ABOUT ARMSTRONG CHOIRS
Students enrolled in the Armstrong Choral Program are a part of a long and proud heritage spanning over 40 years of excellence. As a member of a performance ensemble, students are held accountable for their own individual vocal development, their personal contribution to the ensemble, and for the excellence of the ensemble as a whole, in addition to traditional classroom grading requirements.
The program features two upper-level auditioned choirs. The Armstrong Concert Choir is a mixed-voice ensemble and Cantori is the women’s choir, both open only to juniors and seniors. Both of these ensembles are curricular in nature with many co-curricular obligations and performance opportunities. In addition to winter, March, and spring home concerts, NWSC Music Festival and Region 6AA participation, these two ensembles tour annually and represent Armstrong, District 281, and the state of Minnesota in a variety of venues. The quality and visibility of these ensembles enables the choir to perform in numerous prestigious venues. In 2005 alone, the Armstrong Concert Choir performed for the Minnesota Music Educators Convention, the Dorian Invitational Festival at Luther College, and at Carnegie Hall. During the 2008-2009 school year the Concert Choir appeared in the St. Olaf Choral Day, Concordia Choral Festival, and Dorian Invitational Festival. In 2012 the Concert Choir was featured at the North Central ACDA Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, and in 2013 Cantori will perform for the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. Students who participate in these auditioned ensembles develop a high level of musical excellence and personal growth.
The Varsity Men's and Women's Choirs provide an opportunity for 10-12th grade students to sing in choir without an audition. Even though these choirs meet during the same class period, they are primarily featured individually in performance. Armstrong's Freshman Choirs offer our 9th grade students a comprehensive choral experience featuring two annual performances and deep study of individual vocal development. Freshman choirs are divided in two class periods. Freshman and Varsity students may participate in an instrumental ensemble and choir through an alternating schedule during the same class period.
In addition to these six curricular ensembles, the Choral Program supports three co-curricular vocal ensembles. The Freshman Madrigal Singers and Varsity Madrigal Singers are chamber ensembles chosen by an audition from the Freshman and Varsity Choirs. Rosters are typically between 24-30 singers in each group. These ensembles are auditioned in the fall and rehearse one morning each week. They perform for all of the concerts given at Armstrong and also participate in Region 6AA Solo/Ensemble Contest each spring.
The Armstrong Chamber Singers are the most visible vocal ensemble at Armstrong High School. Their annual performance schedule is both demanding and fulfilling. They are often out and about in our community and beyond representing our program, Armstrong High School, and the Robbinsdale Area Schools. Their performances have earned distinction in a number of venues, including Region 6AA Solo/Ensemble Contest "Best of Site" honors in 8 of the past 11 years. These students work tirelessly to do well in the widest variety of academic, activity, and athletic pursuits. They are the finest representatives of Armstrong High School with regard to student achievement and integrity.
Continuing the legacy
It is our hope that the vast majority of students who register for choir as freshman continue to perform in a choral ensemble at Armstrong throughout their high school years. After being a committed member for multiple years, students should be able to sight read music, know basic eras of music history, understand the physiology of the human voice, gain poise from performance experiences, appreciate the necessary components of teamwork, and develop the intangible gift of self-expression. Beyond the academic and musical achievements, these years of participation in the choral program result in valuable friendships, high quality relationships, individual growth, and lifelong memories from creating "magical musical mountaintop moments." This combination of academic, group and individual skills will provide each student with a unique opportunity that only the performing arts can provide.
Stephanie Trump, director
Since 1996 Stephanie Trump has directed choirs at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, MN. Her ensembles have performed with the King’s Singers, Doc Severinson, Minnesota Youth Symphony, Oratorio Society, Minnesota Chorale, Cantus, and the Minnesota Orchestra, for choral festivals at St. Olaf College,
Concordia College, Luther College, UW Eau Claire, and at Carnegie Hall, and at several national, regional, and state-level music conventions including two venues at the 2004 MENC National Convention in Minneapolis, the 2001 and 2005 Minnesota Music Educators Convention, in the 2006 and 2011 ACDA Choral Arts Finale Festival, and for the NCACDA Convention in 2012. Her work in the classroom has lead to several choral commissions, dedications, premiers, and recordings by such composers as David Dickau, Paul Oakley, Dale Warland, Jerry Rubino, Robert Sieving, Timothy Takach, and Jocelyn Hagen.
Stephanie Trump is an Adjunct Instructor of Music at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul where she conducts the Women’s Chorale. The Chorale performs several concerts each year and tours regionally.
Mrs. Trump has served as the National MENC Choral Mentor and was featured in an MPR Broadcast on choral music in Minnesota. In 2013 she was a finalist for Robbinsdale Teacher of the Year and has twice been named “Best Teacher in Plymouth.” She mentors student teachers from a number of local and regional colleges and has served on the Board of ACDA Minnesota, Region 6AA, Minnesota Arts Consortium, and MMEA. She has presented sessions at MMEA and ACDA and has served as a section coach for the Minnesota All-State Choirs. Stephanie is active as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the state of Minnesota.
Mrs. Trump earned her BA degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Augsburg College and an MA degree in Music Education from the University of Hawai’i.
Tony Rangel, director
Tony Rangel began directing choirs at Armstrong in 2011. Mr. Rangel earned his BA in Vocal Music Education and Music Management, summa cum laude, at Luther College where he sang in the Nordic Choir, studied choral pedagogy with renowned conductors Weston Noble and Craig Arnold, and received scholastic and musical recognition through induction into Phi Betta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda. He received his MA in Choral Music Education at St. Thomas University in 2017 under the inspirational guidance of Angela Broeker.
Having student taught at Armstrong under Mr. Kruse's and Mrs. Trump's watchful eye and ear, Mr. Rangel came to AHS from Columbia Heights High School where he served as Choral Director for three years. He has been a musical vocal director and accompanist, served multiple times as an All State and ACDA Honor Choir section coach, and collaborated with Stages Theaters, MacPhail Music, and the Perpich Center for the Arts. He has performed with Magnum Chorum, serving as tenor section leader, and was selected as a guest rehearsalist for Magnum Chorum in the fall of 2013. Mr. Rangel is employed by Mount Olivet Lutheran Church as section leader, soloist, and guest director. He holds membership in the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Music Educators National Conference.
Photo credit - Julie Ratkovich