Baylor School of Music Welcomes St. Olaf Choir

Jan. 28, 2011

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Baylor University's School of Music will host the St. Olaf Choir from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., for a concert at 7: 30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, in Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCrary Music Building on the Baylor campus.

The performance will feature conductor Dr. Anton Armstrong and organist Dr. John Ferguson. Armstrong is Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College. He has conducted the choir since 1990. Ferguson is Elliot & Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music at St. Olaf College.

The St. Olaf Choir, founded in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, is a 75-member a cappella choir made up of full-time undergraduate students. The internationally renowned choir has taken 13 international tours, boasts a discography of 25 disks and was honored with the 1999 Wittenberg Award for outstanding contributions to Lutheran church music.

"Prior to the St. Olaf Choir, glee clubs and oratorio societies were the choirs of the day," Armstrong said. "A cappella singing in America was new for its time. The St. Olaf Choir helped establish what we know today as parish choirs that are now a regular part of many worship services across the nation."

The choir has performed at the White House for President George W. Bush, at the Seoul Olympic Arts Festival in South Korea and in its annual performances at the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, one of the oldest Christmas musical celebrations in the United States, which has aired on national and international radio and television for more than 20 years.

The 2011 national tour program includes works by African-American composers Mitchell B. Southall, Andre J. Thomas and Moses Hogan, as well as Canadian-Israeli composer Aharon Harlap and Venezuelan composer Alberto Grau.

"On this tour, we perform in concert halls and churches that have outstanding grand pipe organs, and we look forward to performing exciting works for chorus and organ with John Ferguson," Armstrong said.

With Ferguson, the choir will be performing pieces by Kenneth Leighton, John Ireland and John Rutter, as well as Ferguson's arrangement of Beethoven's "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee."

Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors, and $10 for students. They can be purchased at the door, or by calling the choir's toll-free telephone number 1-800-363-6487 or ordering online at

The Glennis McCrary Music Building is at 110 Baylor Ave.

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by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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