipline combined with such musical ability. I had a woman come up to me after a performance and say she immensely enjoyed the performance and that he wouldn't have traded it for the world. Lastly, I recently ran into an attorney in Philadelphia who used to work in downtown Minneapolis in the early 2000s and still fondly remembers the annual Christmas caroling the Boychoir performs in the IDS Center.

I give my enthusiastic recommendation to The Nerdy that the Minnesota Boychoir be selected for a website re-design in the Overnight Website Challenge.

2013-01-17 01:12:05 UTC
Anne Barnes

"Helping Boys Find Their Voice." It is a simple tagline that encompasses far more than meets the eye. Certainly, one need only attend a Boychoir concert to know that these boys find their physical voices and use them to infuse choral music with the highest musical standards. But, the Minnesota Boychoir helps boys find a personal voice as well. Through rehearsals and performances, the boys develop their character, helping one another become good citizens in their communities. The hard-working staff of the Boychoir serves as an outstanding example of integrity, and works to help the boys grow into fine young leaders. Again and again, I have been impressed not only by their music, but also by their poise, manners, discipline and enthusiasm. This is an outstanding organization and is definitely deserving of your assistance!

2013-01-17 02:24:14 UTC
Naomi Stovall

Seeing and hearing the Minnesota Boychoir is always an amazing experience. Several songs at a recent concert were so moving that tears rolled down my cheeks. This wonderful organization is not only beneficial to the boys who are a part of it, it is a gift to us all. Part of the mission of the Minnesota Boychoir is to inspire and benefit the community. Without question this mission is met. I strongly recommend that you consider the Minnesota Boychoir for the Overnight Website Challenge.

2013-01-17 03:29:42 UTC
Bob Kerber

I am especially proud of this organization. Getting boys invovled in the performing arts early is an important element to us sustaining a culture we need and want for us in the twin cities. The Minnesota Boychoir not only serves its mission well but also is very productive and efficient with its financial resources; another element to its long standing success. Obviously, I recommend the Minnesota Boychoir for the Overnight Website Challenge.

2013-01-17 14:30:36 UTC

The Minnesota Boychoir has literally changed my life. Through the last many years (I believe about 7 years) I not only have become an amazing singer, but I have become more confident and I have learned how to present myself professionally. Because of this I will be attending one of the best, most rigorous engineering colleges next year and earning a double major in four years. I will never be able to thank the boychoir enough for what they have done. Getting back to singing, I have had so many incredible experiences. We have sung at almost every place in the Twin Cities and some amazing places outside the area and even out of the country. One of the most incredible things has nothing to do with where we sing, it has to do with the audience. Through our singing we are able to bring just about any emotion out in people, from joy and excitement with an upbeat song to sadness with a touching song (yes, I have seen many many audience members crying over the years from our singing). The most amazing thing is when we are able to bring complete silence to the audience. It is hard to imagine causing over 1,000 people in one concert hall to be completely silent, no sniffing, no coughing, no baby's cry, no shuffling, absolute silence. As a singer it is absolutely incredible and it is an experience that is like none other. I am so thankful for the Minnesota Boychoir and what they have done for me. I hope that the organization continues to grow like it has been so that more boys will be able to experience what I have. We are definitely in need of a new website that works better and that would allow us to have things done more online and much more efficiently. This is definitely a necessity with the increasing size of the choir and with having a small staff the more efficient things can be the better it is for them so they can focus more on what we are doing instead of concentrating on paperwork and making things work right on our website. I definitely, with out a doubt, would recommend the Minnesota Boychoir for the Overnight Website Challenge.

2013-01-17 16:05:38 UTC
Nick Bilderback

Hi, this choir has helped enrich my life at a large scale, and I have shared experiences that were very amazing and unique. This choir has helped me share my voice, learn new musical skills, meet amazing friends, and carry on a legacy since '62. It's had been a special part of my life since '03 and I won't ever forget it and all of its values!

