Luther College Nordic Choir's first tour to Europe was in 1967. Led by Weston Noble, Luther professor emeritus of music, the choir traveled to Norway, Denmark, West Germany and behind the Iron Curtain into East Germany. Almost 50 years later, Decorah native and Luther sophomore Aidan Spencer is creating a documentary celebrating the momentous trip.
Spencer, the daughter of Matt Spencer and Randi Berg, is a 2014 graduate of Decorah High School and Pleasant Valley Homeschoolers. She is majoring in music at Luther.
Spencer is pairing with Jacqueline Wilkie, Luther professor of history, to complete the project – an oral history of the choir's tour. They will continue their research collaboration into summer 2016, developing a storyboard, script and the production for the documentary.
Spencer and Wilkie will review what is currently known about the tour from resources found in the Luther College Archives – video footage and photographs taken by participants, articles written about the tour and letters written by participants and administrators of the tour. Their main focus for the summer research is to conduct one-on-one interviews with Nordic Choir alumni from the Minneapolis and Chicago areas. They will also talk with alumni who are returning to Decorah.
"I have loved creating this project with Professor Wilkie because it allows me to draw upon my major and experience with historical research and cinematography. As a future music educator, I believe that music has the power to connect cultures and impact the lives of both the performers and audience members. Nordic Choir's Tour of Europe in 1967 is the perfect example of how choral music does precisely that," Spencer said.
The documentary will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nordic Choir's first European tour. The process will also gather more materials for the Luther College Archives to better document and support Luther's student touring groups and study abroad programs.
Spencer and Wilkie's research is one of 23 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars program and Dean's Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther's academic core.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,400, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.