Rachel Grippen Storlie (left), Dean Beckman (center), Dr. David Judisch (right)
Rachel Grippen Storlie (left), Dean Beckman (center), Dr. David Judisch (right)
A person’s voice is an instrument that needs training and practice just as a woodwind or brass instrument. Students in grades four through nine have the opportunity for a unique experience to work on their voice skills as well as learn more about traditional Norwegian music and composers.
New at the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center this summer is the Norwegian Ridge Choral Camp. The Choral Camp will run from Aug. 4 through 8. The mission of the camp is “to teach heritage skills that are waning through Norwegian diction training and folk music performance. To teach students how their role in preparing and performing music creates meaning beyond the notes.”
The students will accomplish that by spending time researching the music of Norway through its composers, musicians, and eras of music. The students will be provided with iPads to use for their individual research on a topic that they find of significant interest. The students will use Google Presentation to create a document that they can share with their fellow students as well as those in attendance at the reception. The projects will also be posted on the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center’s website for the world to learn from and enjoy.
“This is a great opportunity to explore music and get a bit of training in Norwegian culture and tradition at the same time,” commented Karen Gray, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center member and Choral Camp committee member.
Also as part of their day at Choral Camp, students will have individual 30-minute voice lessons during which they will be working on musicality, voice quality, diction, phrasing, breathing and more aspects of singing. Each day will also include time together with all of the students working on ensemble songs.
As an ensemble, the Norwegian Ridge Choral Camp attendees will be performing traditional Norwegian songs such as, Per Spelmann, Kjerringa med staven, and Til sangerfest i vest. They will also be performing a piece that was specially commissioned for this choral camp. Norwegian composer, Trond Dahlen, from Oslo, Norway, was asked to adapt a familiar Norwegian song so that it was suitable for voices of children in grades four through nine. He happily agreed to the commission and the end result will be performed at the conclusion of the Choral Camp. The song, “Ola I Gudbrandsdalen” is the song most Norwegians sing at a birthday celebration.
The lessons and ensemble practice will be conducted by three highly talented instructors — Dr. David Judisch, Dean Beckman, and Rachel Grippen Storlie.
Dr. David Judisch is Professor Emeritus of Music and Voice at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. He continues to have an active career as a singer, performer, stage director, conductor and teacher. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa.
Dean Beckman has been the vocal music director at the Decorah Middle School for 26 years. In the past eight years, more than 100 of his vocal students have been accepted into the Iowa All-State Middle School Chorus. Last year he was also granted the honor of conducting the All-State Middle School Boys Chorus.
Rachel Storlie runs Songbirds Music Studio in Spring Grove with 30 voice and piano students of all ages from the Caledonia and Spring Grove area. She is also the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She is passionate about performing music of all genres as well as getting young people excited about making music. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Luther College.
“We are very excited about our instructors,” remarked Bill Fried, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center member and Choral Camp committee. “Dean Beckman has an exceptional way of drawing out talent in his students. Dr. Judisch is phenomenal to watch as he works with students that know a lot about music and Norwegian and those that don’t. Rachel Storlie is an exuberant teacher whose energy spills into her students. We are looking forward to this week and to seeing all that these students accomplish.”
The Norwegian Ridge Choral Camp is daily Aug. 4 though 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Box lunches will be provided each day for the students from local businesses — Doc’s Blue Moose, Ivy Grove Café, Kwik Trip, Red’s Hometown Market, and Solie Services Pizza. Tuition for the Choral Camp is $250 and can be paid online at www.norwegianridge.org/choral-camp, or by mailing a check to Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, PO Box 223, Spring Grove, MN  55974, or by dropping off a check at the Heritage Center. A $25 tuition discount is available if tuition is paid by July 24th.
On Friday evening, Aug. 8, at 5:15 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, the students will be presenting a small concert of the songs they have learned throughout the week at Choral Camp along with special guests from the Luren Singers (the oldest Norwegian-American male chorus in the world). Following the concert, there will be a reception at Immigrant Hall at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center where the students will have their projects on display.
For questions or more information, contact Fried at giantbill1@gmail.com, or (507) 381-9293, or at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, (507) 498-5070.