2013-01-18 00:16:59 UTC
Michael Mayer

Hello! I was a member of this choir for 11 years and I would not be who I am today without this choir. I have had amazing experiences throughout the world including Canada, Australia (We sang in the Sydney Opera House, still my favorite moment in my life), and Italy (We sang in St. Peter's Basilica, also an unforgettable memory) that I would never have dreamed of having without it. Also, the music has such a great impact on people. After our free and open to the public concerts, we would go out and talk to the audience, and people would always tell you about songs that made them smile or cry. It is amazing to be able to have an opportunity to move people that way. The boychoir helped me become more of an outgoing person and gave me friends that I will never forget and who I regularly keep in contact with. It is also one of the most welcoming groups of people I have ever met. That's the type of community it builds and that is why I am recommending the Minnesota Boychoir for the Overnight Website Challenge.

2013-01-18 00:22:01 UTC

My son was a member of the MN Boychoir for ten years. From the excellent musical experience he had, to the community we have grown to love so much, it has touched our whole family in ways we never could have imagined. The MN Boychoir reaches so many people in our community through their beautiful music and service. When I think about all that this organization has accomplished, it amazes me that they operate with only a few staff members. The website is in need of many changes, and they do not have the resources do this on their own. It would be such a gift for the MN Boychoir to receive the services of the Overnight Website Challenge, in return for all they have done for our boys and the community.

2013-01-27 00:33:05 UTC

The MN Boy Choir has made me a better musician, and has also introduced me to many new friends, games, and exiting songs. This is why I feel that the Boy Choir should get a new website. If we win, the website would help encourage more kids to join, and more people to come to our concerts, so that more kids could receive the benefits that I have received.

2013-01-27 01:15:08 UTC
Mary Ricker

I love and appreciate the Mn boys choir. We had. 6 guests to hear our grandson sing, he fell sick - did not take our appreciation away from listening to these remarkable boys

2013-01-19 01:58:47 UTC
Justin Hanna

I am not good at sports not do I like any clubs that my school has to offer so my mom signed me up for this choir about 7 years ago. I thank my mom everyday for giving me the opportunity to be in such an amazing organization. This choir has not only changed my life but everyone around me as well. They can see that this organization has turned me into a professional, kind, and caring young man who can really sign a son. Over the years, the choir has presented every member an opportunity that could not be beat. For example, we sang at PICCfest (Pacific International Children's Choral festival) in Portland, OR in 2010. Then we were able to fly of to Italy to sing for thousands of people at the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy. I will never forget that day with the sun shining so bright and that very last note was in harmony. To sum this up, this choir has never let me down and has created a reputation for excellence all around the world. I would love if you accept our request for the Overnight Website Challenge. Thank you so Much!

2013-01-19 20:31:28 UTC

This is an amazing organization and I am so glad my son has been a part of it. The highlight of my entire life was hearing the choir sing at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. I know it is nerdy, but I still get a little teary thinking about it now. A new website will help the boys share more of their amazing music with the world. Please choose the Minnesota Boychoir, I am so grateful we did!

2013-01-19 21:47:51 UTC
Greg Barnes

My son has been in the choir for three years now, and it's been a marvelous experience for him. He has always enjoyed singing, and when I first asked him if he would like to try the Boychoir, he jumped at the chance. He has realized that there are many other boys like him, who love to sing but don't necessarily have an interest in "boy" activities. It has given him the chance to find peers and make new friends, and it has shown him that music-making and singing can be a steady continuum in his life.

The Boychoir is led by Mark Johnson, who is as good a role model for these boys as any I could ever hope to find. He leads them in song, sure, but he is a model par excellence for how to be a good person. He teaches them respect by showing them respect; he teaches them kindness by showing them kindness; he teaches them tolerance by being tolerant; and the list goes on. The music the boys make is beautiful in part because he instills in them the qualities to appreciate and recognize beauty. He has helped hundreds, if not thousands of boys "find their voice."

The Boychoir celebrates the differences of the members and unifies them through music. I am so happy my son is a part of it, and I am proud to be associated in even the smallest way with such a fine organization.

