About David

David Gonnerman is associate director of marketing and communications for digital media at St. Olaf.

Watch ‘Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir’ on PBS

PBS will air a one-hour Christmas special, Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir, as part of this year’s holiday programming. Produced by Twin Cities Public Television, this program was filmed in Norway’s Nidaros Cathedral. Joining the St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong ’78 is Nidarosdomens Jentekor, the resident girls choir from the cathedral.

The national air date is December 23 at 8 p.m. Check these PBS listings for telecast dates and times across the country — from Savannah to Sacramento.

In the Twin Cities, the program can be seen on tpt2 at the following times:

  • Sunday, December 22, 7 p.m.
  • Monday, December 23, 1 a.m.
  • Monday, December 23, 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 24, 2 a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 25, 9 a.m.

Order CDs and DVDs of this program from the St. Olaf Bookstore and watch a trailer for the tour’s documentary film.

Tour documentary to premiere during Christmas Festival

In June the St. Olaf Choir embarked on a centennial tour that retraced part of the ensemble’s 1913 tour to Norway. This year the choir’s performances throughout Norway culminated in the filming of a new PBS Christmas program, Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choirat Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral.

A 60-minute film, The 2013 St. Olaf Choir in Norway: The Documentary, takes viewers “on-the-road” with the choir. It will premiere on-campus during this year’s St. Olaf Christmas Festival, with two public showings in Tomson Hall 280:

  • Saturday, December 7, 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 8, 12:45 p.m.

Film highlights include a visit to the U.S. ambassador’s residence, performing for a royal audience member at the Oslo Konserthus, homestays in Snåsa (the birthplace of college founder Bernt Julius Muus), plus other cultural connections between St. Olaf College and Norway.

The documentary features a number of pieces performed on the tour, interviews with Conductor Anton Armstrong ’78 and students, spectacular footage of Norway, and a few surprises.

Making the News in Larvik

Norway_NewspaperCheck out this Norwegian news story in Larvik’s Ostlands-Posten (link here and scroll down to the second and third pages).

A few translated excerpts:

  • “‘I have listened to this choir since I was little,’ said Anne Marie Mikkelsen from Larvik. She is sitting in the entryway with her friends Monica Gjersund and Marit Dromnes Seierstad before the evening’s concert. They all sing in the Tunklang Vocal Ensemble, and view this as an excellent opportunity to pick up some tips from a choir of such high quality.”
  • “And when they start to sing Norwegian folk melodies such as Pål På Haugen and Grieg’s Hvad est du dog skjön, it is difficult to not be surprised by their almost perfect Norwegian pronunciation.”
  • “And there was no one … who was not satisfied after yesterday’s concert. After having cut a brilliant figure in Larvik church earlier in the day, they stood hand in hand and swayed carefully back and forth on the stage. And just with the help of their voices, the choir, which was founded by the Larvik man F. Melius Christiansen in 1903, transfixed the audience for almost two hours. Tears were in many people’s eyes, and the goosebumps were constant.”
  • “Fantastic: Never before has this writer heard such beautiful choir music as one witnessed in Bølgen last night when the St. Olaf Choir performed in Larvik 100 years after their first visit here.”

Singing for the King

By Michael Kyle ’85

King Harald V greets choir members after their Oslo performance.

King Harald V greets choir members after their Oslo performance.

Some 500 guests — including St. Olaf students and alumni mixed in with the locals — enjoyed a wonderful tour premier at Oslo Konserthus. And at precisely 6:55 p.m. His Majesty King Harald V made his way to his seat in row 8.

The king was thoroughly impressed with the whole program (he told us so), but he was particularly taken by the two Norwegian pieces, and the remarkable solo work by Corraine Tate on This Little Light of Mine and Annie Deering on Beautiful Savior.

Michael Kyle ’85 is vice president for enrollment and college relations at St. Olaf.

The choir performs for King Harald V at the Oslo Konserthus.

The choir performs for King Harald V at the Oslo Konserthus.

Anton Armstrong '78, conductor of the choir, speaks to the Oslo audience.

Anton Armstrong ’78, conductor of the choir, speaks to the Oslo audience.

 

 

 

From the Storting to the Ambassador’s Residence

By Michael Kyle ’85

Anton Armstrong '78 leads choir members in an impromptu performance in Oslo.

Anton Armstrong ’78 leads choir members in an impromptu performance in Oslo.

With jetlag settling in we started our first full day in Oslo with a visit to the Storting, or Norwegian parliament.  The Storting (in Norwegian: Stortinget) is the supreme legislature of Norway.  The unicameral parliament has 169 members, and is elected every four years based on party-list proportional representation in 19 plural member constituencies. The assembly is led by a presidium of a president and five vice presidents.

The Constitution of Norway established the parliament in 1814 and meets in the Parliament of Norway Building, designed by Emil Victor Langlet.  We enjoyed a tour of the building and met with a number of officials who provided insight, answered questions, and were particularly helpful orienting the students to the Norwegian system of government.

Visiting the U.S. ambassador's residence in Oslo.

Visiting the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Oslo.

A highlight from Wednesday was the reception at the U.S. ambassador to Norway’s residence in Oslo. The St. Olaf Choir was last at the ambassador’s residence in 1980, when Sidney Rand, president of St. Olaf from 1963-80, was ambassador. We enjoyed warm greetings from the embassy staff, had a chance to mingle with alumni living in Norway, and also to extend a formal welcome (complete with “Um! Yah! Yah!”) to Andreas Ensrud, a new incoming first-year student from Norway along with his parents and grandfather. The rain mostly held off and we were so grateful to be in such a wonderful house, filled with memories and memorabilia, with such kind and gracious people.

Michael Kyle ’85 is vice president for enrollment and college relations at St. Olaf.

Oslo Arrival

By Michael Kyle ’85

Oles check out the highlights of Oslo.

Oles check out the highlights of Oslo.

The St. Olaf Choir arrived in two waves into Oslo: one through Reykjavik and one through Amsterdam. The rain was falling gently as everyone gathered their luggage and we hopped on our buses for a three-hour city tour.

First stop: Holmenkollen, the famous ski jump in the city that has been re-built and refurbished multiple times and has served as a site for various Olympic competitions. Then it was off to Frogner Park, made famous primarily for the expansive grounds (80 acres) and 212 bronze and granite sculptures designed and constructed over 20-years by Gustav Vigeland.

As we settled into the Rica Holberg Hotel in downtown Oslo, showers were taken, bags were unpacked, and Facebook statuses were updated.

Michael Kyle ’85 is vice president for enrollment and college relations at St. Olaf.