Slug: Edina Football Choir Boys
Many students know senior Andy Bartz as strong safety on the Edina football team or the starting center fielder who led the baseball team in homeruns. But not as many people know that Bartz is also one who enjoys singing.
Like nine of his fellow teammates on the Edina football team, Bartz is a member of the Edina Concert Choir. Among the players are three football team captains: Bartz, senior Joe Magnuson and junior Zach Buddish.
“It’s a good balance between my art and athletic interests. The performances are loads of fun and we have a lot of laughs along the way,” Bartz said.
Bill Rodgers, a second-string linebacker for the football team and second-year member of Concert Choir, enjoys the contrast between football and singing.
“You don’t get hurt in singing,” Rodgers said. He also participates in six different organized choirs including the Minnesota All-State Choir.
“It’s a skill that everyone should have. It’s been part of my life since I was a kid and it’s a great way to be creative,” Rodgers said.
Every June, about 200 Edina students audition for 98 Concert Choir spots. Once the choir is chosen by teachers Dr. David Henderson and Mr. Christopher Piela, choir members commit to a full-year class that meets every day to rehearse for its many concerts and choral competitions.
The choir’s concert on Nov. 12, “Grammy Gala,” featured the band, orchestra and choir performing at the Edina Performing Arts Center.
“It was tempting to be a part of,” Magnuson said. “With our town having great history behind music and sports, I wanted to join the bandwagon and do both.”
Many choir members from last year observed an increase in the number of football players participating in the program this year. In the 2006-07 school year, only four players wore their jerseys to choir class on game days compared to 10 wearing jerseys this year.
Henderson, the conductor of the choir, was pleased to see more football players in his class. He hopes it will inspire boys in elementary and middle school to partake in the Edina choir program.
“This is a great thing,” Henderson said. “It shows that singing is becoming less of a ‘girly’ thing.”
Aside from Henderson’s approval of the singing football players, he sees a definite connection between team sports and a choral group.
“Both involve a unit working together to produce a successful end result,” he said.
Henderson requires that all male members of Edina Concert Choir participate in Edina Men’s Chorus, a group composed of men of all ages throughout Edina. They practice every Wednesday morning before school and perform various shows throughout the school year. Every year, Dr. Henderson arranges for the Edina Men’s Chorus to perform the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to opening kickoff of Edina’s Homecoming football game. This year, Henderson arranged for the ten football players to be placed in the center of front row of the chorus, facing the Edina fans’ seating section.
“Football players can sing too,” said Henderson.