by Daniel Hathaway
Founded in 1912 in Northfield, Minnesota by F. Melius Christiansen, the St. Olaf Choir began its tradition of East Coast Tours in 1920. Its inaugural itinerary included a concert in Cleveland that inspired Plain Dealer critic James Rogers to write on May 4 of that year, “If there is such a thing as a virtuoso chorus, we have it here.”
On Monday, February 3 at 7:30 pm, Anton Armstrong will lead the 75-voice ensemble in a concert at Severance Hall, a venue which was still in the planning stages in 1920. The performance is the sixth stop on the Choir’s 100th winter tour, which will take the singers to thirteen cities in fourteen days.
“This will be my fourth or fifth appearance with the Choir at Severance, and I love that hall,” Armstrong said in a recent telephone conversation from Northfield. “After our tours I always ask the singers which spaces were best and easiest to sing in, and for the last two tours Severance has eclipsed all the others. I’m a New Yorker, and when I step onstage at Carnegie Hall, I close my eyes and imagine Leontyne Price, or Ella Fitzgerald, or The Beatles. In Cleveland, I’m delighted to add our weave to a great tapestry that includes George Szell and Robert Shaw.” [Read more…]