The mission of Choral Arts Ensemble is to inspire, educate, and enrich the community at large through outstanding choral performance.
Choral Arts Ensemble has been inspiring audiences throughout southeast Minnesota with performances of outstanding choral music since its founding by Rick Kvam in 1985. The auditioned singers of CAE are active community members from a wide variety of professions, including teachers, doctors, medical students, business people, computer technicians, and church leaders, all drawn together to create excellent music and contribute to the artistically thriving life in and around Rochester.
Our repertoire includes a cappella works, from the Renaissance to the present day, as well as a variety of choral/orchestral works ranging from J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor to Beethoven's Mass in C to Honegger’s King David. We are proud to have commissioned and premiered more than 65 new choral works.
We have collaborated locally with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Honors Choirs of SE Minnesota, Rochester Art Center, Janet Lang Dancers, and regionally with the Great River Shakespeare Festival, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dale Warland Singers. For several years CAE’s Christmas at Assisi concert has been broadcast on KSMQ public television and the choir has selections played regularly on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.
Artistic Director Rick Kvam holds music degrees from Harvard and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Rick founded the Rochester Men’s Capella in 1982, the Choral Arts Ensemble in 1985, and the Honors Choirs of SE Minnesota in 1992. He won the Sally Ordway Award for arts initiative, the Mayor’s Award for artistic excellence, and is a member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. Fortunate to collaborate all these years with life partner and accompanist Jan Kvam, Rick retired from his 'other' job in 2019 after thirty-four years in emergency medicine.
Choirs under Rick's direction have sung at the White House, on National Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion, with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ordway, and collaborated in recent seasons with artists from the Great River Shakespeare Festival and the MN Bach Society.
The Singers for 2023 - 2024
Marissa Brengman Hansen
Caitlin Van Lith
The Board of Directors
President: Eric Stinson
Vice President: Sarah Vinzant
Secretary: Beth Nienow
Treasurer: Dan Kutzke
Past President: Alan Hansen
Artistic Director: Rick Kvam
Executive Director: Karen Sessler
Accompanist: Jan Kvam
Concert Coordinator: Tim Hildebrandt
Rosemary & Meredith Willson Harmony for Mayo
Choral Arts Ensemble, like our many audience members and neighbors, is profoundly disturbed by the tragic killing of George Floyd, yet another horrifying reminder of the systemic racism and injustice that stubbornly persists in our community, our state, and our nation.
While this situation is toxic for our entire society, we acknowledge the particular hurt and anger of our neighbors of color. We will seek through our music to be a force for healing and advocating for justice, equality, and peace.
We know that music and other arts can bring people together to address our deepest problems and to create communities in which all individuals are valued, all are safe to live and work. Our commitment to doing this work remains strong.