APPLETON, WIS. — Paul Nesheim makes his debut as the new director of the Lawrence University Concert Choir and Viking Chorale Friday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The concert also will feature Cantala women’s choir under the direction of Phillip Swan.
Nesheim previously spent 10 years on the faculty of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he directed three choirs and a led a voice studio. He replaced long-time choir director Rick Bjella, who left at the end of the last academic year to join the music program at Texas Tech University.
The season-opening concert for the Lawrence choir program will highlight works by Felix Mendelssohn in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth, including the sacred motet “Heilig,” “There Shall a Star from Jacob Come Forth” and “Lift Thine Eyes.”
As a newcomer to the program, Nesheim said the idea of conducting a concert just three weeks into the rehearsal schedule appeared initially daunting, but excitement has since replaced anxiety.
“I am thrilled and honored to be teaching at Lawrence this year and to be working side by side with a wonderful musician and good friend, Phillip Swan,” said Nesheim. “Lawrence has such an outstanding reputation and after just the brief time I’ve had so far with these exceptionally bright, talented, determined and enthusiastic students, I have no trouble seeing why. I am confident our audience will be inspired by the work of these impressive student musicians.”
The concert also will feature the spiritual, “Ain’t Got Time to Die” by the Viking Chorale and Ben Allaway’s “Freedom Come,” a concert-closing piece performed by the Concert Choir written in the style of a South African freedom song. Works by J.S. Bach, Claude Debussy, Gwyneth Walker and Ramona Luengen also will be performed.
The concert will be webcast beginning with a pre-concert program at 7:30 p.m. at www.lawrence.edu/conservatory/webcasts/.