June 23, 2015
As Gordon MacRae sang in 1955's Oklahoma, "Oh what a beautiful morning!" One would hardly believe we are looking at clear skies and a high of 78 today in the Decorah area when yesterday's booming thunder and crashing lighting delayed our official start to the LSM season. Staff transported instruments and students safely to Jenson-Noble Recital Hall for the first morning of announcements after the storm had passed where students had their first glimpse of "Luther's Morning Prayer." While this piece was only written in 2009, the significance of this work lies in its composer. Carl Schalk was one of Lutheran Summer Music's creators and a member of the team we refer to as the "founding fathers." He, along with Paul Bouman and Carlos Messerli, first unpacked their music bags in 1981 and, as the saying goes, the rest was history. "Luther's Morning Prayer" is not only a reminder of our gratitude and trust in God's strength in our lives, but also a reminder about our roots. In starting our 34th summer together, there is excitement about new music and renewel in community that seems to pick up where we left off last July.
Last night, students had a chance to "ooh" and "aah" over the talents of their faculty members at our first faculty recital. Heather Armstrong led with a 7-movement piece on oboe, musically painting a story between two birds. Hannah Leffler hypnotized her audience via flute in a beautiful duet with Cheryl Lemmons on piano. George Hogan created laughter in the audience with his robust rendition of "Jonah and the Whale," while Cole Burger played a modernized version of a Bach sonatina. Paul Morton, trumpet, and Bruce Atwell, horn, ended the evening with "Point/Counterpoint," which tested every musician in their ability to count rhythm. The talents of the faculty was nothing short of engaging, entertaining, and a wonderful ending to a gloomy, booming morning.
Today is the start of our regularly scheduled programming. Auditions are done. Small ensembles (smambles!) placements are assigned, and students are navigating gracefully around campus at a rapid rate. Giggles and building friendship can be observed throughout the residence halls and commuting between buildings and classes. The LSM 2015 family bonding has begun!