Mount Olivet member, Vincent VanHatten, has spent the past several years singing solos across the United States and Europe with the North Star Boys' Choir (NSBC) - a group of classically trained boys from the metro area who have made a name for themselves here and overseas.
They are led by artistic director, Francis Stockwell, an internationally recognized choral director who has studied and taught all over the world - most prominently with the Vienna boys' choir.
In 1997, Stockwell brought the European boys' choir tradition to Elk River, MN. His experience set these newly formed choirs apart by putting them through intense vocal training that utilizes the entire body as a resonating board.
Vincent's affinity for singing became apparent before he could walk and by Kindergarten had joined his first choir. In fourth grade he became the youngest member of the "Viking" choir, the most advanced ensemble in the NSBC organization. That year, they competed in the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, coming away with the a silver in the children's category and bronze medal in the barbershop category - outperforming many adult choirs.
During this time, Francis recognized Vincent's talent and dedication - and over the ensuing year helped develop his vocal control and technique in preparation for the most distinguished role: soloist.
By 2013, Vincent was singing technical solos as the choir toured Germany, Austria and Italy, performing in centuries old basilicas, and cathedrals, including St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. Vincent shared it was during these European concerts that he felt God's presence - especially when hearing their voices echo off the same stonework as boys' choirs dating back over half a millennia.
Now at 13, Vincent faces the inevitable voice change that normally ends the career of classically trained boys' choir members. Vincent is the last member of the Viking choir that competed in the World Choir Games in Cincinnati back in 2013. Though he knows his voice will break soon, Vincent says it won't stop him from following the call he feels to sing.
He plans to continue working with his mentor, Francis Stockwell, singing in the small Kantorei choir where sopranos have adjusted to their new baritone, tenor, and bass. Keep an eye out for Vincent here at MO as he hopes to share his talent with our faith community.