Frequently Asked Questions

“Is the choir composed only of St. Olaf students?”

Yes, all of the current members of the choir are students. However, it was not always this way. The St. Olaf Choir began as a church choir at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield. Hence, the membership was quite mixed. Since the 1920s, choir membership has been exclusively students at St. Olaf College with the exception of Paul G. Schmidt, the choir’s first manager who continued to sing with the choir until his retirement in 1948, and Gertrude Boe Overby, soprano soloist with the choir from 1922 until 1941.

“What is the St. Olaf Choir’s signature piece?”

Beautiful Savior is the St. Olaf Choir’s signature piece. It forms a timeless link between four conductors and many generations of choir members, alumni, and audience members. The tune is originally a Silesian folk tune, arranged by F. Melius Christiansen and later revised by his son, Olaf C. Christiansen. The original German text is taken from the Münster Gesangbuch and sung in a translation by Joseph A. Seiss.

“What are the complete words to Beautiful Savior?”

The only 2 verses that are sung in the F. Melius Christiansen arrangement are numbers 2 and 4. However, there are 4 verses in the original hymn text.

  1. Beautiful Savior, King of Creation,
    Son of God and Son of Man;
    Truly I’d love thee, Truly I’d serve thee
    Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.
  2. Fair are the meadows,
    Fairer the woodlands,
    Robed in flow’rs of blooming spring;
    Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
    He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.
  3. Fair is the sunshine, Fair is the moonlight,
    Bright the sparkling stars on high;
    Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
    Than all the angels in the sky.
  4. Beautiful Savior! Lord of the Nations!
    Son of God and Son of Man!
    Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
    Now and forever more be thine!

“How can I get tickets for the Christmas Festival?”

Unfortunately seats to Christmas Festival are limited. Those who are unable to attend in person can enjoy live or archived broadcasts of the festival.