2013-01-19 22:04:04 UTC
Andrea Engdahl

The Minnesota Boychoir is an outstanding organization! We are thrilled that our son has the opportunity to be involved. The thing that we love the most about the Minnesota Boychoir is that it teaches accountability, teamwork, and achievement! These young boys live up to the high expectations set forth by the organization. This group strives to build superb character, and to create beautiful music TOGETHER!

2013-01-20 05:08:24 UTC
Patrick Esmonde.

The boychoir has been an amazing place for my son to grow up. They also serve the community by creating hope with song. Please give them this new website. It will aid their mission!

2013-01-20 05:13:58 UTC
Conor Finnerty-Esmonde

The Minnesota Boychoir has changed my life utterly. So musch so, that I wrote my college essay about it. Here is an excerpt.

When I auditioned for the Minnesota Boychoir, I didn’t realize that those fifteen minutes would lead me to the most influential organization of my life. The Boychoir has not just taught me how to sing, but also has taught me discipline, humility, and the power of song.
My initial lesson was in discipline. During the first concert of the year, I kept looking at the audience instead of the director. He quietly told me three times between songs to look at him. Finally, he stepped forward during a song and barked, “Conor, if you look away from me one more time you will not be singing in the Orchestra Hall Concert.” I was deeply embarrassed. This was the biggest concert of the year, and I would have been devastated to miss it. I focused for the rest of the concert, and in fact, for the next eight years!
The following summer I went on tour with the Boychoir to Manhattan. It was stunning. There was so much magnificence: St. Patrick’s, St. John the Devine, and the Empire State Building, but interestingly enough the place that I found the most profound was where there was the biggest lack of magnificence. At Ground Zero there was just a hole, and a memory of two of the most impressive structures to ever stand. Since the towers had gone down, either “Danny Boy” or “Amazing Grace” had been sung at Ground Zero daily, so we sang “Amazing Grace.” It was incredibly humbling because for the first time, people who were listening to us were not looking at us, but were instead looking at what we were singing for.
When we finished, the crowd dispersed, and life in New York went on. But I was changed. I had learned the healing power of song. It is amazing how one organization could mold me from that mischievous boy in a loin cloth into a man who deeply cherishes the power of song.

I hope you will give the Boychoir this free website. Mr.J and the 180 boys who are members, and all the thousands who hear us sing, will benefit greatly.

Conor Finnerty-Esmonde, Proud Senior in the Minnesota Boychoir.

2013-01-20 07:35:43 UTC

This is an excerpt from the journal I kept while in Australia.

So now it's all over. I arrive today at 6:00, and when I leave, my time with the Boychoir is done. I cannot sum up my experiences with one phrase or story. My story cannot be put into a simple package that people will understand easily. But I will try.
The Boychoir has centered me, focused me, taught me discipline, and has shown me the life changing power of music. I have traveled around the world, met new and interesting people, and sung in the Sydney Opera House. I have gained a new family in my fellow choir members. There are no words to describe how I felt during that final performance of Total Praise. My heart is still bursting from the power of it. My experience with the choir has been the greatest blessing of my life.
I know I said a single phrase can't sum it all up, but I'll try anyways.

"Everything I do, I do to make my heart sing."

I'll miss the choir, but I am so blessed to have taken part in changing lives through music. One final story. Following the concert, I talked with a girl from the Maryland Girl choir. She told me who wonderful we had sounded and how fun it was to watch my facial expression. Then she jokingly said that we had changed her life that night. When I thought about it, I realized that the truth of the statement is found in the fact that it was said in the first place. Whether she knows it or not, she was touched that night. This girl who I'd never met and will likely never meet again had been changed in the space of an hour by my music. That is power. That is beauty. That is what it's all about. That is what makes life worth living.

2013-01-20 14:52:39 UTC

I was blessed to be a member of the Boychoir for 7 years. It's an organization that became a second family to me.

During my senior year of high school, my last year in Boychoir, my mom suddenly fell ill. The diagnosis was a cancer that was spreading quickly. She passed away less than three months after the diagnosis. But boy, did she love the Boychoir. And the director knew that. To my surprise, I received a phone call from him after her passing mentioning that the choir would be honored to sing at her funeral. I will remember that service forever. They performed all of her favorite songs in our repertoire; heck, every song we did was her favorite. And arranging 25 high school boys for an abrupt Monday morning performance isn't easy.

