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Thu, 04.26.1956

Anton Armstrong, Choral Conductor born

Anton Armstrong

*Anton Armstrong was born on this date in 1956.  He is a Black choral music professor and choral conductor.  

Anton Eugene Armstrong was born in New York City to William Benfield Armstrong and Esther Louise Holder William was born in Antigua. Esther was born in New York City to Herbert Henry Holder and Leander Hassell, both from St Thomas.  

Armstrong grew up on Long Island, where he and his mother were active singers in a local church choir. Armstrong joined the American Boy choir, based in Princeton, New Jersey. Armstrong said, "That experience lit my fire for choral singing."  Anton is the youngest of 3 brothers.  Armstrong earned his bachelor's degree at St. Olaf College. He was a member of the St. Olaf Choir from 1976-1978.  After graduating from St. Olaf, Armstrong attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Master of Music degree, and Michigan State University, where he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts.   

Upon completing his doctorate, Armstrong worked for ten years at Calvin College and conducted the Calvin Choir, the Campus Choir, the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, and the Alumni Choir. He also conducted the St. Cecelia Youth Choir from 1981 until he departed for St. Olaf in 1990.  In 1990, Armstrong assumed the duties of Director of Choral Activities at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the director of the St. Olaf Choir and Collegiate Chorale and teaches advanced choral conducting and vocal pedagogy classes focusing on child and adolescent voice. He serves as the artistic director of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival.  

Armstrong is the summer music director of the Youth Choral Academy of the Oregon Bach Festival. The 10-day choral festival is based in Eugene, Oregon. He is an editor for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of Augsburg Fortress Publishers. With Augsburg Fortress, he is editing the revised St. Olaf Choral Series.  Armstrong was the director of the New Jersey 2004 All-State Choir; Armstrong was awarded Baylor University's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching in 2006 and was the TMEA 2007 Texas All-State Choir clinician.  He also conducts some pieces in "Northfield Youth Choirs."  

Under Armstrong's baton, the St. Olaf Choir has toured extensively domestically and abroad. In May 2005, the choir performed at the National Day of Prayer in front of President & Mrs. Bush in the White House. The annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival has become a popular PBS broadcast, and the choir has performed on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.  During Dr. Armstrong’s tenure as director of the St. Olaf Choir, the choir has recorded 11 CDs.

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