Wisconsin Lutheran Choir Blog

How Can I Keep from Singing?

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 26 May 2013

Half Way and Still so Much to Come….

It is astonishing to imagine that our tour is already halfway done. It literally seems like yesterday that we boarded the London coaches and taking a brief tour of the city. (I will miss the comfortable coach buses.) Right now we are on the Ulysses ferry and traveling to the enchanting land of Ireland. Like being on the Titanic, each passenger can experience: the fresh air and taste of the salty sea on their lips, the cinema (where a Bible study will be held soon), a shopping center, and food options to satisfy every level of hunger.

This morning we said and sang a tearful good-bye to our Bamford host families after the two nights we spent with them and making several personal connections. The Christian fellowship was shown in every way imaginable. At the concert last night the choir had the honor to sing for the city mayor and his wife, as well as a member of Parliament. (We were told to keep our eyes out for an article in the local paper.) The performance was very moving for audience and choir members alike; it was remarkable being able to feel the power of the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of so many.

KimberlyYesterday, the choir split into two groups to determine how they would spend their day. Option #1: Travel to Liverpool and take a tour of the Beatles. Option # 2: Visit the Dunham Massey House. I did the Dunham Massey tour; and it was like something you would read about in a Jane Austen novel. The gardens were amazing; and the weather could not have been more perfect. Some members of the choir, when touring the house, even got to play a beautiful antique piano.

Thursday and Friday were spent in Cambridge and Stratford-Upon-Avon. In Stratford, several people went to see at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre As You Like It; and it was an unforgettable experience. The take was kind of modern with a few musical components. Between doing that and touring Shakespeare?s birthplace/burial place, our respects were paid to the playwright.

All in all, everyone is enjoying the tour and will return with enough pictures to prove it. Dr. Nowack, Dorothy, and the tour leaders are doing a wonderful job of keeping the choir organized and help make every event run smoothly. I hope and pray to be able to come back to England someday, there are just so many things to experience.

Kimberly

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 24 May 2013

A Plastic Bag

From Friday, May 24

Hello, all. I’m sure someone else has mentioned the remarkable lack of Wi-fi here (and if not, there’s a remarkable lack of Wi-fi here). This has made updating the blog rather difficult, but here we are.

josh arizonaBefore we departed Dublin International Airport a few days ago, I happened to look out the window and see a plastic bag skittering across the tarmac, ignored by everyone it passed, forced to go in whatever direction the wind took it. Despite all the different sights we’ve seen thus far on our journey–the sheer grandeur of King’s College Chapel and William Shakespeare’s grave, the quiet beauty of the fog rolling in over the Lakenheath farmland–this simple image is somehow the most poignant in my mind: a lonely plastic bag unceremoniously picked up and dropped by an indifferent wind.

So often we Christians feel this way, no? Buffeted about by the indifferent winds of the world, always aware of those who would rather not be aware of us…these are the trials we face every day. In a foreign country (even an English-speaking one), this feeling is only exacerbated. It can be difficult to act as witnesses for our faith even in our home country. Our music, though, along with our words and actions in the various places we’ve seen, has allowed and will continue to allow us to do this. We praise the Lord through our songs, and we–and our audiences– have our faith strengthened in turn.

Our journey thus far has been truly awe-inspiring, and I cannot wait for the rest. Soli deo gloria!

Josh

Courtney

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 24 May 2013

Cultural Immersion

From Friday, May 24

Hello, everyone!

At the moment the choir is headed for Bamford on our typical two coach buses. Yes, we still ride these giant vehicles even across the seas. We’re all anxiously awaiting meeting our new host families for the next two nights. These will be native families from England, which I personally am so excited to meet.

