Dr. Harry A. Mechell

Dr. Harry Mechell, the Director of Choral Activities at Winona State University, holds a Doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Harold A. Decker. His Masters and Bachelors Degrees were earned at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he studied with Robert Page. Mechell has also studied under other leading conductors and teachers, including Helmuth Rilling, Elaine Brown, Otto Werner Mueller and Paul Vermel.

His responsibilities at Winona State University, besides conducting the Concert Choir, Women's Chorus and the Madrigal Singers, include teaching voice, conducting and choral methods. From 1991-2000, he served as Chairman of the Music Department. Under his leadership, WSU's Renaissance Madrigal Banquets have become yearly events performed to capacity audiences and the annual "Messiah Sing-In" has become a major community event drawing crowds of over 1000.

Dr. Mechell has published several choral arrangements with Lawson-Gould Music Publishers. Much in demand as a clinician and adjudicator, he has served as guest conductor Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. His choirs have toured Western Europe and have performed at MENC Conventions. During the summer of 2001, the WSU Concert Choir toured and concertized in Italy and Austria for two weeks, culminating in a performance of the Mozart Requiem in Innsbruck, Austria.

Dr. Mechell has been an advocate of twentieth century choral music throughout his career. Two seasons ago, he conducted the WSU Concert Choir in a mid-American premiere of the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt's newest choral work, Magnificat for the New Millennium, with the composer in attendance Last season, the Winona Oratorio Chorus performed Arthur Honegger's King David and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Dr. Mechell has devoted over thirty years to directing church choirs, specializing in the performance of sacred works with chorus and orchestra. He directs the Senior Choir at Central Lutheran Church in Winona. During his career, he has directed and conducted over thirty musicals at the high school, college, community theater and professional levels.

In addition, Dr. Mechell directs the Winona Oratorio Chorus, an auditioned community choir specializing in performing major choral-orchestral works. In recent years, the ensemble has performed major works by Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Gounod, Honegger, Rodrigo and Rutter.

Degrees

  • Bachelor of Music
    Temple University (Philadelphia)
  • Master of Music
    Temple University (Philadelphia)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts - Choral Conducting
    University of Illinois

Courses Taught

  • Concert Choir
  • Conducting
  • Choral Methods

Choir Program

Dr. Harry Mechell
Program Director

The Choral Program at Winona State University consists of four ensembles:

  • Concert Choir
  • Women's Chorus
  • Winona Oratorio Chorus
  • Madrigal Singers

All singers receive one undergraduate credit each semester and non-music majors may apply the credit to University Studies requirements.  There are numerous scholarship opportunities available for singers.

The program also has an active ACDA (American Choral Directors' Association) Student Chapter - refer to their web site for further information.

For further information about the WSU Choral Program, please contact Dr. Harry Mechell.

Concert Choir

Concert Choir is a choral ensemble providing singers the opportunity to rehearse and perform music ranging from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. Membership is open to all qualified students in the university. The Concert Choir performs 4 concerts each year and tours semi-annually.

Madrigal Singers
 
Madrigal Singers is a small choral group that provides select vocal students the opportunity to become familiar with, to rehearse, and to perform music intended for vocal ensembles ranging in style from the 16th-20th centuries. This ensemble frequently tours to schools in the region and sings at campus functions. One of the year's most exciting activities is the Madrigal Banquet hosted by the WSU Choirs.

Winona Oratorio Chorus
 
Winona Oratorio Chorus is an auditioned ensemble made up of community singers, WSU faculty and staff singers, and college singers. It is made up of people of all ages and all walks of life who share one common dream: to make great choral music come alive in Winona. The repertory consists of two major works with orchestra per season.

Note: Winona Oratorio Chorus is a community organization. Students may participate for credit.

Women's Chorus

Women's Chorus is a choral ensemble dedicated to rehearsing and performing choral music written for women's voices. The repertoire consists of choral music from the sixteenth century to the present. The year's schedule consists of 4-6 major concerts, including Schubertiadde, Messiah Sing-In, and Renaissance Madrigal Banquet. Auditions are required.