Peter Nygaard ’61 joined the Concordia faculty in 1970 as professor of organ and chapel organist.
After growing up in Enderlin, N.D., Nygaard became a Cobber in the fall of 1957 when the music department was housed in Old Music Hall. It was that same fall that Moorhead’s Trinity Lutheran Church installed the pipe organ that would catch Nygaard’s eye and, four years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in organ and public school music.
Prior to earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in music from the University of Minnesota, he took his first public school position at New York Mills, Minn. He taught an additional two years in Casselton, N.D., and served as cathedral organist at Gethsemane Cathedral, Fargo, N.D.
Concordia organist Ruth Berge recruited him to join the music department faculty in 1970 when the studio had an excess of 60 students and she needed help providing lessons.
For many of his 42 years on campus, he has served as chapel organist at the college. He was also organist at First Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran during his tenure at the college where generations of parishioners experienced his artistry.
As a teacher, he consistently modeled the excellence that has inspired many of his students to acquire graduate degrees in prestigious institutions and to distinguish themselves professionally. Many of his students speak in glowing terms of his mentoring and his sparkling wit.
“As an accompanist, he has been the 'go-to' person for 40 years. He made accompanying look so easy, that one might somehow think that it is not so difficult to walk out on stage in one program after another, several times each week,” says Dr. Robert Chabora, chair and professor of music. “His service and achievements have been remarkable.”