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Inside the Music

A Group of Friends Becomes an Essential Choral Community

A zoomed-out image of a choir performing at a church; the conductor is stationed between the pews and has his hands raised; twenty singers are positioned in front of him.

"It was sort of unexpected that—of all places in the world—St. Paul, Minnesota, was a place where exciting things in Latin American music were happening," says Ahmed Anzaldúa, the artistic director of Border CrosSing. Since its founding in 2017, the choral ensemble has made their distinctive, multilingual voices heard in the “land of 10,000 choirs.”

While Anzaldúa studied as a doctoral student under Kathy Saltzman Romey at the University of Minnesota, he gathered a small group of friends to perform Latin American music—a style he noticed was largely missing from the local choral landscape. After a few years of intentionally growing the organization, Border CrosSing now includes bilingual community and professional choirs, sheet music publishing and ambitious educational programming led by Natalia Romero Arbeláez. “This is the first time I’ve looked at Border CrosSing and felt a certainty that we’re still going to be here 10 years from now,” Anzaldúa reflects.

Learn more about Border CrosSing’s journey in the video above. The video will also be shown during the live This Is Minnesota Orchestra broadcast on December 9th, when the ensemble joins the Minnesota Orchestra for a performance of El Mesías (The Messiah).