Of rumbling basses, towering mountains, and Ole traditions

By Jeff Haines ’84 and Heidi Christensen Haines ’85
Participants on the “Groupie Tour” following the choir

We are on one of the two buses on the “Ole Choir Groupie Tour” following the choir (and our son, Jon Erik ’14) through Norway. The strength of the connection between St. Olaf and Norway and between the choir and the sublime traditional music endures as it has for 100 years.

It is incredibly calming, rewarding and centering to be here. Seeing stoic Norwegian faces shine as the choir sings Norge mit Norge only highlights the abiding connections.

"The Mountains Tower" over Jeff (’84) and Heidi Christensen (’85) Haines with son Jon Erik ('14).

“The mountains tower” behind Jon Erik Haines ’14, Heidi Christensen Haines ’85, and Jeff Haines ’84.

And yet, as Eleanor Roosevelt asked (in her prayer used by Abby Betenis in her wonderful new piece commissioned for the centennial and sung by the choir), we also are seeing a “world made new.”

The current St. Olaf Choir (which includes many students not of Norwegian heritage) interacting with alumni and families, meeting Norwegians after the concerts, and absorbing the Norwegian scenery and culture is clearly creating new worlds for them.

Just as hearing the choir testify on Even when He is Silent and This Little Light gives the rest of us faith in and hope for this next generation of Oles and their new vision for the world.

Um! Yah! Yah!