Authors on Concordia Campus for National Book Award Event

Concordia College hosted the ninth annual National Book Awards at Concordia on March 27. Featured authors were National Book Award finalists Rachel Kushner and Wendy Lower.

Kushner, the 2013 National Book Award finalist for fiction, and Lower, 2013 National Book Award finalist for nonfiction, will participate in the featured Readings and Conversation hosted by NPR’s Lynn Neary. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Centrum with a book signing to follow.

Kushner was a finalist for her book “The Flamethrowers,” an exploration of the life of a young female artist and the darker connections between art, artifice and politics. Kushner’s debut novel, “Telex from Cuba,” was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times best-seller and Notable Book.  She is a 2013 Guggenheim fellow.

Lower was a finalist for her nonfiction book “Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields,” which provides a chilling account of female brutality by German women during World War II and a look at the nature of evil. Lower is the John K. Roth Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College and a research associate at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

The event was hosted by Lynn Neary, a National Public Radio arts correspondent and a frequent guest host on “Morning Edition,” “Weekend Edition” and “Talk of the Nation.”

Earlier in the day, Kushner and Lower spoke at a luncheon in honor of first-year Concordia students who demonstrated academic excellence in writing papers for their Inquiry Seminars.

“Excellence is taking what has been done and going beyond that. It means getting to the bottom of things and understanding them. In academia, excellence is a sacred word that has power. It is more than making a good effort. We know excellence when we see it because it is so rare,” Lower said.

Concordia Theatre Announces 2014-15 Season

Concordia Theatre announced its 2014-15 season March 10 at a reveal party. Next season will boast three series productions, two musicals and a symposium staged reading.

A staged reading of “Heroes and Saints” by Cherrie Moraga will be performed Sept. 15 as part of the 2014 Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium, “Sustainability: Local Action | Global Impact.”

The full season begins with a “Night of Naturalism” (Oct. 2-5), an evening of two one-act plays – “On the High Road” by Anton Chekhov and “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg; mainstage productions include “The Metal Children” by Adam Rapp (Feb.  12-15) and “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward (April 16-19).

There will be two musicals performed this year, a first for Concordia, with one mainstage musical in the fall and one staged concert in the spring. “Les Misérables” by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, will be performed Nov. 13-22. A one-night staged concert of “Songs for a New World” by Jason Robert Brow will be performed April 27.

Watch the video announcement on YouTube. 
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The Concordia Choir Tour 2014

The Concordia Choir will end their 2014 National Tour of the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with a home concert on Sunday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. in Trinity Lutheran Church. Free admission.

René Clausen conducts the 79-voice a cappella choir in several spirituals and hymns plus some new dramatic new arrangements with Excelsior! instrumental trio.

Follow the The Concordia Choir 2014 via Storify

BREWing Good: Concordia Spring Break 2014

Exploring interpersonal communication in London, partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Texas, studying economic sustainability in Florida and learning about justice in Mexico are just a few of the ways hundreds of Cobbers are broadening their global perspective and becoming responsibly engaged in the world (BREW) during spring break.

Follow their experiences around the world via Storify. 

Concordia Student Body President Receives Human Relations Award

Levi Bachmeier ’14, West Fargo, N.D., received the City of Fargo Human Relations Youth Award at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Fargo Theatre.


“I am unbelievably humbled,” he says. “As a lifelong member of the F-M region, getting involved in the wider community is just one way of giving back to the wonderful people and special place that has given me so much.”
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker presented the award to Bachmeier on Jan. 20 for making outstanding contributions to the City of Fargo in the area of human relations.
A social studies education major, Bachmeier has worked with youth in many capacities including serving as an adviser to the successful Fill The Dome project, a youth-led food drive in the Fargo-Moorhead area. He recently finished his student teaching at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo. At Concordia, he is president of the Student Government Association and a captain of the men’s track and field team.
“You don’t need to cross an ocean to make a difference; it’s easy to forget we all have the ability to influence the affairs of the world in our backyard,” Bachmeier says. “While it may be cold here from time to time, there’s no place I’d rather call home.”

Remembering JFK

As the country remembers the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death, we share the stories of two Concordia alumni connected to this historic event.

Clint Hill ’54 is a former Secret Service agent who was in the motorcade in Dallas on that day.

John Tunheim ’75 chaired the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.

Read and view their stories

Concordia alumni John Tunheim and Clint Hill

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Sustainability Takes Centerstage in Concordia’s “Urinetown” Production

For cast members in Concordia’s production of “Urinetown,” it’s impossible to not think about sustainability and water consumption issues.
“The show gives a very poignant, clear, and thought-provoking message that if we as a society don’t do something to change our over-consuming ways, this humorous, yet tragic world portrayed in ‘Urinetown’ is inevitably our not-so-distant future,” says assistant director Hannah Wehlage ’14, Lakeville, Minn.
In the musical, a 20-year drought brings the end of private restrooms and the rise of Urine Good Company. Fueled by greed, UGC forces people to pay to use toilets. Failure to pay lands full-bladdered souls into the arms of the police force and the depths of the feared Urinetown.
A dark comedy, its themes are serious.
This is one reason Concordia Theatre and the theatre honor society are raising funds for River Keepers of Fargo after each performance. River Keepers is an organization that works to preserve the local Red River.
Tonight (Nov. 21) there also will be a panel discussion led by campus sustainability leaders and director Dr. Jennifer Thomas. They will explore how the show’s themes connect to modern society. The discussion begins after the 8 p.m. performance.
“‘Urinetown’ reminds us that our actions have consequences not only on those around us but also on the world that sustains us,” Thomas says. “Perhaps we won’t be as unfortunate. Or, like the people of ‘Urinetown,’ we will end up coughing, gasping and searching for the river much too late.”

