This weekend will be a bittersweet one for choir students, especially the individuals who have been invested in the Music Department ever since their first few years at Gustavus.
On March 18th, Dr. Gregory Aune, Professor of Music and Conductor of the Gustavus Choir, will lead his final performance at 3 p.m. in Christ Chapel.
As the school year comes to a close, Aune will be retiring after 24 years of being the distinguished conductor whose beloved spirit has resonated across campus for such a long time.
“I’ve known Dr. A for three years, starting my freshman year in the Gustavus Choir. Dr. A has become a huge role model for me throughout my time in the Gustavus Choir. As a future music educator, I have learned a lot from him about how to conduct rehearsals, but also about the value in getting to know your students as people too,” Junior Zach Dietrich said.
This anticipated performance is called “Song Go Ever On,” and will feature several performers from the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Alumni Choir, and Choir of Christ Chapel. One of the beautiful and melodic songs they will be singing is Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (German Requiem).
Aune chose this tune due to the beautiful arrangement and resonating message that contains life-changing, timeless elements. There will also be many faith-related and religious references that attendees can relate to. In addition to this “swan song,” Aune has chosen five of his personal favorite pieces to feature in the concert, as 150 dedicated Alumni will return to take the stage with him one last time.
When asked about the experience of spending time with his former students, “I’m really proud of them and feel honored that I was a small part of their education here. I’d like to think that what they did with me helped mold them or give them tools to apply to their life,” Aune said.
In addition to being a personable director, Aune also spends his time teaching advanced choral conducting, and is one of the prominent organizers of the Christmas in Christ Chapel Program.
He has been invested in the lives of Gusties who have chosen paths completely separate from music; he harbors the charisma and strong-willed mentality to form positive relationships with students.
“One thing I’ve learned from Dr. A is to ‘wear your musical heart on your sleeve.’ He always tells us that if he puts it all out there and is always doing his best, that he expects we do the same. One of his best qualities is his humor. He always has us laughing in rehearsal,” Dietrich said.
Some of the most inspirational mottos he tells his students is to always exhibit a hard-working, determined mindset when pursuing their dreams.
They must work collectively in order to gain helpful insight that helps them develop their own craft in whatever they choose to do.
“I always tell them, be as good as you can be, work for artistry in your own chosen field and learn the value of community. In broad strokes too, I’ve always tried to teach artistry even if they aren’t music majors. Give them a taste of what artistry is so they can enjoy and appreciate it throughout their entire life,” Aune said.
The tickets for “A Song Go Ever cost $15 for the General Public, and free for any student who wishes to see Dr. Aune’s final performance on campus.