Between the bus rides, the concerts, the sleeping, and the eating, we have had some wonderful time to sightsee. We’ve been on a handful of walking tours, but my favorite way to sightsee is to simply immerse myself into the culture. My sister, Sydney and I spent our first night in London walking around Covent garden, which is one of the local places to shop. We were able to talk to some of the people who worked at Snogg which is a frozen yogurt shop. It was delicious, and the people working there were probably about our age. Sydney and I both thoroughly enjoyed talking to people our own age. We were able to ask them a little about England, and they were able to ask us about the states.

When I come to a new place I like to learn about the people and the culture around me. I enjoy that more than I enjoy seeing the history, which is very interesting as well but it is so exciting to communicate with the locals and to try to immerse myself in the way that they are living even if it’s only for a few weeks. The US is only a small portion of the world, and so many Americans unfortunately seem to forget that we are not all that matters. There are so many amazing places that God gave us to explore and experience, and we should take advantage of that. I can’t wait to meet my host family tonight and to experience the way that they live as opposed to how I am used to living. Several things that I have already learned are that the British do not usually have built in closets, the cereal is different, and most businesses close around 6 including the movie theaters and malls/shops. I am eager to learn more tonight and throughout the next week!

I hope everything is going well back in the states! God’s blessings!

Courtney

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 24 May 2013

Travel Updates from Stratford-upon-Avon

imageHello everyone!

Special greetings from Stratford-upon-Avon, England! :-) After seeing Shakespeare’s birthplace and grave, and having the opportunity to sing in Holy Trinity Church, we are on our way to Bamford, England. We have had quite a whirlwind tour these past few days, and there is much more to come! God has richly blessed our experiences here in England, and we pray for His continued blessing on the remainder of our tour.

During our free time today and yesterday, we had the opportunity to walk throughout the city, visiting various shops and restaurants. I even had the chance to try English pepperoni pizza. It was fantastic! :-)

We are leaving for Ireland on Sunday, and we are all thoroughly excited. With more concerts and recitals ahead of us, the singing has just begun. What’s more, due to the sights around the areas we are visiting, we are also becoming expert photographers. :-) We have seen so much already, and the trip is not even halfway done! :-)

Christian

Anna B

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 22 May 2013

Although the singing hasn’t begun, the Arts have!

Anna’s Blog

May 21-Tuesday

Hello Everyone!

Our tour has begun and although the singing hasn’t started, the arts have definitely been experienced during our stop in London. At Westminster Abbey, the music people (those who have studied composers especially) were able to see and appreciate Handel’s grave. A few of the theatre people traveled to The Globe Theatre today and were excited to find that actors were rehearsing an upcoming showing of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” And some of the art people, including myself, got their fill as well by taking advantage of the National Gallery–London’s large art museum.

I would have felt like a bad art student if I had not taken the time to go see the National Gallery, but I was rewarded by an amazing experience just two days into our tour. Seeing the works of Cezanne, Renoir, Seurat, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Caravaggio, and others, I was in complete awe. It is one thing to see a painting of the Thames in the States, quite another to see it in its native city!
I was so moved by every piece–their simplicity, their color, the brush strokes, the movement, the compositions; they were incredible.

Many school children were on fieldtrips to the museum, and I noticed one girl in particular. She was explaining the pieces she saw to her fellow classmates–for, of course, she knew everything. She came up to a painting I was near, and I heard her say, “This piece is very swirly, and you can tell it’s a swamp because it’s so messy!” ………..It was one of Monet’s bridge paintings! I got a kick out of that–a girl calling a Monet “messy.”

I was quite jealous of the children walking around. They are growing up in the city where many artists’ work was completed and many artists lived! I’m so thankful I was able to go–the Vermeer’s and Rembrandt’s were part of the joy, so was the delicious apple pie I ate in the cafe on the main level, but it has also been so neat to be where art is free to be seen by all, just because it is important.

Thank you for all the support, those who are reading. I would not have been able to experience this afternoon without you!

