The Luther College Music Department presents a concert featuring the Aurora and Norsemen choirs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, 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.
Aurora, comprised of first-year female singers, is under the direction of Jennaya Robison, assistant professor of music. Aurora is actively involved in the creation of new music, premiering works from Libby Larsen, Mack Wilberg and many other composers.
Aurora will perform works by Libby Larsen, Antonio Vivaldi and Gwenyth Walker. Also on the program are works by composers Stacey Gibbs and Jake Runestad, who both worked with the choir on their respective pieces. Runestad's works, "Sing, Wearing the Sky" and "Rise Up!" features student soloists and a string quartet of Luther student musicians. The choir will be joined by collaborative pianist, CJ Heck, Luther class of 2019.
Robison holds a bachelor of arts in music from Luther College, a master of music in conducting and voice from the University of New Mexico and a doctor of musical arts in choral conducting with a minor in voice performance from the University of Arizona. In addition to Aurora, Robison directs Cathedral Choir. She was recently asked to direct Luther's Collegiate Chorale, starting Fall 2017.
Norsemen, an ensemble of first-year male singers, is under the direction of Andrew Last, assistant professor of music. Norsemen has performed at several North Central American Choral Directors Association conferences, most recently at the 2011 NC-ACDA convention in Chicago.
Highlights of Norsemen's set include works by two Luther alumni composers: Ralph Petersen, class of 1966, and James Deignan, class of 2015. "Han Skal Leve Højt," a Danish toast arranged by Petersen, celebrates the life of the late Weston Noble, Luther class of 1943 and longtime conductor and professor of music at Luther. Deignan's "What We Need Is Here" is complemented by "Bound for the Promised Land," arranged by Brad Printz, which features the shape note hymn "The Promised Land" and two Appalachian fiddle tunes, "Santa Anna's Retreat" and "The Temperance Reel."
Last holds a bachelor of arts in music from Luther College, a master of music in choral conducting from Northern Arizona University and a doctor of musical arts in choral conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to directing Norsemen, Last also directs Collegiate Chorale. Recently, he was appointed the director of Luther's Nordic Choir, starting fall 2017.
Additionally, the winners of the Timothy and Sandra Peter Leadership Award Scholarship will be named at the performance.
Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the nation, with six choirs, three orchestras, three bands, two jazz bands and more than 800 student musicians. Luther students participate in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. Nearly 275 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance.