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  • Southern Utah Heritage Choir announces Change in Leadership
    by Marilyn Monson, Contributor
    Published - 10/25/10 - 11:33 AM | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    (St. George, UT) - After three years of service, John Mizukawa has completed his term as president of the Southern Utah Heritage choir. Former vice-president Fred Fagergren has been appointed to succeed him.

    Mizukawa has been a member of the choir since 1994, when he and his family moved here from the Washington D.C. area where he taught at Georgetown University Hospital and Dental School. He served for 20 years in the Air Force, retiring as a colonel. He works full time as an oral, maxillofacial and implant surgeon.

    As president, Mizukawa helped in the transition of a new choir director, Keith Bradshaw, and associate director Nancy Allred. Three years later, he assisted in the return of founding director Floyd Rigby.

    Changes in the creative leadership of any organization bring with it unique challenges and Mizukawa helped facilitate these changes while moving the choir in a vibrant, creative direction in the rich traditions of the past. He brought a spirit of love and unity to choir rehearsals, concerts and everything in which the choir was involved.

    The choir trip to China was definitely a highlight of his term as president, both for the opportunities the choir had to sing in various venues and for the places and historical sites visited.

    The entire community and every choir member appreciate so much Mizukawa's personal sacrifice and commitment to the mission of the choir, to bring souls to Jesus Christ through uplifting music.

    Fagergren's journey to the Heritage Choir started one Thursday evening, after a day of meetings in St. George, when he was walking around downtown. As he passed the Tabernacle, he heard singing and stepped in as the Heritage Choir was rehearsing.

    Sitting for an extended period, he felt the worries of the day disappear. Upon returning home, he shared his experience with his wife, Donna.

    They found information on an upcoming concert and traveled to St. George to attend. That experience eliminated any further questions about their retirement location.

    Fagergren was born in Cedar City and lived as a youth in several western National Parks where his father worked for the National Park Services. He attended the University of Wyoming for three years, majoring in mathematics.

    Subsequently he served as a Special Agent with Military Intelligence marking service in Panama and Washington, D.C. After earning his bachelor of art's degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona, he began working with the National Park Service (NPS).

    Fagergren is a 34-year veteran of NPS, having served as a superintendent for 29 of those years; most recently as superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park from August 1991 until retirement in April 2002. For 28 years of his career, he was also a federal law enforcement officer.

    He joined the choir on May 2, 2002, just in time for the choir's first appearance in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle as part of a Mormon battalion celebration. In the summer of 2003, then-President Tom Schroath asked him to serve on the board of directors.

    In May 2008, Fagergren was elected vice president of the Board, serving with Mizukawa.

    Rigby, the original board of directors and each board that followed, have never been satisfied with simply providing a few concerts each year. From the beginning, they have envisioned much more than just a local choir.

    International tours, some with humanitarian aid, and choir-hosted choral festivals and workshops with nationally known artists and directors are routine fare for this choir.

    When Rigby returned as director, the choir reaffirmed its commitments to these ideals and there was an immediate expansion of more than 70 new and returning choir members.

    When Mizukawa announced his intention to step down and Fagergren was asked to serve, he recalled that first night wandering into the Tabernacle. The inspiration he felt that day has not diminished.

    Mindful of the choir's 16 year history, he said, "I hope I can help assure this choir continues to touch many lives as we move forward to fulfill our mission."
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