St. Olaf resumes on-campus Christmas Festival
This year’s St. Olaf Christmas Festival, Love Divine, will take place live and in person on the St. Olaf College campus December 3-5.
Safety is a top priority as St. Olaf resumes on-campus performances of this beloved holiday tradition, and the college will be implementing a number of COVID-19 safety protocols for visitors and participants. St. Olaf Broadcast Media Services will also provide a free live video stream of the Sunday, December 5, performance for all those who would like to experience the musical celebration of the season virtually. Minnesota Public Radio will broadcast the same performance.
For those who wish to attend in person, the college will begin offering tickets first to students, parents, employees, and alumni the week of November 8. Remaining tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, November 15.
All visitors attending Christmas Festival events will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entry, and will be required to wear a mask. Seating capacity for the three live performances will also be reduced. These protocols were developed in partnership with the college’s epidemiologist, taking into account a variety of factors, including the conditions at St. Olaf and in our broader community, building ventilation, estimated attendance numbers, and the planned duration of the Christmas Festival program.
All musicians performing in the St. Olaf Christmas Festival are fully vaccinated, and will be tested for COVID-19 three separate times before and during the weekend of the festival, to further ensure maximum safety for our students, conductors, staff, and audience members.
If ticket holders have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they must stay home and not attend the festival. They will be able to request a refund, with no fees or penalties.
First held in 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 student musicians who are members of the college’s world-renowned choirs and orchestra.
This year will mark the last St. Olaf Christmas Festival for St. Olaf Orchestra Conductor Steven Amundson, who will retire this spring after 40 years at the college. St. Olaf will mark this poignant moment by honoring Amundson’s years of service and dedication as he conducts his final Christmas Festival.
The festival features a rich repertoire of classic Advent and Christmas compositions, familiar carols, hymns from around the world, and contemporary pieces from a diverse range of composers and cultures, offering music that both celebrates the Norwegian American history of the college while also highlighting beautiful works from around the globe. It traditionally closes with the hymn “Beautiful Savior.”
Regularly broadcast across the United States on public television and radio, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival has been featured nationally in publications such as TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.
Last year St. Olaf did not host the Christmas Festival as the global pandemic escalated. Instead, Christmas Festival organizers produced All Earth is Hopeful, a virtual concert and music program that showcased music from recent Christmas Festival programs as well as additional material from festival concerts not seen in many years.
Learn more about the St. Olaf Christmas festival at stolafchristmas.com.