Christmas Festival: A St. Olaf Tradition
There aren’t many events that survive for more than a century. The St. Olaf Christmas Festival, first offered in 1912, has more than survived – it has thrived. The 102nd performance – this year titled The World Renewed with Love Divine – will be staged this coming weekend (December 4-7), with nearly 1,000 student singers and musicians. It is one of St. Olaf’s signature traditions and one of the finest holiday musical events of the season.
It is truly remarkable, given the quality of the music, how few of the student musicians are music majors. One of the cardinal virtues of a liberal arts education is the broad curiosity it inspires and sustains. This virtue is on full display when we listen to the artistry of biologists and economists, philosophers and historians, theologians and thespians who have a deep love of music. They devote themselves to the practice necessary to master their instruments, and they commit long hours to intense rehearsals at one of the busiest times of the semester.
The same liberal arts sensibility infuses the music faculty who plan the program, write and arrange the music, and conduct with flair. They are acutely aware of the history of the music they perform, the history of the Christmas Festival in the life of the college, and the gift it represents to everyone who experiences Christmas Fest.
This is a good time to thank all of the students and faculty who offer us this gift. And it’s a good time to invite everyone to enjoy the performance, whether live on campus or through the national television and radio broadcasts.
The world is, for at least two hours in early December, indeed renewed with love divine.
If you can’t join us…
Click here for information about the live stream on December 7th, and for information about national radio and television broadcasts.
American Public Media will offer music from this year’s Festival over classical music stations across the country. Check your local listings for broadcasts in your area.
Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir will again be broadcast on the stations of the PBS system. Check your local public television schedule broadcasts in your area.