Playing Soli Deo Gloria
Oct 12, 2012Dr. J. Robert Hanson ’51 has an impressive Concordia résumé. He founded The Concordia Orchestra in 1967 and has been credited with establishing the reputation of The Concordia Orchestra and The Concordia Band. Now he can add a Concordia-commissioned piece to his list.
“Concordia: Soli Deo Gloria” is a fantasia medley on “Concordia Forever,” “Stand Up and Cheer” and “Hymn to Concordia.” Hanson describes it as a “celebration of our school songs.” The Concordia Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Nathaniel Dickey, will perform the piece at the Homecoming banquet.
“Concordia Forever” is probably the least familiar of the tunes. It was commonly sung during Hanson’s Concordia days and has since been adapted (with new lyrics) as the "thank you song" sung by Concordia touring ensembles.
“The melody from ‘Concordia Forever’ is by Herman W. Monson, a longtime professor of music at Concordia, and has long been used since the 1940s as the ‘thank you’ for the wonderful hospitality by sponsors of musical groups on tour,” Hanson says.
Hanson wrote “Concordia: Soli Deo Gloria” thanks to a gift from Dr. Homer and Phyllis (Stenehjem) Rovelstad. Phyllis attended Concordia for two years before transferring.
She wishes she had been able to stay and sing in the choir. The Rovelstads, who live in Grand Forks, N.D., faithfully attend the Concordia Christmas Concert each year and also will attend the premiere performance of “Concordia: Soli Deo Gloria” at the banquet.
The piece will end with the audience singing along to two verses of the “Hymn to Concordia.” Hanson and Dickey hope the piece will continue to be used at future performances where alumni and friends are gathered.
“Now the band has a substantial work to play that showcases the college,” Dickey says.