Family Weekend Concert

Cathedral+Choir+performed+two+songs+during+the+Family+Weekend+Concert+under+the+direction+of+Instructor+in+Music+Mark+Potvin+%28%E2%80%9801%29.+
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Family Weekend Concert

Cathedral Choir performed two songs during the Family Weekend Concert under the direction of Instructor in Music Mark Potvin (‘01).

Cathedral Choir performed two songs during the Family Weekend Concert under the direction of Instructor in Music Mark Potvin (‘01).

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Cathedral Choir performed two songs during the Family Weekend Concert under the direction of Instructor in Music Mark Potvin (‘01).

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Cathedral Choir performed two songs during the Family Weekend Concert under the direction of Instructor in Music Mark Potvin (‘01).

Emily Kidwell and Lily Kime

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Welcoming families to campus with music from six music ensembles, the annual Family Weekend Concert took place on Saturday, Sept. 22 in the Center for Faith and Life. This concert was the first of the academic year for each of the ensembles.

The six ensembles that performed during the Family Weekend Concert were Varsity Band, Wind and Percussion Ensemble, Aurora, Norsemen, Cathedral Choir, and Collegiate Chorale.

After a welcome from President Paula Carlson, the Family Weekend Concert began with a performance by Varsity Band under the direction of Adjunct Faculty in Music Jim Fritz. Varsity Band opened the concert by performing “Cenotaph” by Visiting Professor of Music Jack Stamp. This fanfare featured the percussionists of Varsity Band, as well as the brass instrumentalists.

After Varsity Band, Aurora and Norsemen sang a combined total of five pieces; Norsemen sang three, and Aurora sang two. Norsemen, under the direction of Instructor of Music Mark Potvin (‘01), started off the set with a song titled “Tuba,” which was sung in the traditional Xitsonga, the language of the Tsonga people in Southern Africa. This song incorporated energetic percussion and full-body motions with the lyrics, which translated to, “Look at the dove on that tree!” Aurora finished the set with “Moon Goddess,” a song that tested the vocal flexibility of each singer. With its quick changes of tempo and complex intervals, this piece was a difficult assignment for the first-year singers, according to Assistant Professor of Music Jennaya Robison (‘96).

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips
Ochain Okey (‘22) was featured on bassoon in Wind and Percussion during the Family Weekend Concert on Saturday, Sept. 22.

“‘Moon Goddess’ [was] the most demanding piece — vocally and complexity — I have chosen for this concert,” Robison said. “It’s probably the most challenging piece many of the Aurora members have performed, and they [did] a beautiful job with it.”

After Aurora’s final song, Varsity Band, Norsemen, and Aurora all left the stage to be replaced by Wind and Percussion Ensemble, Cathedral Choir, and Collegiate Chorale. Wind and Percussion Ensemble performed three songs, including “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger under the direction of Stamp. This piece featured themes and variations on “Danny Boy.”

After Wind and Percussion Ensemble, Cathedral Choir performed two pieces under the direction of Potvin. The first piece they showcased was “With a Voice of Singing.” This upbeat piece combined phrases of intense enunciation with sections of smooth legato, as well as a wide variety of dynamics. Collegiate Chorale, directed by Robison, then finished the individual sets with a traditional spiritual titled “Ain’t No Grave.” This piece featured American Sign Language by the full choir in some sections with the entire song interpreted by Morgan Fanning (‘20).

The entire concert closed with a performance by Aurora, Norsemen, Cathedral Choir, Collegiate Chorale, Wind and Percussion Ensemble, and the audience singing the Luther Hymn. This song, written by the fifth president of Luther Johannes Wilhelm Ylvisaker (1921), was arranged by Stamp.

The Family Weekend Concert is a Luther tradition that has taken place for over 20 years. The challenge for this annual concert is the short amount of time in which it must be put together. This year, the ensembles had three weeks to put the program together.

“For Norsemen and Aurora, it’s always challenging to see how much we can do, how fast we can do it, and how hard we are willing to work to make it happen,” Potvin said. “We find out a lot about their spirit, tenacity, and artistry. For this concert, Norsemen [had] an incredibly difficult and ‘thick’ piece, but the choir [did] a fantastic job with that.”

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips
Megan Grimm (‘22) and Hailey Abbey (‘22) played the flute in Wind and Percussion under the direction of Visiting Professor of Music Jack Stamp.

Preparing for this concert took careful consideration on behalf of the directors of each ensemble. According to Robison, since the concert must be perfected in a short amount of time, the performers needed to work hard to learn the music in time.

“[For] this concert specifically, I always try to choose something that’s really engaging not only for the audience, but for the singers so that they want to practice,” Robison said.

This concert allowed students to show the audience what they have worked on thus far in the semester. It also gives performers a chance to listen to each other and get excited for what the year may hold.

“It felt amazing to be a part of something so beautiful,” Aurora member Brynn Guth (‘22) said. “It was exciting, but nerve-wracking. Being able to hear so many great singers was inspiring, and I can’t wait for the next concert.”

The next concert hosted by the music department is the Homecoming Concert on Oct. 28. This concert will feature Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, and Nordic Choir.

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