Choral Stream

Minnesota choir student, 17, gets his work performed by Voces8

Voces8 is based in England.Courtesy of the artist

December 31, 2020

Minnesota choir student Rand Matheson got the Christmas gift of a lifetime recently when the world-famous British vocal ensemble Voces8 performed his arrangement of "Be Still, My Soul."

The singers sent this musical video greeting to the 17-year-old chorister:

His mom, Rebecca Matheson, explains how it all came to be:

Our son Rand is a 17-year-old senior at St. Michael-Albertville School District. He has a passion for choral music and composition and plans to study music education in college. At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, he was elected by peers to serve as the Concert Choir president. The choir met three times each week in a large auditorium wearing masks and social distancing for rehearsal. Unfortunately, all socials, concerts, and events have been canceled since the world shut down last spring. After Thanksgiving, STMA High School moved back to more restrictive distance learning yet again and the masked rehearsals have been put on hold. The resiliency of young people throughout the world has been astounding throughout these challenging times. Rand has been no exception. He has continued to show resiliency in the face of constant cancellations and uncertainty.

At the end of this extremely difficult year, we wanted to give Rand a Christmas surprise that would lift him up and share how proud we are of him and his accomplishments. This past summer, he wrote an arrangement of the Finlandia tune with the title of "Be Still, My Soul." His piece was originally going to be sung by his Concert Choir this fall, but that hasn't been possible due to COVID restrictions.

The last concert Rand participated in prior to the COVID shutdown was in February 2020 at St. Michael Catholic Church with the incredible world renown vocal ensemble Voces8. On a whim, I had the impression to reach out to them to see if they would be willing to sing the arrangement for him as a Christmas gift. I didn't expect a response, let alone for them to follow through with my request in the way that they did. My husband and I were blown away by the graciousness of their incredible group. This gift has been a sweet reminder to our family that people are good and God is mindful of each individual. We are so grateful to Voces8 for this incredible Christmas miracle for our sweet boy.