St. Olaf College | News

Two alumni and family groups join St. Olaf Choir and St. Olaf Orchestra in Norway

When St. Olaf College music ensembles tour internationally, alumni and parents often want to travel alongside them.

That’s where the college’s Alumni & Family Travel program comes in.

This June, as the St. Olaf Choir and St. Olaf Orchestra perform throughout Norway, Alumni & Family Travel is sponsoring two programs that enable alumni, parents, and friends of the college to join the experience.

Both travel programs start in Bergen and finish in Trondheim, and diverge to different points in between. Both will take in two joint St. Olaf Choir and St. Olaf Orchestra concerts, plus one individual concert from each ensemble. Along the way participants will partake in a variety of activities that are typical of St. Olaf Travel programs, such as guided walking city tours, talks on local history and traditions, local beer or aquavit tastings, and a farm-to-fork meal. St. Olaf President David R. Anderson ’74 and his wife, Priscilla Paton, will even host a book club discussion for their group.

St. Olaf Orchestra Conductor Steve Amundson leads the ensemble in rehearsal at Hamar Cathedral in 2005. Photo courtesy of Karen Hansen Gurstelle ’77.

The Norway programs have attracted 57 participants: a mix of alumni, parents, and friends of St. Olaf. The last time St. Olaf sent more than one alumni and family group alongside a music ensemble was when the St. Olaf Band, Choir, and Orchestra toured Norway in 2005. There were three companion groups that year.

In addition to offering more than 120 international or domestic off-campus study programs for current students, St. Olaf also offers about 12 programs per year to alumni, families, and friends. These Alumni & Family Travel programs — led by current and retired faculty and hosted by campus leaders — enable Oles to explore and learn in new corners of the world.

Members of the the alumni and family group mingle with St. Olaf Orchestra members in Bergen on the 2005 tour. Photo courtesy of Karen Hansen Gurstelle ’77.

The St. Olaf Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra rich in artistry and tradition and known for its enthusiastic and passionate performances. Founded in 1906 by F. Melius Christiansen, the 92-member ensemble has been heralded as one of the best collegiate orchestras in the country, and received the 2013 American Prize in Orchestral Performance among colleges and universities.

The St. Olaf Choir, comprised of 75 mixed voices, is the premier a cappella choir in the United States. For over a century, the choir has set a standard of choral excellence and remained at the forefront of choral artistry. The ensemble’s annual tour brings its artistry and message to thousands of people across the nation and around the world.

To be a part of the Ole travel community, browse all Alumni & Family Travel destinations on the program page.