St. Olaf celebrates ‘Love and Joy’ this Christmas Season at Orchestra Hall
The 2023 St. Olaf Christmas Festival, Love and Joy Come to You, will take place at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis December 1 and 2.
A tradition since 1912, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival is one of the oldest musical celebrations of Christmas in the United States. Led by five conductors, it features more than 500 musicians who are members of the college’s world-renowned choirs and orchestra.
St. Olaf Choir Conductor Anton Armstrong ’78 says the Christmas Festival Artistic Committee developed this year’s theme, Love and Joy Come to You, as a progression and response to recent past Festival themes
“In planning the 2023 St. Olaf Christmas Festival, my colleagues who comprise the Artistic Committee decided we wanted to bring out the joy and celebration that the promise of the birth of the Christ child can bring to the world,” says Armstrong, who serves as the artistic director of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival. “Our more recent themes have tried to bring a musical response of healing and peace as a result of the impact of the COVID pandemic as well as the strife and division present in current country and world. This year we felt that in spite of these continuing issues, we wanted to lift up the love and hope that the world so yearns for today. So our theme this year is Love and Joy Come To You, and we fervently wish that this will be felt by our student musicians and all who will hear the words and music proclaiming this message of love, joy, and hope.”
“Our theme this year is Love and Joy Come To You, and we fervently wish that this will be felt by our student musicians and all who will hear the words and music proclaiming this message of love, joy, and hope.”St. Olaf Choir Conductor Anton Armstrong ’78
Traditionally held on campus in Skoglund Auditorium, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival will be held at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis this year, just like it was in 2022. Orchestra Hall, located on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, is home to the Grammy Award–winning Minnesota Orchestra and is renowned as one of the best concert halls in the country. St. Olaf College is also proud to welcome the 2024 and 2025 Christmas Festivals back to the Hill, where they will once again take place in Skoglund Auditorium. The college then plans to initiate a two-year rotation between the two venues: two years at Orchestra Hall, followed by two years on campus, and so on.
In addition to providing students with the opportunity to perform at Orchestra Hall, St. Olaf will also continue several of the traditions on campus that accompany the Christmas Festival each year.
A traditional Scandinavian buffet dinner will be available by reservation on Friday, December 1, in the King’s Dining Room in Buntrock Commons. The St. Olaf Band will perform during Sunday morning worship at 10:30 a.m. in Boe Chapel. The St. Olaf Handbells will perform in Buntrock Commons following the Sunday morning worship.
A live video stream of this year’s Christmas Festival will also be available free of charge. Viewers can visit the Christmas Festival stream link on Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. CST. The concert will be available to watch on-demand beginning Wednesday, December 13. CDs and digital streaming of this year’s Christmas Festival will be available in early 2024.