Prayers for the rest of our journeys! :)

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour &Choir Alumni | 18 May 2013

Family Matters

KimberlyThe countdown is here!! In less than 48 hours we travel to the United Kingdom for the adventures and memories that will last a lifetime. Well-wishes have been offered and numerous phone calls/emails have been exchanged between tour roommates to see who will be bringing what. With all of the excitement in the air it?s no surprise that sleep doesn?t come easy.

With everything that has happened recently, I ponder back to the days of the choir?s first meeting back in August; and I truly feel the sense of family among this group of young adults. Throughout the years we see people come and go in our lives; but then we get the nice surprise of a returning visit. I could tell from our last concert when alumni joined the choir to sing Abide With Me that there was a certain bond between the music and the singers.?

(Just thinking of that reminds me of tomorrow?s graduation ceremony; and how many more individuals will be classified as ?alumni? for the choir.)

I was talking with someone recently and trying to explain the choir?s internal connection.

As a freshman you know no one; but as you move up the academic totem pole, the upper classmen pass on their wisdom and introduce you to alumni that they worked with in the choir. This constant connection of the old embracing the new is not something that can be found in every classroom on every campus. The individuals around us truly are links of God?s grace.

So as we get ready to say bon voyage, just a reminder to add to the packing checklist:

  • New toothbrush: $1.50
  • Luggage limit: 50 pounds
  • Joining together as ambassadors for Christ: priceless.

Kimberly

Peter

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour &General | 13 May 2013

Packing Ponderings

suitcaseIt?s that time of year again?packing season. The season crammed in between the rush of school and the equally ?packed? summer. Nostalgia hits as I gather up all of my possessions that I have managed to accumulate over my last full academic year while I frantically scramble to clean up the disaster that I?ve left in my wake. Yet this time around, it?s even more stressful and crucial than usual. Multiple shopping and packing lists are strewn about the house as I try to prepare for my two back-to-back international adventures this summer. As seems to always be the case, there is so much to do in so little time.

Passport: check. Dress shoes: check. Choir folder: check. Item after item must be strategically placed in my luggage for maximum packing potential. Many people might say that packing is ?the worst?, and although it is monotonous and tedious, one can easily see the bright side in the task. After each list item is carefully squeezed into the suitcase and skillfully shut for the journey ahead, it is certain that once it is reopened in the States, I will return with far more than when I left.

My passport will have extra stamps in its pages, verifying my entrance into foreign countries. The pair of shoes that have been my daily footwear will have (hopefully) comfortably taken my feet to faraway lands. The choir folder containing our familiar songs that will continue to ring in my ears as they did in the beautiful worship spaces abroad. As I pull each item out of my suitcase, new memories will be attached. Although the items may even be the same, they will inevitably carry new meanings.

So pack lightly and prepare to bring home a bundle of life experiences to share with your family! Oh, and don?t forget to leave room for other essentials for traveling like kindness, patience, flexibility, and an open mind!

Peter

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour &Choir Alumni &Concerts | 13 May 2013

Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor

EthanOur tour home concerts are over, and now the work begins! Exam week is upon us, as last week we all frantically wrote papers, finished projects, and prepared for testing, all while the excitement for our United Kingdom and Ireland Concert Tour builds a little higher every day. Yet with the culmination of the school year comes a new stress, making sure all our ducks are in a row as we eagerly anticipate our departure on the 19th. This is all in the future, though, and for now we can reflect on the past.

Saturday?s home concert was especially meaningful. I watched all of the choir alumni join us for the final song through the eyes of a first-year member. I was able to recognize some faces, but that was about it. But for those long-time choir members (both alumni and current), seeing those faces brought back memories of days long gone, good friends who have moved on, the sadness of growing up and going separate ways. It is no secret why Dr. Nowack would choose such a song as ?Oread Farewell? for our departure concert, and perhaps that piece summarizes best everyone?s thoughts:

How brief a time has come and gone, since first we sang together; but bittersweet is that music now that we must say, ?farewell.?

