Family Weekend brings together the Decorah community


Concert performed by The Unlikely Candidates. (Photo courtesy of Susmita Giri (’25), CHIPS)

From September 17 to 19, Luther College hosted its annual Family Weekend, which included several musical performances and athletic events. Among the groups performing were the Luther College Concert Band, Jazz Band, and various choirs. Athletic events like the football game against the University of Dubuque and the Luther Invitational for women’s golf, as well as a bonfire and community picnic, also brought together families and students from other schools to partake in the weekend festivities. As Director of Parents and Family Engagement Mariah Smith explained, Family Weekend is a time when many students, their families, and locals are brought together in community.

“Family Weekend usually happens in September, a couple of weeks after classes start,” Smith said. “This has been one of the traditions of Luther College for a long time. We want students to get settled in, and then invite families to come and connect with the campus. They are often interested in seeing the campus, and students would like to show them what life is like here.”

Part of campus life are the events organized and hosted by the Student Activities Council (SAC). On Friday night, SAC hosted a concert featuring the American indie rock band, ‘The Unlikely Candidates,’ on the Preus Library lawn. It was the first opportunity that many first-year and sophomore students have had to attend a campus concert.

There was a community day picnic on Saturday many students and their families participated in. The picnic was held in the Regents Athletic Center, and was catered by Sodexo. Alice Thomson (‘92), a family member who attended, said the picnic and weekend festivities provided great opportunities to be outside and among other Luther families.

“[Family Weekend] was a wonderful chance to celebrate and share the adventure of education,” Thomson said. “I enjoyed the concert on Saturday night, and I had a great time seeing my college kiddo. Family Weekend presents a unique opportunity to visit Decorah among all sorts of hustle and bustle. It was so fun to see all of the exciting things happening on campus, and to spend time with him [Thomson’s son]. I loved every minute of it.”

Luther ensembles, like Nordic Choir and the Jazz Band, gave performances for all to attend. Most concerts were held inside the Center for Faith and Life (CFL) building, while Jazz Band performed in front of the CFL. Rosie Baldus (‘25) performed in the Jazz Band on Saturday, and had a great time performing on trumpet. 

“I felt fantastic, and it’s an amazing feeling to express my emotions through music,” Baldus said. “It was incredible to see all the people enjoying the music with me, and it’s nice to be able to see everyone’s faces now and watch them dance to our groove. Performing after COVID-19 on the CFL steps felt like a nice welcome back. It warmed my heart to see everyone enjoying music again.”

Other events taking place on Saturday included a football game  and soccer game. Luther College hosted a football game against the University of Dubuque, which we lost 28-2. There was a women’s soccer game between Luther College and Grinnell College, which Luther College won 1-0. 

On Sunday, women’s golf closed out the weekend festivities at the Luther Invitational. Luther finished second in the tournament, where five teams and 33 players competed. In two rounds, the women’s team completed the par 72 course in 690 strokes, just two points behind Waldorf University, which won first place. 

Last year’s Family Weekend was postponed due to the pandemic, but this year’s festivities were able to happen, bringing together the Luther community. After all the performances, tournaments, and events were over, families said their goodbyes, and an eventful community-oriented weekend came to a close. 

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