The Wartburg Choir recently performed at the National American Choral Directors Association conference in Minneapolis.


Those who performed with the choir include Brooke Huffaker and Landon Stalzer, both of Story City.


More than 400 choirs from around the world applied to perform at the conference; only 25 were accepted. Of those selected, six were collegiate ensembles.


“This is the most important musical achievement in my career,” said Lee Nelson, Wartburg Choir director and the Patricia R. Zahn Endowed Chair in Choral Conducting. “I couldn’t be more proud of the Wartburg Choir for being chosen. Singing at this convention is the highest honor a choir can receive in the nation.”


Nelson said he has never heard the choir sing as “beautifully and emotionally” as they did in Minnesota.


“There were 15,000 in attendance at the convention, and at the end of our performance there was an instant standing ovation from the most critical crowd we have ever performed in front of,” he said. “I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. The Wartburg Choir ended up being the talk of the conference.”


In addition to its traditational chorale repertoire, the choir also sang “Moonlight Sound Design” by Raimonds Tiguls. Tiguls, who plays the hang, a unique percussion instrument, joined the choir for the performance. The choir also performed “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory. This song included a sign language solo by junior Samantha Hallgren.


The internationally acclaimed Wartburg Choir, based in Waverly, performs sacred music from all historical periods and styles and often features premiere works of contemporary composers, including Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, Stacey V. Gibbs and Connor Koppin. Choir members are chosen by audition and represent most academic disciplines on campus. The choir makes annual concert tours throughout the United States and travels abroad every three years during the college’s one-month May Term. This year, the choir will travel to Germany, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.