Our final piece ?Abide With Me? sounded different on Saturday, and I think I know why. It has a power to move everyone to tears?if not sooner, then certainly upon contemplation of the words, ?where is death?s sting, where grave thy victory? I triumph still if thou abide with me.? In the past these lines have reminded me of the final triumph of the Christian in death and an assuredness of eternal life. At the Saturday concert, this was not the case. Seeing those who had come up to join in singing along with us, I did not think of death, but of life. It is certainly the greatest of all gifts that Jesus? sacrifice brings us an eternal fellowship with all believers, but this often distracts from the earthly fellowship that God also graciously grants us.

Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. These are words from ?Ubi Caritas,? one of our favorite pieces. Translated they read, ?Christ?s love has gathered us into one.? As we sing the words of this centuries-old hymn, we are reminded that it is Christ that unites us with not only all Christians around the world, but also all Christians who have gone before us and have finished the race, and all Christians whose race has not yet begun. The music we sing may be ?bittersweet? as we reflect on all the joys of the past year, and on the sadness of leaving our pasts behind, yet we are reminded that it is only for a time, as we eagerly await that time when we are made whole in Christ and enter into the perfect fellowship of Heaven.

? For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.? ?Matt. 18:20

?Ethan

Peter

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour &2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour &Choir Alumni | 09 Mar 2013

Hardly the Final Chapter

Although the Wisconsin?Weekend Tour has come and gone for the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir, one cannot argue that our job is done. In fact there is much more to come. Much more dedication, much more excitement, and much more reward for each choir member. Despite the completion of a successful weekend of beautiful music and strengthened friendships, we will soon be working on building our repertoire and eagerly applying ourselves toward the goal and climax of our United Kingdom and Ireland Concert Tour! With one smaller, yet still significant tour under our belts, we can focus on improving for what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of our lives. For some of us, it will possibly be one of the last opportunities to travel and collaborative musically with some of our dearest and closest friends.

Wisconsin Lutheran Choir members Dan, Peter, and Kathryn

Wisconsin Lutheran Choir members Dan, Peter, and Kathryn

This past week, while we were sight-singing new pieces for our upcoming tour, I made the mistake of thinking about what I recognized as ?the end?. The bittersweet thought struck me without any warning. As Dr. Nowack introduced one piece entitled ?Oread Farewell?, my mind quickly leaped to the thought that I had been pushing out of my mind for four years: the final chapter for me as a member of the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. As I continued to turn the pages of this emotionally packed piece, I couldn?t stop the rush of emotions that overcame me. Even while singing the first page, my throat started to close as I attempted to hold back the tears that were welding up in my eyes. For four years, I have benefited from the leadership of Dr. Nowack and the companionship of my fellow choir members. The song?s suddenly meaningful words capture the thought that will enter my mind every time that I sing with the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir for the last few months of our time together.

So brief a time has come and gone

Since first we sang together;

But bittersweet is the music now

That we must say, ?Farewell.?

Despite the forewarnings that I have received from now-alumni of the choir, I could not fully understand the emotions of which they claimed to succumb after finishing their time in the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. Not one of them will ever trade the time that they spent in this special ensemble.

I may have a right to be so sappy; however, I can also choose to make the most of the opportunities that await me in the next couple of months. Although I may not ever sing with the same group of remarkable people again until we meet again in heaven, I will still have music. After working with Dr. Nowack for four years, I have noticed one remarkable fact. Music does not have to be a vocation, a class, or a time with one specific ensemble, but rather, music is life. There are no limits to how or when we can enjoy music. Let us make the most beautiful music together while we have the chance and never lose our passion for this gift!

Peter

P.S. Read more about the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir alumni perspective here.

2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour | 03 Mar 2013

Inspiration

Liz shares her thoughts from Saturday evening, after the performance at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Baraboo, Wis.

Hello, all!

