December 15, 2012
After last year’s “sublime” Christmas spectacular, as my family called it, they have decided to make their trip to Christmas at Luther an annual tradition. Despite the long trek from New Jersey, we all agree that it’s worth it to come see this world-class performance. In our opinion, it’s the most important event taking place at the beginning of December…not just in Iowa but all over the country. Christmas at Luther highlights our sense of community – the ability to get everyone involved in this unified goal at the drop of a hat. And the percision, the beauty, the magic that comes out of it isn’t an accident. It only happens with the hard work that hundreds and hundreds have put in.
I made up for this year’s Thanksgiving away from home by pigging out with my family at the Luther Norwegian Buffet Dinner. Hosted by the Peace Dining Staff in a beautifully decorated hall, students and family are welcome to munch on Lutefisk, Lefse, ham, cookies, pie and other delicious delicacies. I went back for seconds and thirds until I was filled to the brim. It was paradise.
Soon it was time for show number one of Friday, and we all lined up in our choir robes, said a prayer, got pumped up with some good ole’ L-U cheers, and marched on stage, our hearts pounding with excitement. The lights blared on our smiling faces and we sang with as much gutso and poise as we could. Two hours of “Tidings of Comfort and Joy” and “Ding Dong Merrily On High”s later, we rushed back stage to prepare for show number two. (Boy is the Friday night show a marathon!) But the second show blew the audience away even more! We were showered with such persistent clapping that the conductors had to leave the hall and come back to bow not two – but three times. We really sold it. And we caught it all on camera for PBS viewers to see! (Tune in if you’re interested!)
On Saturday morning while I was getting some studying done, my parents visited an old woman’s home, who house is filled with adorable antiques, many of which consisted of precious Norwegian trinkets: little plates and dolls and aprons. Her collection sounded absolutely darling – and so Decorah – so I went and took a study break to check it out myself just a few days later. (It was everything I’d imagined!) Then they went to town and visited all the cute shops on Water Street – the Chick Hatchery, the Kitchen Shop, the Quilt store…All fun places to pop your head in, even if a a few of the hats cost $300 – as my mom pointed out! In the afternoon, they dropped by campus and I frightened them with the cat I’d been dissecting all semester. I casually reached into the drawer where all the other cats are strewn about and non-chalantly let it fall out of the bag onto the tray. My parents could hardly watch – but they were proud of me for being so brave! Then we went to the Porter House in town – the historic home with unbelievable walls surrounding it, made entirely of interesting rocks and gems. (Some of the stones in the wall are so special-looking, I wonder if people have tried to rip them out of there and keep them for themselves!) Inside, there was a recorder ensemble playing Christmas music, colorful lights everywhere, a tree, and cookies on the table. Along with Christmas at Luther, it was a magical way to start my Christmas season. Afterward, we hit up MacCaffery’s for some thin crust pizza and then headed back to the hotel to relax.
My family’s visit was short yet very necessary. My parents really understand this kind of music and I’m so glad that they’re able to come see just what an impressive ordeal it all is. The music community at Luther will continue to be renowned for its disciplined choirs, its world-class orchestras, its very fine conductors…The Luther tradition is so unique, very few colleges will ever exceed it – and it all starts with Christmas at Luther.