History of The Summer Singers

In 1986, Grant Norum and a group of 12 friends, mostly from the Bach Society Chorus, formed The Summer Singers. The original intent was to perform musical works written for larger choirs within the context of a smaller ensemble. After a successful first season with Norum as the visionary and conductor, the group agreed to perform again in 1989 and every two years to follow.

Norum, who wrote compositions such as the TSS mainstay Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God, suddenly passed away in 2002. After performing at his memorial service, The Summer Singers agreed to continue his vision and perform in 2003. Norum had already created the musical program, and Paul McKenzie was chosen as interim director for that season. Meanwhile, a group of volunteers (later, the Board of Directors) maintained the operations and logistics for the organization.

Starting in 2005, the Board of Directors selected Vicki Peters as the new Music Director. After this series of concerts, TSS moved to a yearly performance schedule to allow for more singing in the summer! Over the next seven years, the organization continued to grow and perform locally. Concerts included appearances at the Minnesota Regional ACDA conventions and the first performance outside of Minnesota. Peters stepped down after the 2012 season.

Russell Adrian was selected in 2013 to continue the artistic vision of TSS as interim Music Director. In 2014, he was officially appointed as Artistic Director of The Summer Singers. During this first year, he initiated a series of condensed concerts for families with children and teenagers, allowing them to experience choral music without the structure of a formal concert setting. Dr. Adrian also introduced the Young Composers Competition, which focuses on music created by artists under the age of 25. 

The Summer Singers have received acclaim from local media over the years, including multiple features on Minnesota Public Radio. Rob Hubbard of the St. Paul Pioneer Press selected TSS as one of “the Best Classical Performances of 2013,” stating: “Music's power to heal seldom receives such a powerful demonstration as at this chamber choir's late-July concerts.”