It always amazes me how music has an extraordinary way of bringing people together. By filling the sanctuary of St. John’s, Baraboo, with our unified voices, the members of the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir demonstrated a love for music and our Savior through a spectacular concert. The well wishes and encouraging feedback from our audience signify how meaningful our messages were tLiz blog pico all who heard them. I am sure my fellow choir members would agree that sharing our faith through music is a very humbling and inspiring experience.

As we grow closer and closer to our international tour, I cannot help but reflect on the journey we have taken as a choir to be where we are today. In only a few short months, we have developed a strong sound, built friendships, and made memories which continue to grow with each rehearsal and performance. We have truly come together as a choir, carrying these experiences with us to serve as a solid musical foundation. I feel that this has allowed each of us to take on a unique role and perspective within the choir.

Personally, words cannot express how much the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir means to me. As a choir member, I am inspired to sing from my heart as I offer God only the highest honor and praise. I am inspired to humbly serve others through leadership and accountability. I am inspired to strive for perfection, never settling for less than I can possibly give. Finally, I am inspired to leave a legacy in order to preserve the name and the true meaning of being a member of the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. Through this opportunity, I have learned how amazing it feels to be a part of something bigger than just myself, and I would not trade that feeling for anything in the world.

?Peace unto Zion. Peace to the faithful. And a crown of rejoicing from your heavenly Father.?

Liz

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour | 02 Mar 2013

Feeling at home on tour

Hello Everyone!

It?s that time of year again! Whether it’s a three-day tour or our usual weeklong tour, all tours share a familiar feeling. Today is just the second day, and we seem to have settled into our routine. We stayed with our first host families last night,Nina and the consensus is that we all had a great time!

Throughout the day I have heard many stories of the time spent with hosts. Some stayed up playing with the family?s kids, some stayed in the hot tub chatting, while others enjoyed going out for dinner. Personally, I had a blast with my host family! We stayed up chatting, laughing, and sharing stories from our lives, connecting through shared experiences. This morning, we woke up to coffee and fresh farm eggs! I also got to visit their chicken coop and catch a glimpse of the life of a farmer. It was fascinating!

Today, we got to spend some free time on State Street in Madison, WI. I am sure we all appreciated the chance to relax, shop, or get some homework done at our temporary “home base,” Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel. While we all enjoy spending time sightseeing, we all know the true reason that we are on tour. When all is said and done and quiet time starts, we get the chance to reflect on the idea that through our music we are witnessing to people. That is the real reason we are on this tour, and I could not be prouder of that fact.

Nina

2013 United Kingdom and Ireland Tour &Concerts &Uncategorized | 02 Mar 2013

And the Night Shall Be Filled with Music

josh arizonaHello, everyone. I hope you?re having a splendid weekend.

?And the night shall be filled with music, and the cares that infest the day shall be banished like restless feelings and silently steal away.? This line is from ?The Day is Done?, one of the pieces sung on this tour by the Chamber Choir, which is based on an adapted text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?s poem of the same name. It?s a beautiful setting of an equally beautiful text, and it perfectly encapsulates our day yesterday.

As excited as we were to get underway, the bus ride out to Winnebago Lutheran High School was rather subdued (probably because we were still shaking off what little sleep we?d gotten). After our lyceum there, I know that many of us were, to use the vernacular, pumped. Even so, while I can?t speak for everyone, I?m sure many of us were going through the normal stresses prior to a concert: Did I drink enough water today? Will I remember the order of the songs? Will we get all those parts that have been bothering us for the past few weeks?

Then came the concert at Immanuel Lutheran in Greenville. Through a night filled with music and the Word, the Lord eased our restless feelings and those of our audience. The worries and cares we?d had during the day melted away, leaving us to bask in the joy of music and the message of salvation. Last night, God blessed us all with a taste of heaven?s bliss.

