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Published December 04 2010

Concert Review: Light inspires Concordia to sing

The post-concert evaluations of Friday’s Concordia College Christmas Concert were glowing.

Betty Anda, who attended the concert with her husband, Roger, said she was “almost weeping” at points during the concert.

“We never miss it,” she said.

“I thought it was one of the better concerts I’ve been to here,” said Linda Hamann of Fargo.

And her friend Maxine Fagerland added that they’d been coming for 25 years.

“It was terrific,” said Sylvia Johnson of Moorhead.

The concert opened in relative darkness with words expressing both need and hope: “For God alone my soul waits in silence.”

It then proceeded to move from one dead-on, beautifully performed choral piece to the next, beginning with “Watchman Tell us of the Night.” The piece, which was written by the concert’s artistic director, René Clausen, is mournful, yet lovely, creating beautiful and eerie harmonies.

From that somewhat dark number, the concert goes into “Rejoice, Rejoice Believers,” which begins with the words, “Rejoice, rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear.” It’s a signal that this concert that began in darkness has no intention of remaining there.

There were also more-traditional Christmas numbers like “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World” and “Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella.” It is all done so well that you’re tempted to say it’s vocal perfection. That’s what we’ve come to expect from these concerts.

Complementing the music was the gorgeous artwork by Pelican Rapids, Minn., designer Paul Johnson. His digitally created mural blends hues of purple and blue as the darker tones give way to fall-like oranges and golds. Shepherds run and leap for joy, and angel-like figures smile beneath rainbows as Mary and Joseph make their way along an arc of water-like white and blue.

“I liked the colors, especially the oranges and yellows,” said Hamann. “Very celebratory and would invoke joy.”

Fagerland described it as “whimsical.”

The concert drew inspiration from the life and unexpected death of Concordia President Pamela Jolicoeur’s death in June, taking the theme “Out of Darkness + Let Your Light Shine.”

“That was an excellent tribute,” Betty Anda said. “She was an angel among us.”

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734