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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 outstanding choral music performances since its founding by Rick Kvam in 1985.  CAE's auditioned singers are active community members from a wide variety of professions, including teachers, doctors, nurses, medical students, business people, IT professionals, 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.  

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Artistic Director

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 Bach Society of Minnesota. 

The Singers for 2023 - 2024


Janette Davis
Megan Dotzler

Kristine Hanson
Kristina Harfmann
Pamela Hugdahl
Melinda Johnston
Susan Lien
Abigail Mancilla

Nora O'Sullivan
Tessa Pierce
Alyssa Quiggle
Katie Riese
Heidi Shriver
Sarah Vinzant

Kjirsten Zahn


Megan Blatti
Marissa Brengman Hansen
Melissa Dalley
Barb Depman
Anna Finke
Rachel Gentes
Erin Haefner
Jenny Kruse

Amanda Lindberg
Emma Long
Laura Miller
Amber Olson
Stephanie Schumacher
Katie Stinson
Cana Straub
Caitlin Van Lith

Maggie Waller


Nicholas Berge
Daniel Borup
Andy Buchholz
Sam Haefner
Andrew Johnsrud
Alex Knoll
Dan Kutzke
Matthew Maus
Ian Parney
Jay Puffer
Bart Seebach
Sam Simataa
Eric Stinson
Riley Thompson



Jordan Brown
Jon Coker
Greg Davis
Todd Davis
Steven Dotzler
Dave Freitag
Alan Hansen
Grant Holsinger
Daniel Hunsberger
David Joyce
Spencer Ketterling
Nathan Lien
Garett Meyer

Ben Quiram
Aaron Schumacher
Jason Sinnwell
Mike Thompson

The Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President:  Eric Stinson

Vice President: Sarah Vinzant

Secretary:  Beth Nienow

Treasurer:  Dan Kutzke

Past President: Alan Hansen


Holly Ebel
Ron Elcombe
Andrew Good
Judy Hickey
Ilaya Hopkins
Pamela Hugdahl
Clark Johnson

Leslie Litwiller
Alyssa Quiggle
Dean Stenehjem
Joanne Swenson
Riley Thompson
Ryan Williams
Janine Yanisch


Artistic Director:  Rick Kvam

Executive Director:  Karen Sessler

Accompanist:  Jan Kvam

Communications & Concert Coordinator: Karen Rorie

Financial Administrator: Karri Campbell

Concert Coordinator: Ben Gateno

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Social Justice

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.

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