Concordia Christmas Concert – Time lapse edition

Over 450 student and faculty performers and staff collaborate to create the Moorhead Christmas Concerts. During the 86-year history of the Concordia Christmas Concerts, well over one million audience members have experienced the concert.

Check out the time lapse of our 86th annual Concordia Christmas Concert, “All Are Welcome.”

Learn More

  • Shop at the Christmas Concert Store including CDs and DVDs of past concerts
  • Read about the Christmas Concert’s history
  • View the Concordia Christmas Concert radio and TV broadcast schedule

An Early Start in Research

John Stelter '15John Stelter ’15, Plymouth, Minn., dove into research before he even set foot in his first class.

It was Orientation week of Stelter’s freshman year. The sociology department was holding a gathering for potential majors where they were asked to discuss poverty.

Dr. Andrew Lindner, assistant professor of sociology, took note of Stelter’s intelligent answers and asked him to join his research team. Stelter went to his first research meeting that week.

Stelter is double majoring in political science and sociology and is on track to graduate in three years. He has published a paper and presented on an international stage. He’s also the co-captain of the ultimate Frisbee team. And he’s only a sophomore.

A little more than a year after their first meeting, Stelter and Lindner presented their research at an international conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They studied what factors were necessary for a climate of sustainability at small liberal arts colleges. Stelter was the only undergraduate presenter.

“With so many established scholars, it was intense, especially during the Q-and-A,” he says.

In spite of his undergraduate status, Stelter presented with poise, Lindner says. He entrusted the second-year student with a large chunk of the research, including disseminating the survey and putting together a literature review.

Lindner sees involving younger students as a wise investment. By the time first-year research students reach their senior year, they are true collaborators.

“By starting early, students learn to produce higher levels of research,” Lindner says, “and we can empower students with the tools they need to enter the job market at higher levels and be better citizens.”

Juggling Success

For the father-daughter team of Bill and Tricia Sorensen ’13 of Bismarck, N. D., this is a story of the apple not falling far from the tree with a good measure of ‘whatever you can do, I can do better.’

Bill suited up as a guard-forward for Sonny Gulvig’s Cobber men’s basketball teams from 1971-73. He was an outside shooter, but as they say, these days basketball is played indoors.

“I didn’t play much, but I learned a lot of lessons about life from Sonny. His players loved him,” says Bill.

Tricia is a MIAC All-Conference forward, leads the Cobber women in scoring, rebounds and steals, and is team captain. In contrast to her dad, she has a great inside game and doesn’t spend much time riding the pine.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” says Tricia. “I love everything about Cobber basketball.”

After graduating, Bill coached junior varsity basketball for a season and worked in admissions for five years, recruiting students to Concordia.

Tricia works in the office of Student Success and Retention, helping keep students at Concordia.

And on summer weekends, Bill and Tricia dazzle audiences in the western North Dakota tourist town of Medora with their own magic, mirth and juggling show.

Bill began learning magic tricks and juggling as a teenager, and has entertained audiences in nearly all-50 states. He’s done the 4M Review in Medora for 29 years and still enjoys every show.

Tricia literally grew up in Medora watching her dad’s juggling and magic act, thinking it was no big deal. She took up juggling on her own, and now teaches the old guy new tricks to use in their act.

“She picks things up quickly,” quips Bill.

Tricia is the youngest of Bill’s four daughters. She was inspired by an older sister who played high school basketball, so Tricia began shooting buckets in the family driveway at age 6, come rain, snow or shine. She played one-on-one with her dad, and when he noticed she was clanging her shots off the iron in a game, the two of them spent a long Saturday afternoon at the Y correcting her shooting style.

“He showed me how to keep my elbow in,” says Tricia. “By the end of the afternoon I had it down. Now I’m always thinking, ‘elbows in.'”

“We’re all about doing things together,” says Bill.

“Yeah, and all about trying to out do each other,” adds Tricia.

Christmas Concert Tickets Still Available

The Moorhead Christmas Concerts are quickly approaching. The theme for this year’s concert is “All Are Welcome.” Don’t miss your opportunity to take in one of the premiere Christmas productions in the nation.

Concordia Christmas Concert
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Memorial Auditorium

Tickets are available for all performances. Floor chairs are sold out for the 2 p.m. Saturday performance, but upper permanent seating is still available.

Ticket information

Christmas Concert Mural is Bound for Minneapolis

Minneapolis will have a little more Christmas cheer this year. For the first time in seven years, the Concordia Christmas Concert mural will be traveling to the Twin Cities.

Fourteen of the 44 mural panels will make their way east on a semi truck. When the truck arrives at the Minneapolis Convention Center, the stage crew will have less than five hours to hang the panels before rehearsal and two back-to-back performances.

With the change in venue because of construction at Orchestra Hall, the Twin Cities concerts are scheduled prior to the Moorhead performances this year. Twin Cities performances will be on Nov. 29. Moorhead performances will be Dec. 7-9.

The theme that artistic director Dr. René Clausen chose for this year’s concert is “All Are Welcome.”

Since renowned muralist David Hetland passed away in 2006, the mural has stayed in Moorhead. With a new muralist established and a more spacious stage, the time was right to send accompanying art with the music.

“Our Twin Cities network has missed seeing an integral part of the Christmas concert,” says Gordon Moe, associate director of music organizations. “Our hope is that alumni, family and friends will attend the concert and see the beautiful artwork created by new mural artist Paul Johnson.”

