Ringing in the season through song

Mark Stover (left) conducts St. Olaf students in a joyous pop-up performance that provided onlookers with a preview of this year’s Christmas Festival.

More than 100 St. Olaf College singers descended on Southdale Center Sunday for a joyous pop-up performance that provided onlookers with a preview of this year’s St. Olaf Christmas Festival.

Conducted by music faculty member Mark Stover, the students sang a mashup of Oba Se Je (Here Comes the King) and Joy to the World while hundreds of people looked on. Many said the performance offered a much-needed moment of beauty and grace in their lives as they anticipated the holiday season. Watch the performance below.

“Our desire is share our joy and a message of faith, hope, and unity through music, especially in times like these where the news headlines and twitter feeds can so overwhelm our world with negativity and division,” Stover says.

Conductor Mark Stover leads St. Olaf students through Southdale Center as they begin their pop-up performance.

The 2017 St. Olaf Christmas Festival will run Thursday, November 30, to Sunday, December 3. There are still a few tickets remaining, and they are available for purchase online. St. Olaf will present a live video stream of the 2017 St. Olaf Christmas Festival on Sunday, December 3, at 3 p.m., and downloadable audio and video files are also available. Find all that and more at the Christmas Festival website.

The theme of this year’s Christmas Festival, “Ris’n with Healing in His Wings,” aims to serve as a balm of healing in our broken world inspired by the light and life to all Christ brings this Advent Season.

First held in 1912, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival is one of the oldest musical celebrations of Christmas in the United States. It features more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.

The festival features a rich repertoire of classic Advent and Christmas compositions, familiar carols, hymns from around the world, and contemporary pieces, including those from non-traditional composers and cultures. It traditionally closes with the hymn Beautiful Savior.