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Devotion: An Orchestra Kid Stumbles into a Choir

Colleen Cook, an alto in the National Lutheran Choir, shared this devotion prior to rehearsal on April 19, 2016. She connects the singing she was required to do at St. Olaf with the singing she had done all her life. It's a Minnesota tradition!

I’m standing before you today as an orchestra kid. This Minnesota choral tradition we’re celebrating? Yeah, I had no idea how big of a deal it was, or that it was a deal at all, until maybe five years ago. I went to St. Olaf because I liked the food, it looked like Hogwarts, and the orchestra director was nice to me. Someone mentioned St. Olaf’s Christmas Fest to me, and I thought, “Aw, cute! I love Christmas concerts!” I was totally blindsided by the approximately twelve million hours of rehearsal. I still get Larry Fleming and Kenneth Jennings mixed up in my head on occasion. My first major interaction with Lutherans at all was going to St. Olaf and being moderately aware of the people around me.

Devotion: A Tool in the Hand

National Lutheran Choir alto section member, Jenny Kelley, gave this devotion prior to rehearsal on April 12, 2016. It seems fitting to share after this past weekend, filled with memories of the beginnings of the choir and the man with the vision, Larry Fleming.

As a music major at Augsburg College, I studied conducting with Larry Fleming, the founder of The National Lutheran Choir. Though I found him a bit intimidating while singing with the Augsburg Choir, as a teacher he was very mentoring, guiding us through the skills it takes to be a good choir conductor. While I am not as gifted as Larry, Dave Cherwein, or the great conductors who lead our NLC Tune-ups, I became a competent conductor and went on to lead children’s choirs at various churches. Whenever I would work with the choir kids, I would hear Larry’s voice and feel him in my hands, and his teaching stayed with me. 

Devotion: Holy One

This devotion was given by NLC tenor, Jonathan Flak, prior to the March 8, 2016 rehearsal.
 
Holy One, untamed by the names I give you.
 
This is the opening line of a prayer posted on our church bulletin board by Roger, a member of my church.  In that honest admission he names a common human failing that goes back to the Garden of Eden:  to tame and manage God, to put God in a box, to create God in image of our choice.  

National Lutheran Choir Announces Reformation Commission

Major work commissioned from Norwegian composer, Kim André Arnesen
 
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 1, 2016 – The National Lutheran Choir (NLC) – www.nlca.com - announces the commission of a major choral-instrumental work, “Holy Spirit Mass,” to receive its world premiere in October 2017. Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen has been commissioned to write this significant new work in commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
 
The new work, titled “Holy Spirit Mass,” will be scored for SATB chorus and 16 instruments and will have an anticipated duration of 35-45 minutes.

Devotion: Inside Out

This devotion was given by NLC soprano, Katherine Castille, prior to our tour concert in Ames, IA on February 20, 2016. Katherine takes a look at an emotion we all feel but are often too hesitant to talk about, especially when it has to do with God.
 
This is a bulletin from St Philip the Deacon's Ash Wednesday Lenten service. It says that for the 5 weeks of Lent, they'll explore the bible's emotions. Guess what the emotions are... sadness, fear, joy, disgust, and anger. Guys ... We're back to Inside Out. We've talked about joy and sadness and fear. That they each have a purpose, and that they are parts of our whole humanness.

Devotion: Just Do It

Where does it begin – making a decision? Today's devotion comes from bass section member, Dave Michel. Dave shared this devotion prior to the choir's performance in Peoria, IL on February 19, 2016.

You know the feeling when you wake up and it’s cold outside, but it’s warm in bed and you’re really comfy? Maybe it’s a day when you don’t have any time pressures and there’s nothing demanding that you get up right away. When do you get up? How do you decide when to get up? Under the covers, not wanting to move (maybe for a long time), and then, suddenly, you’re up. What makes you come to that decision to get up at that particular time? For that matter, what really is a decision, anyway?

Devotion: Left Brain vs. Right Brain

This devotion comes from Sara Langworthy, a soprano in the National Lutheran Choir. Sara shared this devotion prior to the choir's first tour performance on February 18, 2016 in Mequon, WI. In this somewhat "scientific" devotion, Sara describes what it physically and mentally takes to sing and, in doing so, how meaningful connections are made across time and space. 

It’s come time for me to debunk a myth about the human brain…again. You didn’t know you were coming to a neuroanatomy lecture today, but, as we’re on a college campus, it seems appropriate.

I’m sorry to shatter your illusions, but the whole right brain vs left brain distinction? IT IS NOT A THING.

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