This summer, after 26 years, Brother Paul Richards, dreamer, founder, director, visionary, promoter and leader of the St. John's Boys' Choir of Central Minnesota has stepped down from his position with the group. He leaves behind a positive legacy that this story only skirts the very edge of the iceberg seen above the water... let alone the 90% of the iceberg left unseen below the water.
The text below was taken from the Boys' Choir Website, submitted by Brother Paul last year.
The saying that suggests ‘history has a way of repeating itself,’ rings
true for The St. John’s Boys’ Choir. In 1981, the Choir was founded to
provide opportunities for boys while bringing extraordinary music to
We stayed true to our mission, building a viable organization with sustaining impact on Choir members, families, teachers and others associated with The St. John’s Boys’ Choir.
To say that I am proud of the Choir’s achievements would be a serious understatement. Our music program is solid; we have earned a strong national and international reputation. Though always a challenge, our financial position promotes long-term viability. Friends have been generous and we have successfully entered the realm of grants and fundraising (keep those critical dollars coming).
In addition to our strengths in music and finances, I must commend the boys and their families for their hard work and, sometimes, difficult decisions made in order to meet the demands and responsibilities associated with being part of the Choir. The administrative and professional staff, student workers, Board of Directors, members of the Abbey community….all playing critical roles in the ongoing story of The St. John’s Boys’ Choir.
The 26th Season brings another milestone to the Choir’s rich and varied history. The Choir commissioned world-renowned Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus to prepare an opera which would feature boys as the major characters. Working with celebrated librettist Gene Sheer of New York, The Star Gatherer, was developed and celebrated with its world debut by The St. John’s Boys’ Choir at Saint John’s University.
This performance is indicative of the Choir’s growth and continued desire to bring great gifts of music and culture to the good people of central Minnesota.
You are all stars.
Br. Paul Richards, O.S.B.