Gregory Aune’s Final Farewell, “Song Go Ever On”

Posted on May 4th, 2019 by

May 18 marks the end of an era, as the Jon and Anita Thomsen Young Distinguished Endowed Chair and Conductor of The Gustavus Choir Gregory Aune takes the stage for the last time at 3 p.m. in Christ Chapel.

Aune retires at the end of the academic year after 24 years of service to the college. The performance entitled “Song Go Ever On” features Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (German Requiem) performed by the 150 students of the Gustavus Choir and Choir of Christ Chapel, 50 members of the Gustavus Alumni Choir, and the 60-piece Gustavus Symphony Orchestra. The performance will also feature soloists Melissa Williams and Michael Jorgensen. Jorgensen also retires at the end of the year after 28 years at Gustavus.

Aune chose the Brahms as his “swan song” simply out of his love for the music of Brahms and the text itself. “The message is timely, always,” he says. “In the German Requiem, Brahms chose passages from the Bible that are more about comfort and solace for the living.”

Following the Brahms, Aune has chosen five “Aune favorites” which incorporate 150 alumni choir members who have returned to perform with the Gustavus Choir. The pieces include an arrangement of the classic hymn “Here I Am, Lord”, Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and of course F. Melius Christiansen’s “Praise to the Lord” to close the program.

Aune says the chance to perform these works with so many of his former students is gratifying. “I’m really proud of them and feel honored that I was a small part of their education here. I’d like to think that what they did with me helped mold them or give them tools to apply to their life,” he says.

Over the years Aune has worked with hundreds of students, and while many of them chose other fields like medicine or non-profit work, he hopes that their time in the Gustavus Choir helped shape them as people. “I always tell them, be as good as you can be, work for artistry in your own chosen field and learn the value of community,” he says. “In broad strokes too, I’ve always tried to teach artistry even if they aren’t music majors. Give them a taste of what artistry is so they can enjoy and appreciate it throughout their entire life.”

Tickets for “Song Go Ever On” cost $15 for the general public and are available at gustavustickets.com or by calling 507-933-7520.

 

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