Josh

2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour | 02 Mar 2013

It may be a “mini tour,” but it’s a major beginning

Brittany
The first?day of March marks also the first day of our 2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour, otherwise known as our “mini tour.” This is a major step in our journey for many reasons as we approach the spring United Kingdom and Ireland Tour. We now have the opportunity to share the beautiful music that we have been practicing?g daily in concerts hosted by three Wisconsin area congregations. These three concerts will allow us to hone the music and become acclimated to performing our songs in front of an audience.

We love the concert experience because the atmosphere revs up our enthusiasm. It gives us so much motivation and uplifts us knowing we are the messangers of the great Gospel message to those listening to our songs of praise. This mini tour is also the first of many bonding experiences we will have together, and it will play animportant role in unifying us as a choir. The tour is “mini” in the sense of the?short amount of time we are gone and the short traveling distances. In comparison to the upcoming international tour, it is an important milestone for our preparations.

Brittany

2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour | 01 Mar 2013

And We’re Off!

Breann

Breann

And we?re, off! Our first stop on our Wisconsin Weekend Tour is Winnebago Lutheran Academy to participate in a choir exchange (we sing for the WLA choir and they sing for us). The event has sparked a few memories from my transition from high school choir to the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir.

I can clearly remember my first day of choir at WLC, with my nerves and excitement extremely high. My nerves were calmed quickly when Dr. Nowack gave the class orientation and told all 65 members we are here for one purpose, and that is to spread the Word through the music we create together. We were to leave all worries at the door and concentrate on the one love that brings us together, music. After his orientation my nerves were gone and I was ready to sing.

The first note that we all sang was just amazing to me. I could not believe that I was part of a college choir that could produce such a mature, rich sound. My memories of just feeling that ?wow factor? every time we performed my freshman year will stick with me forever. I find that my memories of those feelings come back each time I watch an incoming freshman?s face light up when they sing with the choir for the first time.

My love for choir has grown deeper and deeper over the past three years, and it is just amazing to me every year how this choir is like no other. I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this and share what we believe with others throughout Wisconsin on this Weekend Tour!

Breann

Michael

2013 Wisconsin Weekend Tour &General | 25 Jan 2013

Getting Back into the Rhythm of Things

After almost five weeks of break, working, or J-term classes it is time to “hit the books” once again. Days quickly fill up with time in the classroom, hours in the library, group meetings, and campus jobs – something that, for most, seems to be a far cry from the preceeding weeks. Although it may take some time to adjust to a new, and sometimes hectic, daily schedule, the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir and Chamber Choir delve right into the new semester.

Folders are filled to the brim with new music for the singers to learn in the upcoming semester. We’re working on the repertoire that will be showcased during the domestic Wisconsin Weekend Tour in March and eventaully the concerts of the May, 2013 international concert tour. Concerts will feature a wide variety of music, ranging from German lieder to pieces composed in the American shape-

note genre. Learning so many musically demanding pieces for tour and performances often seems like daunting task, even to seasoned choir veterans, but fear not! Dr. Nowack is here! The choir could not ask for a better leader to guide us through the difficult (yet rewarding) music that awaits. Soon enough, the choir will be back in tip top shape and ready to tackle the new challenges on the road that leads to Europe. All it really takes is getting back into the rhythm of things.?Michael

Concerts &General | 13 Dec 2012

Great Memories, Emotional Moments, and Close Friends….

Welcome to Nina, soprano section leader and our newest choir blogger!

Hello Readers, and Merry Christmas!Our newest choir blogger!

Well, our final concerts have ended, which leaves us seven weeks until we can sing together again. In these past three years of my time at WLC, I have found that the thing I look forward to the most every day is the hour I get to sing with these amazing people. I think that sometimes I take my choir time for granted because I always forget how much I miss it during times we?re on break. The choir members have become my family, and it?s hard not to see them every day. As I write this, I sit in the Wolf Rehearsal Hall, where I?ve spent an hour a day, five days a week, for the past three and a half years. My best memories, my most emotional moments, and my closest friends I?ve made in this room. I know that my days with this amazing choir are numbered and it?s a constant reminder to make the most of my time here.

