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Cantus men's vocal ensemble will help choir students fine-tune their skills

An artist in residence program starting at Farmington High School this week will help the concert choir get more in tune with one another, so to speak.

On Tuesday, the men's vocal chamber ensemble Cantus began its artist in residence program at FHS by giving a free a cappella concert for the FHS choir, and for the male students of the ninth grade music program. They will stick around through the end of the week to work with the older students, as well.

"They're great teachers of technique and vocal style, and really all the things we work on throughout the year," said FHS vocal music instructor Megan Dimich.

Dimich has seen Cantus a few times during her career. In more recent years, she's heard a little more of them since a friend of hers is now a member of the group. Every spring, Cantus accepts applications to be part of the artist in residence program from schools around the state. Dimich submitted a recording of last spring's concert choir for the program. Farmington was one of three schools selected this year.

The Cantus educators will come to FHS for four weeks throughout the school year, Dimich said. They'll be here this week, then come back in February, March and April.

They'll work with Farmington students one more time in May - when FHS joins the other two selected schools for a concert in the Twin Cities. At that, the FHS choir will do individual pieces, sing with the Cantus members and do a few numbers with the other two schools.

"I think it will be a really neat experience for our kids to work with these other two high schools," Dimich said. "It's a pretty big honor to be selected, actually, because there's only a few schools in the state that get to do this."

Cantus provides their training of students for no cost, Dimich added. The group offers the education piece to help foster an interest in the value of vocal music programs.

"It's an outreach program, so we don't pay anything as a high school or a choir program. They do it for the opportunity to get students excited about a cappella singing, and we're really excited to have them come in and work with our students," she said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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