October 16th, 2011
I write to you this week as a satisfyingly exhausted college student after all the Homecoming buzz. Let me begin with the arrival of the King and Queen of Norway. After many LCSO rehearsals in preparation for the convocation, Thursday morning finally arrived along with U.S. Secret Service, reporters, photographers and even a whole host of Luther’s grounds crew who were desperately trying to pick up all the leaves that Luther’s beautiful trees had dropped in the last few days. I think the King and Queen should appreciate how beautiful our fall weather is, leaves included, but I do appreciate the effort. The full CFL audience included members of the Decorah and Luther communities (bunad-clad, of course). Performances by LCSO (duh) and Nordic Choir, a presentation of the Luther Spirit Award to their majesties and a short speech by the King himself made the convocation a mere 45 minutes. Touching on the events of the Oslo bombing over the summer as well as Luther’s Sesquicentennial, King Harald V was an intelligent speaker even through his thick Norwegian accent. With classes sandwiching either side of the ceremony, and a long symphony rehearsal to boot, it was a busy day, but a beautiful experience that kick-started Luther’s celebration.
Friday night brought a grandiose fireworks show sponsored by the alumni foundation and Student Activities Council (SAC) Executive Board. The sparks and booms actually lasted about 30 minutes and the finale was an array of blue and white, of course. Later, we enjoyed Jazz Night in Marty’s featuring the Jazz Orchestra. I hit the sack soon after because Saturday morning brought the Homecoming Parade through downtown Decorah. I marched the parade route with College Ministries Outreach teams, and it was a fun, though blustery, morning. After lunch at the Magpie, I spent the afternoon, well, napping to be honest. Not much of anything was accomplished and I was totally ok with that. After dinner, my roommates and I got dolled up for the Flamingo Ball held in Regents Center and danced the night away.
Although I wasn’t completely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Sunday morning, it was still wonderful to usher for the church service led by ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson, who visited the Luther campus for the weekend. His sermon was undoubtedly sassy trying to get 1,800 Lutherans to shout some, “Amens!” but the message of following your vocation through and with God was inspiring. After a quick wardrobe change and lunch I headed back to the CFL for the Homecoming Concert featuring LCSO, Concert Band and Nordic Choir. LCSO was first on the program with our history-making “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Moussorgsky, in it’s entirety. LCSO has never performed a piece of this caliber before. Dr. Baldwin only lets the symphony perform it’s best possible music, and was on the fence about some movements of the piece on Thursday, but elected that we play the whole piece. I took this as a huge vote of confidence considering the masterful level of the music. In an email after our performance, Dr. Baldwin wrote to us all, “Thank you for a stunningly and uncommonly beautiful performance today.” I think this is a huge milestone in the history of LCSO and I can’t wait to see the pieces we will be able to perform in the future. With the sounds of Concert Band and Nordic Choir, we showed the Luther community that our music program is only improving on their legacy.
I must eventually wrap up this blog, I know, so I will leave you with a few thoughts. I have noticed since my time back at Luther that I rarely think of home being 1,600 miles away or find myself doing time zone conversions in my head. I miss my home, to be sure, and it will be a beautiful day when I return for Thanksgiving break, but Luther has been especially “home-y” this year. This was definitely exemplified this weekend as so many alumni returned to what I perceived to be their second home as well. I suppose that is why they call it “Homecoming.”