2012 Christmas Festival Concert

Last Sunday’s Christmas concert was very hard for me. I didn?t realize that it was my last time singing Christmas music with the choir until someone hugged me while we were backstage, saying through tears that she will miss me next year. My attitude completely changed at the moment. I was given the chance to step back and watch everyone enjoying time with one another. I have mixed feelings about being a senior. I can?t help being a little envious of the freshman. They have three years ahead of them to spend time with the people I have come to love. My advice to them is to make the most of every moment, don?t take anything for granted, don?t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, work hard, and leave everything at the choir room doors when you walk in.

I also really enjoyed watching the seniors that I entered the choir with. It?s awesome to see how much we?ve grown, matured, and stuck together these past years. I wouldn?t have had a chance to meet some of you if it wasn?t for choir. Singing together is such a unifying experience. Music in general is such a unifying thing. While we all have different majors and different interests, we all share our love of music. That is so cool! It must be God bringing us together, right?

I can?t express how much pride I have in the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. We?ve come so far and worked so hard to be where we are now. The work paid off because we acted as a true ensemble these last four concerts. We listened to each other, fed off of each other?s emotions, and praised God together. Being in a choir like this one is a unique experience. At the end of the day, it isn?t technical precision that makes an amazing concert, although it certainly does contribute. What really makes our concerts special is our attitude of praise and humbled hearts. God gave us the gift to sing, and our purpose on earth is to serve Him! It?s completely natural for me to give Him all the praise and glory, and I?m sure it is for everyone else.

I am so excited that I get another semester with these wonderful people, Dr. Nowack, and Dorothy. I praise God for every day I have with you. Let?s work hard and have fun these next few months!

Nina

Courtney

Concerts | 03 Dec 2012

One Family in Christ

Hello Lovers of Music, and Merry Christmas!

I am currently sitting in the choir rehearsal hall as I write this. We just exited stage after the first set of songs for our second Christmas concert. As I write this I can?t help but look around at my fellow choir members and friends. A few are plunking out the song ?Heart and Soul? on the piano even though they can play far more intricate songs with their incredible talents; several are on their phones wishing that we actually had service in the rehearsal hall, and others are reading or catching up on each other?s days. As a choir of?almost 70?people, we all lead separate lives on the WLC campus. We all have different friends, different hobbies, different likes and dislikes, and the list goes on, but one thing that bonds us together is our love of music and praising God through that love of music. It is an incredible feeling to warm up as a choir before our concerts. We all come from different places and meet in the concert hall to become one choir put together by the Lord. As we approach the Christmas season, our choir stops to reflect on what this time of year is really about. God sent his only son to live a perfect life on this earth so that he could one day die to save us from our sins. ?And that?s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown,? and that is what this choir lives to tell our wonderful audiences. We gather each night for the same purpose, to praise God for everything that he has done and continues to do for us. Come join us this Christmas season to praise God with us! You come from different places than us as well but that doesn?t matter when you are here with us, glorifying God. We are all one family in Christ.

Well time to head back out on stage!

Courtney

Anna B

Concerts | 03 Dec 2012

That Christmas Glow

Christmas is always my favorite time of year, and it?s especially fun to be at WLC around this time. As an art major, I spend most of my time in the beautifully decorated Fine Arts building. The spirit of Christmas is in every nook and cranny of that building, including the Schwan Concert Hall! Our choirs’ Christmas concerts were held in here this weekend, and the hall just seemed to glow. Two of my favorite pieces are ?All This Night? by Gerald Finzi for our Chamber Choir and ?Hark the Herald Angels Sing? by Mack Wilberg, the concert?s closer, sung by the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. I think our choir members can?t help but smile as we sing these pieces. Singing beautiful music, with amazing texts and a wonderful orchestra, in a lit up hall full of garland and lights?there just can?t be anything much better! I hope you were all able to come and enjoy this concert as much as I enjoyed performing in it, and I sincerely wish you all a blessed Christmas season as we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Anna B.

