he CFL stage turned green again as the Cathedral Choir took to the bleachers to perform their Homecoming concert, “Going on Our Way,” marking the end of their 2022 tour. The “Green Machine” performed on Wednesday evening April 27 after filming the previous weekend.
Starting Thursday, April 21, the Cathedral Choir set off on their annual tour, traveling through Minnesota and Iowa. Destinations included Kenyon, St. Peter, Pine City, Cambridge and Plymouth in Minnesota, as well as Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Cathedral Choir is composed of second grade upper and lower voices. Because the choir members are sophomores, this weekend marked their first tour with Luther choirs, as the COVID-19 pandemic has not permitted touring this past academic year. Students had the opportunity to take on new responsibilities by learning the basics of touring with a Luther ensemble. Jaime Bizarri (’24) spoke a bit about the role of the students in organizing the tour.
“The tour couldn’t go smoothly if the whole choir wasn’t involved,” Bizarri said. “We had a baggage team, we had hospitality, we had a robe team and everyone had a position to make things run more smoothly and efficiently. That it all came together for a common purpose was truly moving.
The students learned a lot about professionalism and what it means to perform on the road, adapting to different places. Additionally, it was an opportunity for the choir members to connect with each other as an ensemble and as peers. Morgan Coy (’24) explained how she felt the band had become more connected, comparing it to her recent touring experience with Concert Band.
“I loved how intimate it was,” Coy said. “We were all on the same bus, we were always doing something together, and that really made the band connect more. It’s definitely something I will remember forever.
The songs for the entire choir, selected by Cathedral Choir Director and Assistant Professor of Music Mark Potvin (’01), featured a variety of styles, eras, composers, arrangers and lyricists. While the pieces were each very different, the ensemble followed a common theme, described in the Homecoming Concert program notes. On the show, Potvin shared a story that led him to the theme “Continue our way”. The phrase stems from a sung blessing that is meaningful to him and his wife. Potvin shared that the blessing had been brought to his attention during the pandemic.
The diverse program featured songs that tackled big issues. One track, “How Dare You,” had lyrics taken from speeches by climate activist Greta Thunberg. The song pleads for immediate climate action, calling on listeners to act before it’s too late for our earth and its ecosystems. Potvin shared a bit about this particular piece, which was originally meant to be sung on the canceled 2020 Cathedral tour.
“What’s interesting is that the messages in this piece are even more relevant – and urgent! — two years later,” Potvin said. “The first half is overwhelming. “Entire ecosystems are collapsing”, and “you are always filling your pockets”, indeed. But, ‘I still believe that you love me [and that] you care,” are powerful words as we strive to call on people to engage in the very real and increasingly desperate fight against climate change.
Although this piece was the one Potvin considered the most impactful, the variety of the program allowed students to connect with one of many pieces. Bizarri spoke about what the homecoming concert and the piece “Threads of Joy” meant to them as a featured soloist.
“[Wednesday’s] the gig left me speechless, honestly,” Bizarri said. “A special moment for me was definitely at the end of ‘Threads Of Joy’, because [the concert] It was the last time I could sing this solo. It’s probably my favorite piece of all time, and it meant a lot to my mom and me too. To be able to leave everything there was a very good feeling.
Cathedral Choir ended its year with this tour and its reunion concert. If students are interested in getting involved in the Lutherchoir ensembles, they can contact Potvin at [email protected] Students can also be on the lookout for information on auditions, which will take place in August 2022.