Five Spring Grove students participated in this year’s Dorian Choir Festival, including, from left, Kody Olerud, Kaitlin Bratland, Elizabeth Johnson, Samantha Boyd and Jaymie Lenning. PHOTO: KAREN FRIED/SPRING GROVE HERALD<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Five Spring Grove students participated in this year’s Dorian Choir Festival, including, from left, Kody Olerud, Kaitlin Bratland, Elizabeth Johnson, Samantha Boyd and Jaymie Lenning. PHOTO: KAREN FRIED/SPRING GROVE HERALD



Each year, high school students from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin have the honor of participating in the Dorian Music Festivals at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Students must first be nominated by their teachers, and then selected by Luther faculty.

In January, the following Spring Grove students participated in the Dorian Choir Festival: Samantha Boyd, Kaitlin Bratland Elizabeth Johnson, Jayme Lenning and Kody Olerud.

In March, the following students participated in the Dorian Band Festival: Sam Bratland, Kjersten Borreson, Jenna Bohr, Elizabeth Johnson, Harrison Speltz, Jake Lenning, Matt Mendez, Smantha Boyd and Elliott Cross.

Spring Grove choir teacher Kristi Anderson said, "It's always a lot of fun." Her choir students had the opportunity to sing with 1,300 other top students from all over the upper Midwest.

The Festival Choir sang the following pieces: "He'll Make a Way," by Byron J. Smith, "Domine File Unigenite," by Vivaldi, "In the Night We Shall Go On," by Imant Raminsh, "Shout for Joy," by Dan Davison (men's choir) and "Two Strings but One Voice," by B. Randall Stroope.

"It's always a pretty big thing for the students to hear all 1,300 students singing together," said Anderson.

Anderson said, "Generally a school can bring a quartet." But, this year five students from Spring Grove were accepted into the festival. Students must be juniors and seniors to participate in the choir festival.

Anderson submitted six nominations, and five were selected by the college. According to Anderson, "The goal of the college is to make a balanced choir, so you can hear both the men and the women." Spring Grove has a strong tradition in choir for both men and women, and has a history of representation at this select, elite event for students.

Choir students attend concerts by the Luther College Choirs, learn new vocal techniques and bring them back to share with their classmates.

Of the Dorian Band Festival, Spring Grove band director Andra Browlee said, "It's always awesome. Students get to play in two different bands, with 250 students each, all the top of the top students." She said, "It re-motivates students to keep practicing."

The Dorian Band Festival takes mostly juniors and seniors, but many of the Spring Grove students have participated since they were freshmen.

Because all of the musicians at the festival are selected for their higher-level skills, Brownlee said they are able to work on "finer musical facts, instead of just the basics." Participant Jenna Bohr said, "The fact that everyone wants to be there and wants to play makes it sound awesome the first time you play it."

Brownlee said the festival is also beneficial to directors, as they have the opportunity to discuss their experiences and reconnect.