For more than a century the St. Olaf Choir has set a gold standard for choral singing, and during a 14-city national tour, the ensemble will offer an eclectic program of sacred and secular choral masterpieces that range from Baroque classics by William Byrd and Johann Sebastian Bach to American folk songs and hymns including “Shenandoah” and “Amazing Grace.”
Conductor Anton Armstrong and the 75 singers of the St. Olaf Choir launched their annual winter tour in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Jan. 21, and will present concerts in nine states including a concert at the DeKalb High School Auditorium, 501 W. Dresser Road in DeKalb, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10.
General admission tickets, priced at $30 for adults and $10 for students, are available at stolaf.edu/tickets or by calling 800-363-5487 (phone orders are subject to added fees).
“Hearing the St. Olaf Choir is more than just a musical experience,” Armstrong said in a news release. “What makes this ensemble distinctive is the way our singers perform at the highest artistic level, and through body, mind, spirit and voice, our audiences are transformed.“
Founded 105 years ago by F. Melius Christiansen at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the St. Olaf Choir is internationally recognized as a creative force behind America’s a cappella choral tradition.
Now in his 27th year as conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, Armstrong is only the fourth conductor in the ensemble’s history, beginning his tenure in 1990. In addition to his role as a professor of music at St. Olaf College, he is in demand in the international choral scene as a guest conductor and lecturer.
Like his three predecessors, Armstrong strives to expand the St. Olaf Choir’s repertoire, particularly by performing more music of our time.
“I strive to present works that speak to the human spirit,” Armstrong said in the release, “including works like Ralph M. Johnson’s ‘This House of Peace,’ which uses text drawn from quotes by caregivers, patients and their families, and Jeffery L. Ames’ ‘For the Sake of Our Children,’ which is a prayer for peace and human rights that addresses challenges in Africa, the Americas and Middle East.”
Joining the choir on the tour is violinist and violist Charles Gray, professor of music at St. Olaf College. A former member of the Rochester Philharmonic in New York and the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan, Gray is a substitute member of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
For information, visit stolafchoir.com.