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Traditions continue with Homecoming Concert

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Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Joan deAlbuquerque conducts Concert Band during the Homecoming Concert.

Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Joan deAlbuquerque conducts Concert Band during the Homecoming Concert.

Gillian Klein (‘20) | Chips

Gillian Klein (‘20) | Chips

Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Joan deAlbuquerque conducts Concert Band during the Homecoming Concert.

Gillian Klein, Staff Writer

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Luther Homecoming festivities concluded with memory-filled, celebratory performance from three of Luther’s top music ensembles on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Students, faculty, and alums filled the Center for Faith and Life (CFL) to hear Nordic Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and Concert Band.Alums were just one of several spotlight moments in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the first Nordic Choir international tour.

Approximately 350 people attended. This was the first concert for Nordic Choir, featuring their new conductor, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Last (‘96). It was also the first concert for Symphony Orchestra after downsizing their cello section from previous years.

Symphony Orchestra, conducted by head of the music department and Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin, opened the concert with the national anthem, “The Moldau” by Bedrich Smetana, and the fourth movement of Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. According to cellist and Symphony Orchestra president Sarah Bauer (‘18), Tchaikovsky was predictedto be the biggest crowd pleaser because it is a staple orchestra piece. The piece transitioned from slow tempo to march-like speed, keeping the audience on their toes. Despite the reduction in number of musicians in the cello section, the group’s sound did not change dramatically, according to Bauer.

“I did not notice a significant difference in our sound since the cutback is not significant,” Bauer said. “Baldwin selected eight cello players instead of 10 to 11 players. His reasoning for this was because the cello section has been loud in recent years, and Baldwin wanted better balance.”

Lily Kime (‘19) | Chips
Gabrielle Bruns (‘19), Catelyn Janda (‘19), and Morgan Fanning (‘20) play in Symphony Orchestra’s Viola section.

When the applause from Symphony finished, two of the four music awards of the night were given out. The Theodore Presser Award was presented to Christopher O’Connell (‘18), and the Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Family Prize for Orchestral Performance was presented to Charles Craig (‘18). These awards are given to students for their excellence in music performance.

Concert Band followed the Symphony Orchestra performance and was conducted by Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Joan deAlbuquerque.

Concert Band began with Joseph Turrin’s “Regiment of Heroes March” and the third and fourth movements from Phillip Sparke’s “Dance Movements.” Between repertoire, Luther alum David Upham (‘92) was presented with the Carlo A. Sperati Award. Concert Band closed their performance with the playing of J.S. Bach’s “Who Puts His Trust in God Most Just” and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes.”

Nordic choir closed the concert by performing five selections, including “Exsultate Deo” by Hans Leo Hassler, “Ye Were Sometimes Darkness” by Randall Thompson, “Exultation” by F. Christensen, “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel” arranged by William Dawson, and “O Lord God” by Paul Chesnokov.

According to Nordic member and president Aidan Spencer (‘18), Last brings a new sense of community to Nordic.

“[Something] I appreciate about Dr. Last is his sense of community he brings to the group,” Spencer said. “He is great at motivating everyone and good at leading a very active and engaging rehearsal. He has passion and cares about what he is doing.”

Nordic Choir has most recently toured the Midwest last January and will tour in Germany this upcoming spring, marking the fifty-year anniversary of Nordic Choir’s first international tour. According to Spencer, Nordic Choir commemorated the anniversary with their performance of “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel,” a piece sung by the Nordic Choir in 1967, during Homecoming.

Gillian Klein (‘20) | Chips
Director of Choral Activites and Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Last (‘96) conducts both current Nordic members and alums.

“For the most part, Last chose our repertoire selection because the songs were special to him,” Spencer said. “One of the songs was sung because it was sung in 1967 when Nordic choir first toured.”

Nordic’s spotlight performance also included the presentation of the Weston Noble Award, given to Shelly Schaeufele (‘92). To finish the concert, Last invited Nordic Choir alums to join the choir onstage for their final piece, “O Lord God” by Paul Chesnokov, a piece that has a longstanding tradition in the ensemble. Audience members rose to their feet as the final chord was sung.

Audience members, such as Larry and Marilee Peters, left the performance proud of the talent Luther showcased at the concert.

“[The performance] was terrific,” Marilee Peters said. “So many talented young people and, as music people, we really enjoyed it.”

Laura Bianchi (‘20) commented on the pride she felt after the performance.

“Overall, this concert was phenomenal and I’m so proud to call myself a Norse because of it,” Bianchi said.

The featured esnembles will contiue to perform throughout the year, both on campus and beyond. Symphony Orchestra will tour the Midwest during January 2018, Concert Band will tour the Midwest in the spring of 2018.

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