The Minnesota Center Chorale (MCC) is a regional community chorus which began its 51st season in the fall of 2023. MCC draws members throughout central Minnesota into this 60-80 member auditioned choir to perform a mixture of classical and contemporary music. All the members are volunteers.
Sacred masterworks performed in recent seasons include The Creation (Die Schöpfung) by Franz Joseph Haydn; Requiem Mass settings by Johann Brahms, W.A. Mozart and Guiseppi Verdi; Mass settings by Charles Gounod, Ethel Smyth, and Amy Beach; and Te Deum settings by Zoltan Kodaly and Anton Bruckner.
MCC has performed unique and eclectic works such as Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio and Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb; and presented programs entitled A Civil War Portrait with musicians Cristina Seaborn and Paul Imholte; The Emerald Isle-with collaborative guests Ring of Kerry; The Reluctant Dragon – a free family concert held at The East-Side Boys and Girls Club; When Music Sounds -composed by Roger Towler and performed with the Bethlehem Strings; and We Remember – a memorial concert for 9/11 with the Land of Lakes Choirboys.
Lighter concerts include Postcards From Minnesota, with special guests St. John's Boys' Choir; Let's Go to the Movies!; A Broadway Valentine; and concerts with the St. Cloud Municipal Band - From Sea to Shining Sea, a concert to honor war veterans, and I Hear America Singing, a patriotic concert.
Past residencies include St. Cloud native Flannery Cunningham with the premiere of Nightlines, composer Caleb Wenzel with the premiere of the MCC commission of Psalm 150, a premiere of the commissioned work Songs of War and Peace by Judith Shatin, Korean American composer Yung-wha Son with Song of Diaspora, English composer David Fanshawe and a performance of his African Sanctus, and Mary McAuliffe from Ireland for a performance of her Return to Old Ireland.
Our Artistic Director
Nicole has been Artistic Director & Conductor of Minnesota Center Chorale since 2019. She is Assistant Professor of Music at Bethel University where she directs the SSAA choir, Lucia Chorum, and teaches private voice and music education courses. Nicole is also Director of Youth Ensembles for Minnesota Chorale in Minneapolis, MN and Conductor of Bella Fiore with Sing Out Loud in Rochester, MN. Prior to this, she taught middle & high school choir for nine years and also worked as a therapeutic musician for Knute Nelson Hospice. Nicole also currently serves as the Central District Chair for ACDA-MN and as the Collegiate-Level Vice President for MMEA.
Nicole is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Music Education from Liberty University's School of Music; she is done with all coursework and working on her dissertation. She holds a Master of Music with a Conducting Specialization from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in K-12 Choral Music Education from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Nicole has presented choirs at MMEA Midwinter Clinic and at several festivals in MN and ND; she has also been a clinician at the ACDA state conference and section leader for MN All-State Choirs. She is active regionally as a guest conductor and adjudicator at music festivals and conferences.
As a trained coloratura soprano, Nicole has performed as a soloist with Opera Fort Collins, Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists, Chant Claire, and Central Lakes Symphony Chorale. She is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Minnesota Music Educators Association, Chorus America, and National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Photo credit: Design Studio by Stacy
Denise Bernard was born and raised in Connecticut. She studied piano at the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, CT and received her BS in Music Education. Denise spent her musical career doing a variety of things including teaching K-8 music, serving as a church organist, pianist, choir director and hand bell choir director, managing her own piano studio, and accompanying choirs and musicals. Denise currently teaches K-6 general music at Swanville Elementary. She also serves as organist/pianist at St. John's Episcopal Church and teaches piano at her home studio. For fun, she loves to quilt, create with fabric, work in paper arts, and travel. Denise lives in Rice with her husband, Chris, and enjoys the company of her two grown children and expanding family, including her grandsons, Spencer, Silas, Cooper, and Beckett.