Luther College Nordic Choir and Jazz Orchestra to perform May 18

May 9, 2012

Luther College Nordic Choir and Jazz Orchestra will perform Friday, May 18 at 8 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the Luther campus.

The concert is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Both groups will perform pieces that encompass their year's work. The concert will help prepare the musicians for their respective international tours that happen the week following the concert.

Nordic Choir is touring the British Isles from May 21-June 1, and the Jazz Orchestra, along with Vocal Jazz, is touring Brazil from May 23-June 6.

During the first half of the concert, Nordic Choir will perform songs from throughout the school year, as well as new pieces for their tour of Ireland and England. Nordic Choir will sing "O Clap Your Hands" by Orlando Gibbons, "Hold On" by Moses Hogan and their signature piece "O Lord God" by Tschesnokoff.

Jazz Orchestra will perform the second half of the program focusing on songs they have performed throughout the year and some new pieces reflecting the Brazilian regions they will be visiting on their international tour. Pieces from their program include "The Peanut Vendor" by Moises Simons, "Blues-1, Band-0 (The Final Score)" by Mike Tomaro and "Libertango" by Astor Piazzolla.

Nordic Choir, one of the premier collegiate choral ensembles in the United States, is an auditioned vocal ensemble of 66 voices.

The choir tours annually and has performed around the world, including in England, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, the Baltic countries and the Caribbean. Nordic Choir has also appeared throughout the United States, performing in such well-known concert halls as Lincoln Center in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Allen Hightower, professor of music and conductor of the Nordic Choir, serves as director of choral activities, providing leadership to a choral program that includes four choral conductors, six choirs and more than 500 singers. 

The Jazz Orchestra has been recognized throughout the Midwest as an elite collegiate ensemble.

The group is under the direction of Juan Tony Guzmán, Luther associate professor of music and education.

Guzmán holds the bachelor's degree from Luther, the master's degree and an associate degree from Florida State University.

He frequently serves as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in national and international festivals. He has conducted All-State, honor festivals, recording studio, shows, summer camps choirs, concert bands, jazz bands and orchestras in several countries over the past 30 years.

Luther College is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the world with six choirs, three orchestras, three bands, four jazz groups and nearly 1,000 student musicians. Luther students perform in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. More than 300 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, church music and performance.