After that moment, times got tough for my family, including financially. Later that season, as the choir prepared for a tour of eastern Canada, the director came up to me and said that the Boychoir, including families in the choir, wanted to pay my tuition and cover my trip expenses. Now, almost 10 years later, I still remember the exact moment he mentioned that to me. The trip was a fantastic end chapter to my time with the organization.

Not only does the Boychoir teach young men the technical aspects of singing, it has changed lives for the better. My gratitude toward this organization is unending. They deserve the visibility boost that comes with a new website and the opportunity for more people to hear the power of this group through their website. Thank you for providing this opportunity for non-profits across Minnesota.

2013-01-24 17:59:46 UTC
Todd Reemtsma

My son has only been involved with the Minnesota Boychoir for a year now, but what it has meant to him and to me has been incredible and I hope that it will be a part of his life for as long as he is eligible to be a member. While the Minnesota Boychoir continues to grow in recognition in the Twin Cities and beyond, it is amazing how many music lovers are unaware of the existence of the Minnesota Boychoir. There are certainly many aspects to continue the growth and recognition of the Minnesota Boychoir and assistance in creating a new website could be a big part of that process. Please consider the Minnesota Boychoir for the Overnight Website Challenge!

2013-01-24 18:01:18 UTC

My son has been a part of the MN Boychoir for the past 6 years, and I have had the wonderful privilege of being a backstage parent for the boys for all of these years. This organization means the world to my son and I. The MN Boychoir has given my son so more more than we ever expected. They hold true to their mission of challenging boys and young men from many backgrounds to the highest standards of choral music, nurturing the development of exceptional character, and inspiring and benefiting the community. I have probably been to hundreds of their performances, and each one is as amazing as the last. The MN Boychoir is deserving of the Overnight Website Challenge!

2013-01-24 18:03:02 UTC
Nancy Nelson

The Minnesota Boychoir is a simply amazing organization. It provides boys with opportunities to work together to learn and peform beautiful music, provide service to the community, and sets high expectations. Boys grow through their involvement with the choir; each member learns how to be comfortable in intense and demanding performance situations. My four sons are all members of the choir. Each has developed a love for music, incrased focus, made strong friendships and had a positive experience. The choir has been so important in my eldest son's life that he plans to pursue a bachelor of music in vocal performance in college. The choir also has a hardworking group of volunteers and a dedicated board of directors. I love the Minnesota Boychoir and a new website would be terrific!

2013-01-24 18:23:16 UTC

The Minnesota Boychoir has been an incredibly influential part of my son's life. I feel that the structure and positive male role models will serve him well in the future. He has shown a level of commitment to Boychoir that I haven't seen in other activities. He's learning that hard work and fun can go hand in hand!

2013-01-24 19:10:19 UTC
Daniel J Ashby

This is a must do. This organization has given so much to those that have had the opportunity to be involved in it and to the public that it entertains. This organization changes and enriches the lives of the kids that it touches. This is a direct credit to those that run and support the organization making the decision to get our sun involved one of the best we have ever made.

2013-01-24 19:37:37 UTC
Anonymous Mom

I am so pleased to see my son shine on stage. The Boychior has helped him find a passion that will follow him through life. The first concert we attended I cried (with joy) the entire program. Now, after a year, I'm proud to say I only cry (with joy) about 1/2 of the time he's on stage. Thank you Boychoir for bringing such joy to our son. I'm tearing up now.

2013-01-24 20:27:14 UTC
Carol E. Gilson

The Minnesota Boy Choir serves as a tremendous training ground for young boys--not only in music education and performance but in personal discipline and establishing values. I am personally delighted to watch our 8-year-old grandson's progress and excitement in making new "choir" friends as well as participating in the various activities including the summer "Sing Minnesota." I am deeply appreciative to Mark and Todd for their outstanding leadership and commitment to all of the boys in the choirs.