Peter

Fall Mini Retreat &General | 17 Sep 2012

Life Lessons from a Child’s Eyes

Throughout our lives, we are reminded that it is sometimes beneficial to think like a child, or perceive reality in the way that a young mind would. During stressful points, it is common to notice, and even admire, the carefree attitudes of children, ignorant of societal and personal struggles. In the Bible, we are reminded that a childlike faith is commendable because of its blind, simple, and trusting nature.? In a person?s childhood, he or she can be unaffected by prejudices, fear, and complications that so often create obstacles in an adult?s life.

Last weekend, the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir was blessed with a gorgeous day to hold its first “mini-retreat” in anticipation of another successful year of music. This fun-filled afternoon and evening consisted of team-building activities, volleyball, and a cookout! Freeing up an afternoon of work and academic responsibilities proved to enhance bonding between fresh and returning choir members, so that we are even more comfortable making music to the Lord through the unification of our voices. Even though we are college-age students, we took pleasure in releasing our inner children and playing games together!

One of the afternoon?s games that was a riot to watch was called ?Blindfolded Animals?. Each choir member randomly chose an animal from a plastic bag and put on their blindfold. Without telling any other member their animal, the person had to locate their fellow species by making the noise of the animal. No other words were allowed, so they had to rely on their ears to find the members with the same animal. Silly as it may sound, one can find some valuable applications, especially in regards to singing in a choir.

Blindfolds signify vulnerability. When wearing a blindfold, you are lending yourself to the unknown, trusting in the assistance of your surrounding teammates. In a choir setting, singers are vulnerable. As Dr. Nowack once said, ?If you want to be vulnerable, sing in a choir.? We are totally dependent on each other.

A singer projects his or her voice, which is often frightening, especially before an audience; however, he or she can rely on the backup of every other singer. The listening aspect of the game can also easily be related to choir. In the animal game, each member had to pay attention to the noises around them while simultaneously projecting their own noise in order to find their fellow animals. In a choir, we must sing freely and put forth an individual effort in order to lead others, but we must also listen to those around us. If we are too loud to hear the voices of our fellow choir members, we will not be successful in completing the task.

This activity was an exercise that forced us to think beyond words. In making music we do that?think beyond words.

?Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.??E.Y. Harburg

Peter

Anna B

Concerts &General | 12 May 2012

Links of God’s Grace

We?re heading into exam week! The year has gone by so fast; I barely know what?s hit me!

Last weekend was our final concert where we performed Dan Forrest?s Three Nocturnes. As is the custom, before each concert, we have a section meeting. These meetings usually consist of going over little things to remember about our pieces and saying a prayer before we head out to sing, but our last section meeting this year was special.

This year, Jessica (our soprano section leader) has been giving devotions in our meetings. In past years, of course, the focus has always been on praising God and remembering we?re witnessing as we sing, but there was something awesome that happened this year. The soprano section became a family?closer than normal. With each devotion, that closeness grew. Not only were we going over song details, but we were fully putting our focus on the One whom this is all for.

I truly believe that because we grew closer to God through His words, we also grew closer to each other. After the devotion, Jessica would have us all link hands before our prayer and tell the person to our right, ?You are a link of God?s grace.? Those words put us into a mindset and heart-set where we knew we were loved?by our sisters in the choir and by God. We knew that through our singing, we were becoming one; we were becoming a vessel for the Holy Spirit. We were becoming the instrument by which people would hear the true message of God?s love for them.

After redoing some makeup?tears win in the fight against non-waterproof mascara?we lined up for our last concert, and we knew we were a part of something bigger than anything we could ever imagine.

God?s blessings on your summers, readers, and thank you for all the prayers and support.??

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