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Choral festival celebrates 116 years

Choral festival celebrates 116 years

After a long day of rehearsal, various Minnesota choirs joined together to perform in the 116th Annual St. Olaf Choral Festival on Sunday, Nov. 4. Of the 30 participating choirs, four were from St. Olaf, including St. Olaf Choir, St. Olaf Chapel Choir, Viking Chorus and Manitou Singers. Hastings High School Select Chorale and Minnesota Boychoir were among  the four showcased choirs.

The theme of peace was prevalent throughout all of the mass choir pieces and several of the individual chorale pieces. Through these pieces, there was a message that people can unite through music. This message was explicitly stated in “Sent Forth” by Todd Price, performed by Minnesota Boychoir and conducted by Mark Johnson ’91.

The concert began with “How Lovely are the Messengers” by Felix Mendelssohn, conducted by Anton Armstrong ’78. Following the mass choir performance, Minnesota Boychoir performed three songs: “Sent Forth” by Todd Price, “Come and Sing” by Wallace Hornaby and “Tell My Ma” arranged by Jon Washburn. The Minnesota Boychoir performance of “Tell My Ma” was a crowd favorite and there were smiling faces all around. Minnesota Boychoir prepared energetic and meaningful songs that started the concert off on a good note.

Minnesota Boychoir had the most engaging songs and appeared to be made up of some very energetic performers. .

Following Minnesota Boychoir, Hastings High School Select Chorale, conducted by Lukas Warren ’07, took the stage. After performing their three songs, all of the choirs and the audience joined together to sing “We Walk in Love,” which was printed in the program. This unanimous hymn provided a way to unite the entire Skoglund gymnasium, also  following the theme of finding unity through music.

Viking Chorus, led by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, continued the concert with their pieces. They ended their showcase with St. Olaf’s official school song, “Fram! Fram! St. Olaf” which evolved smoothly into the school’s fight song “Um! Yah! Yah!” The audience, along with the other St. Olaf choirs, joined in with lively clapping and fist pumping to the refrain. Viking Chorus left their impact on the audience’s memory with their lively rendition of familiar songs.

Following another mass choir piece performed after Viking Chorus, the St. Olaf Choir took to the stage. The St. Olaf Choir sounded beautiful with proper and audible pronunciation, gentle swaying and, of course, perfect pitch.

The concert ended with “Night of Silence,” by Daniel Kantor and arranged by John Ferguson. The last song included a verse of “Silent Night,” which the audience was encouraged to join in and sing to.

Overall, the concert was stacked, with beautiful songs performed across the board, and a powerful message of unity and peace.

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