Dr. John Hoffacker previously a conductor of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra
By Cynthia Parsons
Edina Chorale, an ensemble of 100 singers, has been singing and entertaining the local community since 1985.
“Our choir sings music from Bach to Beatles,” Edina Chorale Board President Diane Etling said.
In August, the chorale welcomed a new musical director, Dr. John Hoffacker.
“He is only our fourth music director in 32 years,” said Etling, who has been board president for three years and has been singing with the choir since 2009. “John brings a lot of musical talent and is very dynamic. The choir has sung with him twice now. He really brings out remarkable things from us.”
“It’s like a marriage. We teach each other,” Hoffacker added. “We bare our souls to each other and find our strengths and weaknesses.”
Previously a conductor of the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra, Hoffacker has a bachelor of arts degree in music from the University of Virginia, a master of music degree from the University of Oregon and a doctorate in conducting Music from the Eastman School of Music.
Hoffacker comes to the Edina Chorale from Chorus Polaris, which he founded in 2005. He has sung with the Minnesota Chorale; founded the GAI Minnesänger (the mixed-voice chorus of the Germanic-American Institute); conducted the Golden Valley, Bloomington and Minnetonka Symphony Orchestras, the Nashua Symphony Chorus and the Cantemus Chamber Chorus; served as assistant conductor of the Portland Symphonic Choir and taught at Colby College, Midwestern State University, Georgia Southern University and Fitchburg State College.
Hoffacker said he is excited to begin preparations for Edina Chorale’s 2017-18 three-concert season titled “United in Harmony,” which kicks off with two concerts at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at South View Middle School Auditorium in Edina. This fall/holiday concert, “Gratitude and Hope,” will offer both spiritual and secular music, including some familiar holiday songs.
Hoffacker has written music arrangements for a German Christmas carol and a new arrangement for “Deck the Halls,” which is one of the few songs that celebrates New Year’s, he said. He said his goal is to enable singers of the Edina Chorale to create beauty of the human condition with a variety of original styles.
The mid-winter concert is the Pops! Concert on Feb. 2-3, 2018, at the Church of St. Patrick at the Mahon Center in Edina.
“The Pops! Concert is our most attended concert,” said Shea Johnson, Edina Chorale’s marketing director. “We play a lot of familiar pop songs in a cabaret style with wine, appetizers, desserts and coffee.”
The third concert is Collaboration with Twin Cities Gospel Choir with music inspired by spirituals and gospel music on May 11-12, 2018, at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church at Lake Calhoun Event Center in Minneapolis.
“We have sung at community events such as the Fourth of July Parade, Lunds, the Southdale Mall and the opening of Whole Foods in Edina,” said Etling. “It’s very special to be a part of this choir. The group sometimes goes on tour. We sang in Italy at the Basicilla at St. Peters last summer, in Austria in 2009 and in Mexico City in 1992.”
The Edina Chorale meets 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday nights September to June, at Edina High School’s new choir room. Hoffacker said his job is to make Tuesday the best night of the week every week.
The choir has a few openings for tenors and basses, and Johnson said tryouts are in the spring and fall and is open to anyone with musical talent.
For more information about the chorale and the concert schedule, visit edinachorale.org.
Dr. John Hoffacker
John Hoffacker, new music director for the Edina Chorale, conducts at a charity event last year at the Church of Epiphany in Plymouth. (Submitted photo)