2013-01-24 23:06:17 UTC
Roopali Phadke

My son just joined the Boy Choir this year and its been amazing. He sings so confidently and all the time. He has us all singing! Most of all I am amazed how much he looks up to the oldest students and sees them as role models.

2013-01-25 00:57:02 UTC
Jean Rehkamp Larson

The Minnesota boychoir provides a place for boys to grow and mature into exceptional young men.

The combined choirs are made up of over 150 boys. In a two hour concert they move audiences between joy and tears. We would love a new web site that reflects the energy of youth, the discipline of hardwork and the amazing beauty of many voices collaborating to make music.

2013-01-25 02:05:50 UTC
Rebecca Ropers-Huilman

The Minnesota Boychoir is one of the best run organizations with which I have ever been associated. My child has benefitted tremendously from his affiliation with this group, and I expect he will remain a member for the next decade. It does so much for our community and for the development of a diverse group of children who share their talents with each other, their families, and their many audiences.

2013-01-25 02:14:14 UTC
Aaron Ropers-Huilman

I am in the Minnesota Boychoir and I think it is great because I LOVE SINGING! The thing I love most is that we get to play games and other stuff to help us sing better. PLEASE SUPPORT THE MN. BOYCHOIR ! Aaron.

2013-01-25 02:30:14 UTC

The Minnesota Boychoir is a wonderful group of talented young men. The organization teaches them so many fine skills that will be used throughout their lives. They sing and perform and give back to the community in so many ways. So thankful for this huge family!

2013-01-25 14:51:17 UTC
Michael Arquin

This is a great group. It has transformed my son --- he loves to sing!

2013-01-26 05:23:57 UTC
Lisa Westgard

Thanks to the Boychoir my quiet son has blossomed - it's a great organization for boys to truly find their voice.

2013-01-26 17:20:18 UTC
Kathy Finnerty Dobe

It has been with profound gratefulness that my family and I have seen the Minnesota Boychoir perform! The commitment of everyone involved, from performers to directors, parents, musicians, administration and volunteers, is clearly unwaivering and substantial. What a wonderful thing to see in the lives of tomorrow's leaders and dreamers! I believe a well-designed website will greatly enable this organization to reach even further into the lives of those it serves. Thank you for your consideration. They really deserve it

2013-01-26 20:55:11 UTC

Dear Nerdery, I am also writing to strongly urge your selection of the Minnesota Boychoir for your Overnight Website Challenge. We are grateful for this opportunity and the Minnesota Boychoir is very deserving of your assistance. I have served as a volunteer in many capacities so I feel I have a broad perspective of this organization. Our son is currently in the choir, and the experience has been and will continue to be life changing for him. The music the boys learn and perform is merely the vehicle for so many life skills and values they acquire. They learn the value of hard work, focus, and discipline. They learn to put their best foot forward and practice excellence. They learn to care for each other and their communities. They learn in a culture that expects older boys to mentor and encourage younger ones. They learn to be grateful and to give and receive feedback for the purpose of growing and improving. This choir is made up of a diverse group of boys held together by their common bond of music. The choir has members who are boys at risk and boys of priviledge, and I have seen each one of them change in ways they never expected. Because of the choir and the leadership and mentoring of Mark Johnson and Todd Price these boys can do more than they ever thought possible. They find their voice to become outstanding boys and young men.

2013-01-28 17:35:29 UTC
Susan Hoffman

I was driving my grandson to Boy Choir rehearsal recently and telling him how incredible, how beautiful it was to listen to them perform. He replied back to me,"Grandma, you think it's beautiful to listen, imagine how wonderful it is to be in the midst of the singing!"

I am an old woman and have supported all my children and grandchildren through arts programs and classes. The Boy Choir is hands down the best! It's not only the education which is first rate and the performance opportunities that are so fine but it is the pride and the fun, the discipline, the belonging that the boys experience. It has been truly a gift to my grandson. Mark and John are truly the best kind of teachers.

2013-01-29 17:01:50 UTC
Kristine Barton

Minnesota Boychoir has been such a blessing to our family. Not only do we enjoy the beautiful music but our son, Andrew, has been given the chance to develop his singing skills, meet new friends and learn about so much more than music. Mark Johnson is a brilliant leader and wonderful role model for these boys, teaching respect and accountability as well as music. Todd with the music he has written has shown the boys creative dreams can become reality. It is simply the best organization for boys there is.

