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The River heights chorale

Our Mission

The River Heights Chorale is a community choir, dedicated to promoting lifelong choral performance and education. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in West St. Paul, Minnesota. We appreciate your ongoing support to help us share our love of music.

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Our Director 

Aaron D. Kapaun is the Artistic Director for the River Heights Chorale.  Mr. Kapaun taught vocal music for 16 years including 13 of those years as director of vocal music at Two Rivers High School (then Henry Sibley) in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.


He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Masters of Arts in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas.  Mr. Kapaun was nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year three times and was named a District Innovator of the Year in 2008 in School District #197.

He lives in Eagan with his wife, two children, and two dogs.

Our Accompanist 

Vicky Goplin started her career as an accompanist in third grade, playing hymns for her Sunday School’s gathering time. She then added the role of church organist to her resume at the age of 13. Vicky received a Music Education degree with an emphasis on piano from Gustavus Adolphus College. Playing and singing music has provided her with lifelong joy and friendships.


The River Heights Chorale has been an important part of her life since she was invited to join the choir in 2006. 


Our History

The Gar Lockrem Community Choir (GLCC) started in September 2006 in honor of the late high school choir director, Garland O. Lockrem, who passed away in May of that year.

Mr. Lockrem taught music theory and choir at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, from 1956 to 1981. He championed strong music programs as part of the regular school curriculum at a time when music was not highly regarded as an academic discipline. Today, we know much more about the important benefits that music education has on the intellectual and emotional development of children, as well as on the mental health of adults.

Under Gar’s guidance, the music program at Henry Sibley grew into a nationally recognized program. His concert choirs toured Europe and performed several times here at home with the Minnesota Orchestra. 


At the conclusion of Gar’s funeral service on May 26, 2006, former students were invited to step onto risers and sing some of his favorite hymns. The risers were quickly filled, and could not accommodate all who came forward to sing. 


The GLCC performed its first concert just seven months later, in December 2006, under the direction of Gar’s daughter, Terolle Turnham, herself a renowned public school music teacher and Minnesota Teacher of the Year.


Another former high school teacher, William E. White, took over as music director in the spring of 2007. Under Mr. White’s direction, the choir grew in number and quality into one of the finest community choirs in Minnesota. In the fall of 2010, Mr. White passed the baton on to the current director, Aaron Kapaun, who then held Gar’s former role at Henry Sibley.


Just three years after its initial founding, in November 2009, GLCC was selected to perform as a solo choir at St. Olaf’s annual choral festival. Two years later, the choir collaborated with the Dakota Valley Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The choir has performed with other groups as well, including the South St. Paul Men’s chorus, and also performs with high school choirs as part of its mission to promote music education.

Many of the current singers never knew Gar personally; but most were inspired by teachers who, like him, instilled in their students an understanding of the art and science of music, a sense of ethics, and a life-long passion to learn and to sing.

In September 2013, GLCC changed the name of its performing group to The River Heights Chorale, to reflect the broader range of its membership and the broader reach of its charitable mission. Inspired by Gar’s example, that mission is to promote music education in grades K-12, in part through community outreach efforts and joint performances with local high school choirs, and in part by providing grants and scholarships to school music programs. 

While the group now performs under the name The River Heights Chorale, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization continues to operate as The Gar Lockrem Community Choir, Inc., in honor of Gar.

The River Heights Chorale performs two seasons in a year, including two concerts in December and two in April. The chorale rehearses Tuesday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., from September through mid-April.

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