‘To This Day: Remembering Nordic Choir’s First International Tour’

October 3, 2017

It’s a tale of adventure on the high seas, of stolen passports and international intrigue, of uncommon beauty and international goodwill, otherwise known as Luther College Nordic Choir’s first tour of Europe; Norway, West Germany and East Germany.

In 1967, former Luther Professor Emeritus of Music Weston Noble took about 100 talented Luther students on tour. Fifty years later, as part of a three-year student/faculty collaborative project, Aidan Spencer, Luther senior of Decorah, Iowa, and Jacqueline Wilkie, Luther professor of history, created a documentary of that historic first tour.

An official viewing of “To This Day: Remembering Nordic Choir’s First International Tour” will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the Noble Recital Hall of Jensen-Noble Hall of Music on Luther’s campus. The event is open to the public with no charge for admission.

The film starts with a parade of students passing under an arch, and then goofing around on a bus. Decades before people became immune to the presence of a camera, students take turns making faces, popping up like a jack-in-the-box in front of the lens and throwing arms around shoulders. Noble can be seen in the back, jammed amid four or five singers, making bunny ears and holding up a shoeless foot. Even fifty years later, the group’s joy is palpable.

“This project has captured hundreds of stories from people both past and present, stories about what it was like to live in the 1960’s for better or for worse, and stories of music, laughter and love. I have listened to the stories of this tour countless times and they still make me laugh and bring tears to my eyes,” said Spencer.

Spencer and Wilkie conducted more than 25 interviews, gathered archival material and analyzed artifacts over the past two summers to help in creating a script for the documentary.

“This is a valuable way of preserving college history that I suspect would have been lost,” Wilkie says.

Spencer agrees, adding, “It feels good to tell a story that is so important to so many people.”

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, 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.