Local college student travels with Wartburg Choir

The Wartburg Choir debuted two new works by European composers during its recent four-week May Term international tour.

Bjorn Broman, senior, and son of Mark and Cindy Broman of Stanchfield, is a member of the Wartburg Choir.

The 85-voice a cappella choir under the direction of Dr. Lee Nelson, associate professor music, performed in Hungary, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The choir recreated moments from past European tours and honored Dr. Edwin Liemohn, who founded the choir in 1937 and led its first European tour in 1959.

The tour program — “Sing to the Lord a New Song!” — included premieres of two works: “Herr, neige deine Ohren und erhöre mich,” written for the choir by German composer Siegmund Schmidt, and “Sacred Origins” by Norwegian-born, New York City-based composer Ola Gjeilo. Liemohn’s children commissioned Gjello’s work in honor of their father.

The choir also performed songs by composers from areas it visited and American folk songs and spirituals. Tenor Dr. Brian Pfaltzgraff, assistant professor of music, sang “I Lift Mine Eyes Unto the Hills” by African-American composer Adolphus Hailstork and other selections.

The Wartburg Choir is one of the three college music ensembles that tour annually in the United States and internationally every third year. More than 400 students from a variety of majors participate in the Wartburg vocal and instrumental music groups. The college’s music programs receive accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music. Wartburg is the only private college in Iowa to offer a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a major in music therapy. More information about the ensembles is at www.wartburg.edu/music.

Wartburg is a four-year, selective liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, internationally recognized for community engagement. It enrolls 1,775 students from 26 U.S. states and 46 countries. Wartburg operates on a 4-4-1 calendar with May Term completing the year.