Christmas at Luther encourages light and love on campus and the world

Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Last (‘97) directs Norsemen.

Will Heller (‘16) / Photo Bureau

Will Heller (‘16) / Photo Bureau

Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Last (‘97) directs Norsemen.

Biz Wagenson, Staff Writer

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The Luther choral and orchestral tradition, Christmas at Luther (CAL), took place Dec. 1-4. The student musicians performed for students, alumni, parents and community members. The concert featured at Luther’s Aurora, Cantorei, Cathedral, Collegiate, Norsemen and Nordic choir along with the Symphony Orchestra and the Luther Ringers.

Assistant Professor of Education, Coordinator for Music Education and Conductor of Cantorei Jill Wilson said that CAL preparations begin in the spring when conductors meet to choose the musical pieces. Rehearsals begin in the fall.

“We usually start working on [CAL] in October and the [previous] concerts were early this year, so it was nice to have that extra time for the Christmas music,” Wilson said. “We work individually with our groups and then two weeks before Thanksgiving we start getting together on Sunday evenings. Then, [the week leading up to CAL] has two and a half to three hour rehearsals every night to prepare for it,” Wilson said.

During that first meeting the conductors also chose the theme for CAL. This year’s theme was “Out of Darkness, Light!” The theme is illustrated not only through the music, but also through the accompanying narrations, the backdrop art and Christmas lights and candles that illuminated the stage. Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Aurora and Cathedral choirs Jennaya Robison (‘96) commented that she would like the audience to gain a sense of solace for a brighter future.

“It seems very appropriate at this very odd time with our nation, as there is a sense of uncertainty, no matter what [one’s political views],” Robison said. “It just feels unsteady right now. I think [what we wanted to] offer is a sense of purpose and hope to people [and] that the theme would translate that there is light coming even in this time of unsteadiness in our nation.”

Cantorei President Marissa Kot (‘17) explained that CAL participants wanted attendees to enjoy the show and to appreciate the large group effort put into CAL.

“We all put so much heart and work into making Christmas at Luther amazing,” Kot said. “We talk about how it is our job to make sure we inspire the audience and give them an amazing concert. This could be someone’s first time or their last time seeing Christmas at Luther, so it is important that we sing our hardest and put our heart into the concert.”

According to attende Amelia Scarbrough (‘17), the participants in CAL succeeded in delivering a great show for those in attendance.

“CAL was very good, and is one of my favorite ways to start celebrating the Christmas and Advent season,” Scarbrough said. “The power of all the voices coming together never ceases to blow me away.”

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