Concordia Percussion Ensemble to Perform at National Event

Concordia musicians will be in the international spotlight this week, as the Concordia Percussion Ensemble performs at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
The ensemble, directed by Dr. David P. Eyler, will present the “New Literature for Percussion Ensemble” at PASIC, which is held in Indianapolis.
This is the first time the percussion ensemble has been invited to perform at the international convention and the first opportunity most Concordia students have had to experience this event.
“Being selected is a remarkable achievement for the percussion program. Professor David Eyler has established a program with a truly national reputation,” says Dr. John Roberts, chair of the music department.
The purpose of Concordia’s presentation is to showcase new percussion ensemble music available. Eyler and the Concordia musicians selected literature representing original works and arrangements for young ensembles and challenging compositions for advanced university groups.
PASIC has been an annual event for more than 40 years, providing educational and performance opportunities to thousands of percussionists from all around the world. Last year more than 6,000 percussion enthusiasts attended the convention.

Seeing the World Through the Eyes of Others

Concordia students and children from a Soweto orphanage

Volunteering at a Lutheran AIDS ministry in Soweto, South Africa, gave a group of Concordia students a personal view into global challenges.

The 23 students participated in a religion, sociology and global studies summer school led by Dr. Nick Ellig, Dr. Elna Solvang and Dr. Jan Pranger.

“Our goal was to introduce our students to a multiracial, multiethnic society,” says Pranger. “South Africa is a microcosm of the social, economic and environmental issues that our global community faces today. We gained personal experiences from people directly affected by racism, poverty and injustice.”

Students spent mornings in class, then met with local experts or did volunteer work in the afternoons.

Pranger’s class focused on the religious response to the struggle against apartheid, the process of reconciliation and the building of a democratic post-apartheid state that is racked by economic inequality and the world’s highest infection rate of HIV and AIDS.

“South African churches that led the movement against apartheid are now in the middle of the AIDS fight,” Pranger says.

“The spread of HIV/AIDS is one of the legacies of apartheid, and churches realize they must practice a theology of compassion instead of retribution,” he says.

At a Soweto orphanage for children of AIDS victims, one group of students led activities at an after-school program that included cooking, tutoring and playing with children of various ages, while another group accompanied healthcare workers on home visits.

“Our time together gave us a glimpse into the struggles and joys of their everyday lives,” says Rebecca Asheim ’15, West Fargo, N.D., about the school children she met. “We learned so much more from them than we were able to teach them.”

Those experiences brought global issues to a personal level.

“By being with people nearly their own age, our students began to see the world through the eyes of others,” Pranger says. “Our hope is that our students will discover passions and talents that will have them continue to help others in less fortunate situations.”

Ogre Achiever: Shrek Makeup Time-lapse

Heather Hurner ’14, Moorhead, Minn., is a Psychology major with vast interests, including theatre. This summer, she played an integral role in putting together Shrek the Musical at Trollwood Performing Arts School.

What exactly do you do at Trollwood?
I am the hair and makeup designer for the main stage musical, Shrek, and in June, I taught a stage makeup class.

How long have you been involved in Trollwood?
This is my 8th summer involved with Trollwood, but it’s my third summer working there. I also designed hair and makeup for Legally Blonde (2012) and Music Man (2013).

How much work did you put into this musical?
Any hair that’s seen during the music is synthetic. No one’s real hair is ever showing. There are over 80 wigs in the show, specialty makeup, and prosthetic pieces, so there’s a lot going on! I also got to put together the Pinocchio nose, which grows on stage.

What was your favorite part of designing for Shrek?
I liked the fantasy aspect, because that was something totally new for me. In Legally Blonde and Music Man, there weren’t those fantasy creatures and that opportunity to be so artistic and creative.

How long does it take to get Shrek prepared each night?
It averages about 2 hours for the prosthetic application and makeup application.

Have you ever been involved with theatre at Concordia?
Yes. I was on costume run crew and hair and makeup crew for both Grease and Into the Woods.

What have you taken from this experience?
I’ve learned a lot of new techniques, like the prosthetic application. I’ve also learned how to manage such a large show, and how to make sure it runs smoothly.

Is this something you’d like to pursue after you graduate?
It’s a thought I’ve toyed around with – it’s not something I’ve entirely ruled out. At this current moment, Trollwood is a good way for me to be involved in something that I love in the summer, and still be able to focus on my academics during the school year.