After months of preparation, the Department of Music is ready to end this year’s choir programs on a high note.
The Gustavus Choir Spring Concert conducted by Gregory Aune and Brandon Dean will be performed on May 6 at 3:30 p.m. at Christ Chapel and can also be viewed online via livestream.
This performance will unite a number of choir groups on campus: The Gustavus Choir, the Choir of Christ Chapel, and the St. Lucia Singers. Senior Christ Chapel member Sylvia Michels appreciates the opportunity to have all three choirs sing under the same roof.
“The choirs each rehearse their individual choir sets on their own. These past few weeks we’ve had a couple of combined rehearsals to work on the mass pieces. Its exciting to get to join all three choirs together in the spring like we do for C in CC in the fall. It feels like a natural way to close out the year,” Michels said.
The concert also allows for unique opportunities for some Gustie singers, such as Senior Music major David Nelson, who will be directing his group, the Gustavus Choir, in one of their songs.
“Personally, the process though which I’ve prepared for the upcoming Choral Showcase has been different than any other concert I’ve been a part of at Gustavus,” Nelson said. “For this concert, I am fortunate enough to be directing the Gustavus Choir for Moses Hogan’s arrangement of “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.” While I’ve been preparing the rest of the music alongside the choir, I have had to put a great amount of time preparing for my conducting debut. It certainly takes a lot of out you, but every time that I’m in front of the choir, they fill me with so much energy and spirit that I feel so invigorated that I can help but want to be up there for longer.”
Another piece the Gustavus Choir will be performing is “Gabriel’s Oboe,” by film composer Ennio Morricone and featuring guest soloists Bailey Hilgren on oboe and John Baron on cello. Mass choir pieces will include “A Mighty Fortress is our God” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” in memory of longtime Luther Nordic Choir Conductor Weston Noble, who passed away last December. The Chapel Choir will be bringing back their best pieces from their choir tour last month.
Senior Gustavus Choir member Preston Schlueter believes anyone that the concert’s attendees are guaranteed to listen to some gorgeous melodies.
“Students who plan to attend the concert can look forward to an afternoon of beautiful and emotional music from all three choirs (as well as Chapel Brass), and will be able to wish the seniors in these ensembles well as they complete their final choir concert at Gustavus,” Schlueter said. “Personally, I still haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that this may be my final choir concert as a singer. I’ve been singing in choirs since the sixth grade, so choral music has been a large part of my life for over a decade. Since coming to Gustavus, my love for choral singing (and the “Swedish Lutheran choral tradition”) has only deepened, and I’ll never forget either the friends or the music I’ve made in these past four years.”
Being the last choir concert for the seniors on campus makes the concert more impactful for several of the students.
“It is definitely a bittersweet moment knowing that this is the last time I’ll be performing in Christ Chapel in those velvet robes,” Nelson said. “The memories I’ve made in choir and the experiences I’ve had have shaped who I am today, and I cannot thank Dr. Aune, Dr. Dean, and my fellow students enough for all that they’ve done. I’m sad to be leaving, but I have the utmost confidence that the program will continue to flourish in years to come. Knowing that there are going to be so many more people sharing these experiences in choir fills my heart, and I know that every one of them will come out of the program changed for the better!”
However, some are going in more proud than disheartened, as the concert gives them the chance to show how much they’ve improved during their time at Gustavus.
“I am not as sad as I expected to be as we approach this final concert,” Michels said. “I think this great sense of pride and excitement is overpowering my need to cry. The closest I get to breaking down is when I stop singing and just listen to the younger voices around… starting out what feels like ten times better than I was four years ago. This choir is magically up-lifting. I have many people to thank for that. Approaching this last concert, I am thankful.”