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Luther, Decorah, and MPR Bring the Sing

Cathedral Choir recorded four songs for Minnesota Public Radio’s Bring the Sing event.

Cathedral Choir recorded four songs for Minnesota Public Radio’s Bring the Sing event.

Grace Onsrud (‘20) | Chips

Grace Onsrud (‘20) | Chips

Cathedral Choir recorded four songs for Minnesota Public Radio’s Bring the Sing event.

Grace Onsrud, Staff Writer

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Over 100 Luther students and Decorah community members gathered together on Saturday, April 14 at 10 a.m. in the Center For Faith and Life for Minnesota Public Radio’s Bring The Sing, an event that  joins communities together through music.

MPR has hosted Bring The Sing events in Duluth; Rochester; and Moorhead, Minnesota, but this was the first time that Bring The Sing visited Decorah. Luther College is an educational sponsor of MPR and connects with the organization to bring programs, such as Bring the Sing, to the local community. Luther’s Bring The Sing will be broadcasted at 7:00 p.m. on May 4.

Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Last (‘97) and Instructor in Music Mark Potvin (‘01) led the event. Cathedral Choir served as an anchor for the event; they were interspersed among the other students and Decorah community members. Cathedral Choir recorded four of their own songs in addition to the four community songs chosen for the event.

Potvin said the purpose of the event was to reach out to others who may not otherwise have the opportunity to sing in a group setting.

“The philosophy is that singing is one of those things we can do for a lifetime, so we want to involve anybody who wants to sing,” Potvin said. “You don’t have to be a professional singer; you don’t have to be someone who sings actively in a choir. You can be that person who just always wanted to make a joyful noise and never found a venue.”

The event began with rehearsal, followed by an hour-long lunch break in Peace Dining Hall where participants got to know one another. After the group reconvened participants learned four songs together and then recorded them to be broadcasted.

Grace Onsrud (‘20) | Chips
Cathedral Choir members performed with community members for Minnestoa Public Radio’s Bring the Sing event held in the CFL on April 14.

Potvin and Last were responsible for choosing the four songs for Bring The Sing. Two of the songs were chosen from a list that MPR provided. One of the songs, “Draw the Circle Wide,” was used at every prior Bring The Sing event. Last and Potvin chose the remaining two songs based on Luther’s choral traditions, including a piece from Geaorge Frideric Handel’s “The Messiah” and “The Pasture” by Z. Randall Stroope, which was a favorite song of former Luther Choral Director Weston Noble (‘43).

Cathedral Choir member Kate Wyre (‘20) said that she enjoyed meeting new people while singing.

“My favorite part of the event was getting to sing with people that I don’t usually get to make music with,” Wyre said. “Going through the recording process with new voices around me was an exciting experience.”

Wyre noted that many of the participants are currently in community choirs or had some form of singing experience. The setup of the event allowed people to learn from one another through their different relationships to music.

“Cathedral Choir sat mostly every other seat so that we could meet community members,” Wyre said. “We had the opportunity to learn about them and how they participate in music without being in a collegiate choir right now.”

Potvin says that Bring The Sing will ideally become an annual event for Luther. He sees it as an opportunity for Luther to share choral traditions with the community.

“The most important thing it brings is that it reminds us of the things that Luther historically did really, really well in connecting a community of singers with the college,” Potvin said. “I think we have an opportunity to really showcase what Luther, and by extension the greater Decorah community, has always believed, which is that everybody can sing and that everybody should find a way to sing if at all possible.”

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