Baraboo, Luther choirs combine for concert

April 5, 2019

Singers from Baraboo High School and Luther College will break bread together before Saturday’s combined concert. They won’t be the only ones nourished that night, as Luther conductor Mark Potvin promises the audience a heaping helping of musical soul food.

“It’ll stretch you and it’ll feed you,” he said.

A vast array of songs from the Lutheran tradition — along with music from around the world — will be performed at the Al. Ringling Theatre as Luther’s Cathedral Choir and BHS’ Chamber Choir perform at 7:30 p.m.

“The golden walls of the theater will surely ring with the sounds of these talented groups,” said Liz Nevers, the Al. Ringling Theatre Friends’ interim executive director. “Lovers of both contemporary and classic choral music are in for a real treat.”

The Cathedral Choir is a 90-member audition ensemble drawn from the sophomore class at the college in Decorah, Iowa. In addition to performing on campus, the choir is taking a spring tour.

“We are pleased to be headed that way,” Potvin said. “For students, it’s an opportunity to stretch.”

ART Friends connected the Luther Choir with BHS’ Chamber Choir, a 23-member audition ensemble comprised primarily of juniors and seniors. Potvin said performing with high school choirs presents obvious recruiting inroads, but more importantly gets younger students thinking about continuing to sing in college. “It’s an opportunity to show them what their life in music can be like after graduation,” he said. “We’re promoting musical engagement for a lifetime.”

Gunnell said her students will benefit from performing side by side with accomplished collegiate vocalists.

“It is an excellent opportunity for our students to get exposure to college-level choirs and their director,” she said.

The Chamber Choir will open the concert with a set of songs, then step aside before joining the Cathedral Choir for its final two numbers. “It is a great performance opportunity for our students to sing for people who may not have heard us yet by going to our regular scheduled high school concerts,” Gunnell said. “It is also exciting to sing with a large number of collegiate musicians.”

The concert is sponsored by the Greater Sauk Community Foundation, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Sauk County Arts, Humanities and Historic Preservation Program. The Baraboo Music Support Group is planning a dinner for both choirs in BHS’ new cafeteria before the performance.

Soon after, the choirs will start dishing out soul food, singing heavenly music in a majestic venue.

“It should be an amazing night of music,” Gunnell said.