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Alan Hoglund spent five years with the Minnesota Boychoir, leaving after his sophomore year of high school. During that time, he was able to travel around the world, something he had never done before. He vividly remembers the Boychoir’s trip to New Zealand in 2002. “I remember the New Zealand tour being my favorite tour because it was my first, and it was half way around the world. I enjoyed learning about the Maori culture, which I hadn’t heard of until then.”
Although those early Saturday morning rehearsals weren’t great at the time, heading to Boychoir was something he looked forward to every week. Looking back, Alan notes that this organization didn’t just teach him how to sing in Swahili. “Boychoir taught me how to get along with other boys my age. It taught me discipline and respect.”
After leaving the Boychoir, Alan sung with an a Capella group at his high school. He attended Bethel University, graduating in 2010 with a degree in Media Communications. He also was in the school’s Bethel Choir, that University’s premiere group.
Just a month after graduating from Bethel, Alan put his degree to use, accepting a job at ABC affiliate WDIO in Duluth, MN. Alan still can regularly be seen reporting around Northeastern Minnesota. He also produces their “Eyewitness News at 5” broadcast.
A year after accepting a job at WDIO, Alan married his wife, Annie, in June 2011.
Alan is definitely thankful for the time he was in the Boychoir, noting it taught him about being a team player, a trait that’s essential in a newsroom. He says, “My experience in Boychoir is something I am thankful for now. It was a lot of work. I think I took it for granted, and that’s a shame. It got me interested in music and taught me how to trust my teammates, or other singers. Singing in a choir takes just as much teamwork, if not more, than any sport. Boychoir taught me how to be a team player, not only in other ensembles but in life and in a newsroom.”
Mike Marcotte, who was in the Boychoir for seven years (1997-2004), thanks the organization for being so supportive when he was growing up. Right before his senior year of high school, Mike’s mom, Patricia, developed cancer that was spreading quickly. She passed away less than three months after her diagnosis. Mike recalls how helpful the Boychoir was after she died. “The high school group, Allegro, sang at the funeral with everyone taking a day off from school. I can vividly remember that day almost 10 years later. It was a beautiful service. And later that year, a few of the families in the choir stepped forward to pay for my tour costs.”
Mike went on to study Elementary Education at Gustavus Adolphus College. During his summers, Mike worked for KSTP, a job he got thanks to a Boychoir connection. “A mom of one of the other choirboys worked for KSTP and knew how much I liked the State Fair and TV news, so she made some connections and helped me get a job working at KSTP’s State Fair booth.”
That connection has definitely paid off. Now almost 8 years later, Mike still works for KSTP as an Assistant Producer and Guest Coordinator for Twin Cities Live, a weekday lifestyle show. He is an on-air guest for their “What’s Happening This Weekend” segment which airs every Thursday. He also arranged to have the Boychoir perform on the show in December 2012. “Our staff is very excited to have them back in our studio,” he added.
Mike wanted to help the organization that helped him so much. He now serves on the Boychoir’s Board of Directors as their Alumni Representative. Mike also led the effort to get the Boychoir a new website, free of charge, as part of a partnership with The Nerdery. Mike says, “This group helped me so much…now it’s my time to give back.”
Affable and articulate, Jim Mulrooney spent nine years with the Minnesota Boychoir (1991–1999) and is emphatic in his appreciation for the organization. “No other group has ever impacted my life as much, except for my family,” said the graduate of St. Thomas Academy and St. John’s University. “The skill set that it instilled in me was so helpful from fifth grade all the way through twelfth grade.” Mulrooney, a political science major, was a government affairs officer in Washington, D.C. for Wells Fargo for six years but returned to the Twin Cities in 2011 and is now a commercial lender for the same firm in St. Paul. He lives with his wife Natalie not far from his boyhood home in Inver Grove Heights. In college, he not only played football for legendary coach John Gagliardi but also was in the Mens Choir. In fact, his college choral group visited some of the same sites as did the Boychoir in one of their tours. “My first international tour was to Prague and it was beautiful,” stated Mulrooney, whose parents Jim and Barbara have been dedicated Boychoir supporters for over 20 years. “To go to places like Costa Rica, Norway, England, and France was great. What kid wouldn’t want to sing at EuroDisney and then spend a whole day riding the rides?”
“We developed a fraternity of guys and forged friendships and relationships that will last forever,” he continued. “The Boychoir taught us all the critical citizenship lessons that are so important; like being polite, disciplined, respectful, hardworking, and having pride in your efforts. For young boys, it was meaningful to learn to appreciate the arts and to be exposed to history and culture.” After two years with Paul Pfeiffer, Mark Johnson became his director and has cast a wide legacy, according to Mulrooney. “Mark is truly in a class of his own as a youth boys’ choir director; he brings a special set of abilities that allow him to lead and guide an amazing product. He is a leader and is so respected; you don’t want to let him down. Mr. J is a great mentor who empowers young men to own and be effective contributors to society.”
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