‘Christmas at Luther’ television program wins regional Emmy award

Oct. 4, 2009

Luther College’s nationally recognized “Christmas at Luther” holiday concert television program has earned an Emmy award for Twin Cities Public Television, the producer of the 2008 program that was aired by PBS Television as a PBS Holiday Special in December.

TPT won a regional Emmy award for “Best Special Event Coverage” for the program. “Christmas at Luther—Night of Glory, Dawn of Peace,” was broadcast nationwide on more than 100 public television stations in December 2008 as a PBS Holiday Special.

The Upper Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences selected the TPT television production of “Christmas at Luther” as the best special event coverage (other than news or sports). NATAS recognizes excellence in television with the Emmy award in the categories of news, sports, daytime, public service and technology.

Led by Dianne C. Steinbach, executive producer, arts and cultural productions, the TPT production team included Jeff Weihe, director; Joe Price Cunningham, lighting designer; Mich Griffin, audio and sweetening; John Kendall, production manager; and Skip Davis, on line editor.

The Luther production team included Craig Arnold, professor of music, artistic director; Jennifer Self, coordinator for music marketing, production and administrative arrangements; and Kendall Thompson and Tom Henning, programming technicians, lighting and technical support.

Twenty NATAS chapters across the United States conduct awards competitions to recognize excellence in regionally produced shows. Founded in 1955, NATAS is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry.

The NATAS Emmy awards are recognized as the gold standard of achievement in the television industry.

PBS has announced that it will broadcast the “Christmas at Luther” program nationwide again this year in its December holiday package to all PBS-affiliated stations. PBS will release the program Friday, Dec. 18, 10 p.m. Eastern time and 10 p.m. Pacific time; Saturday, Dec. 19, 5 p.m. Eastern time and 5 p.m. Pacific time; and on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 4 p.m. Eastern time. Check local public television listings for broadcast dates and times in your area.

“Christmas at Luther—Night of Glory, Dawn of Peace” is a dramatic production featuring the performances of more than 600 Luther student musicians. Vocal and instrumental ensembles and massed choirs present traditional holiday carols and sacred Christmas choral anthems, performing in one of the nation’s top college concert halls, the Luther Center for Faith and Life.

The concert included performances by Nordic Choir under the direction of Craig Arnold, Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Baldwin, Cantorei under the direction of Linda Martin, Christmas Brass and Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Frederick Nyline, Cathedral Choir and Aurora under the direction of Sandra Peter, Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen under the direction of Timothy Peter, Luther Ringers under the direction of Gregory Peterson, and the Christmas Flutes.

Organist is Gregory Peterson, and faculty accompanists included Du Huang and Xiao Hu, piano; Juan Tony Guzman, guitar; and Jacquelyn Venter Ridder, harp. Ann Sponberg Peterson is the narrator.

The powerful and moving music of “Christmas at Luther” is complemented by the magnificence of the Center for Faith and Life in its Christmas decoration and the choreography of the ensembles, including the stunningly beautiful candle-lighting hymn that slowly bathes the entire hall in the glow of hundreds of singers’ sequentially lighted candles. The spectacular visual power and majesty of “Christmas at Luther” is even more striking in 2008 through the high-definition television production of Twin Cities Public Television.

Each year, more than 6,500 people attend the “Christmas at Luther” performances on the Luther campus.

“Christmas at Luther—Night of Glory, Dawn of Peace”  DVDs and CDs can be purchased on-line at http://music.luther.edu/recordings.

Emmy Award