Michael Culloton ’98, the new director of three of Concordia’s choirs, used to sing in the concert. Taking in the mural and music together now as a conductor makes the concert even more spectacular for him.

“Seeing the musical and thematic ideas of this year’s concert portrayed on the mural is really special,” he says. “The combination of musical and visual art is what makes Concordia’s Christmas concert stand out as one of the truly great holiday concert events anywhere in the country.”

See performance dates and buy tickets.

Music Faculty Perform Abroad

Concordia’s music faculty are world-class performers. Some of them were invited to tour the globe this summer and fall.

The Excelsior! Trio took Europe by storm. They were the featured ensemble at the 16th annual World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland and the 14th annual Faenza International Sax Art Festival in Faenza, Italy. The trio, composed of Deborah Harris, flute; Dr. Jay Hershberger, piano; and Russell Peterson, saxophone, performed many of Peterson’s original arrangements and compositions. They enjoyed an enthusiastic European reception. Read more about their abroad experience.

Excelsior! Trio member Deborah Harris was a guest artist at the Syrinx Flute Festival in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. She also journeyed to Honduras where she was a guest artist at the Festival de Flauta Traversa.

Dr. Nathaniel Dickey, conductor of The Concordia Symphonic Band and The Cobber Athletic Band, toured Finland for three weeks with Ameriikan Poijat, a Finnish-American septet. The trip was meaningful for Dickey in both musical and familial ways. He enjoyed connecting with Finnish musicians and also with the land of his ancestors. Read Dickey’s reflections on his travels.

Kate Hamilton, associate professor of viola, was a guest artist at the Vivaldi Conservatory of Music in Alessandria, Italy, where she also performed recitals and taught a master class. This fall, she completed a concert tour of China this fall. She played in China’s finest concert hall Qintai Hall as a soloist with the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra. She also gave a solo recital in Beijing, gave a master class at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music and gave volunteer private lessons for a week at the conservatory.

Alumni Teach CSTA Classes for a Day

Katie Hasbargen '95 returns for Alumni Teach DayThe communication studies and theatre art department at Concordia took alumni networking to a new level.

CSTA alumni were invited to come back to campus and teach classes on Oct. 11 and 12.

Alumni from a 20-year span accepted the offer and taught one or two class periods. Each professor found a graduate or two, and worked together on what content would be covered in class that day.

Each class took a different approach: some were primarily sharing of career experiences, some were question-and-answer, some were class discussions and others were lectures.

Dr. Cindy Carver pitched the idea to her colleagues, who were receptive and have really enjoyed the experience.

“And we’ve certainly had a positive response from the alumni. They’ve been glad they were asked to come back,” Carver says. “We think there’s great networking opportunities for our people, too.”

Steph Villella ’11, a proposal coordinator at Ulteig in Fargo, N.D., came back to teach Intro to Communication and Research Methods, both regularly taught by Dr. Aileen Buslig. At the end of the class periods, there was an opportunity for the students to ask Villella questions about her career after college.

“I had a lot of fun being on the other side of the classroom, and I’m grateful Aileen gave me that opportunity,” she says. “Her students seemed engaged and they asked a lot of great questions, so it was a very pleasant experience.”

The Nonverbal Communication class was guest-taught by Katie (Corwin) Hasbargen ’95, who now works as the senior communications manager for Microsoft. She started her class period by explaining her background and career path, and then opened the floor to questions about the nonverbal office life and culture at Microsoft.

“It was so much fun,” Hasbargen says. “It’s great to see the excitement of students and that they’re so engaged in what they are doing and learning.”

Carver says that CSTA hopes to do Alumni Teach Day again next year, and maybe expand it to other departments. She’d love to find alumni from across the state and country who plan to come back for their reunion and are willing to teach a class.

Language Villages Founder Remembered

Dr. Gerhard “Gerry” Haukebo, founder of Concordia Language Villages and a former faculty member at Concordia College, died Sunday.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead. The memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cormorant Lutheran Church in rural Lake Park, Minn.

In 1961, Haukebo envisioned a way to teach language and culture to young people, which eventually grew into the Concordia Language Villages that today provides cultural immersion programming in 15 languages for more than 10,000 language learners of all ages.

While overseeing a school for army dependents in Europe, Haukebo noticed how quickly children could pick up language skills when immersed in the culture for as little as a few days.

Back in the U.S., Haukebo decided to hold a two-week German camp called Waldsee in Minnesota’s North Woods. Seventy-five kids attended that summer, and Concordia Language Villages was born. Within five decades, it has grown from a single, two-week session to year-round opportunities for youth, adults, families and corporations.

Christine Schulze, vice president for Concordia Language Villages, says that Haukebo’s vision was revolutionary in the 1960s, and today it is the standard way of teaching language.

“Gerry had a creative spark in 1961 to infuse language and cultural immersion into a summer camp setting,” Schulze says. “Concordia Language Villages endures today from the vision and determination of one man to create a ‘grand simulation’ that creates the context for transformational learning.”

Haukebo traveled to the Language Villages whenever he could, most recently for International Day in August. His vision to combine language learning with cultural immersion has allowed Concordia Language Villages to continually be ahead of the curve. His in-person presence will be missed, but his legacy will continue to live on, educating people of all ages long into the future.