2013-01-30 19:11:31 UTC
Molly Piper

Thanks so much for considering the Minnesota Boychoir in this special contest. I would LOVE to see the choir get a website re-design. I think it would be a very valuable tool for increasing community for Boychoir parents and members. I would love for there to be an option for online payment for things like tuition. I would also love a community "bulletin board" of sorts, so that parents could interact with one another more easily.

A new website would be so important as the choir grows in size (record participation this year). There's obviously a reason that more and more families are being drawn to participate in the Minnesota Boychoir. It truly is a top-notch organization that makes such a positive difference in the lives of boys and young men.

We are a newer family to this organization, but are eager and hopeful for many years of involvement.

2013-01-30 22:41:37 UTC
Gretchen Ulbee

Our son has just joined this organization a few months ago, and already we have so much appreciation for the talents of the staff, the dedication of the parent volunteers and of course the wonderful young men and boys singing in this choir!

Please help Minnesota BoyChoir take it to the next level by upgrading the website. We want to share this wonderful organization with other parents, and a better website would help so much. Thank you for considering Minnesota BoyChoir for the overnight website challenge!

2013-02-01 01:11:46 UTC
Hans Schmelzer

being a father of a boy choir member I see the challenges they face .the boy choir is in need to have a update to new and trendy website.

2013-02-04 01:34:40 UTC
Susan Pickart

The Minnesota Boychoir is everything that is good.
It inspires boys to reach their fullest potential.
The wonderful leadership and musical teaching
produces incredible music- together!
The Minnesota Boychoir gives back to the community in so many ways.
Once you are touched by the Minnesota Boychoir you
are never the same, you're better!

2013-02-04 19:19:59 UTC

This organization has had a huge impact on my family. My middle son was in the choir for 11 years. I believe he is the person he is today because of this choir and the direction/support of Mr. Mark Johnson. When people meet my son they are amazed and impressed. He has really grown up to be a poised, confident, kind, generous and talented individual due in large part to his involvement with the Minnesota Boychoir. He is studying music education with dreams of someday directing his own choir. My youngest just joined the choir this year and I can't wait to see him thrive and grow as a member of this choir. It is truly an amazing organization!

2013-02-04 20:07:04 UTC
Leslie Watson

The MN Boychoir is a great organization and very deserving of The Nerdery's support in creating a new website to showcase its musical excellence and its admirable mission. Not only do the boys bring music to many people throughout the year, and but through their involvement in the Boychoir they gain confidence, a sense of responsibility, an appreciation for excellence, and a great spirit of camaraderie--in short, a host of fine attributes that are highly worth cultivating in our young people!

2013-02-05 00:22:45 UTC

Wanna know why?

2013-02-05 02:31:19 UTC

What an amazing group of boys! I saw a group called Junior Chorus sing and I couldn't believe that a group of elementary school-aged boys could focus and sing so beautifully in some many languages! Bravo!

2013-02-08 04:29:20 UTC
Maureen Ulbee

This is an amazing organization that supports boys as the grow into young men. The role models here are amazing, using music as a way to teach boys to respect themselves and others, create a safe and caring community, and learn that hard work and discipline can be fun and rewarding. This is the first year my 8 year old son has been in the choir and after his first rehearsal he told me he wants to sing with the Minnesota Boychoir until he goes to college!

2013-02-08 17:43:10 UTC

Great organization! So many young men are immeasurably better off because of the boychoir.

2013-02-08 17:59:20 UTC

The MN Boychoir is a great organization and Minnesota is the better for it! Having a boy choir to represent the state in other parts of the country and the world is a huge benefit for Minnesota and for all the boys and young men that participate. Great organization, great leader, great families.

2013-02-10 16:41:16 UTC

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Our Mission

The Minnesota Boychoir challenges boys and young men from many backgrounds to the highest standards of choral music, nurtures the development of exceptional character, and inspires and benefits the community.