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Loyal graduate sings with group at Carnegie Hall

Grant Roedel of Loyal was one of 64 Wartburg College students to perform at Carnegie Hall on March 8.

Lee Nelson, the Patricia R. Zahn Endowed Chair in Choral Conducting, conducted the National Festival Chorus, which includes the Wartburg Festival Choir, comprising students from Kantorei, St. Elizabeth Chorale and Ritterchor.

Nelson, who also conducted more than 40 Wartburg students as part of a similar concert in February 2017, was invited to bring Wartburg musicians along again to serve as the core of the National Festival Chorus, which includes 216 singers from six states.

“I wanted to provide an opportunity for the exceptional Wartburg students in our non-auditioned ensembles in part because our students in the auditioned ensembles already have so many opportunities to travel,” Nelson said. “This was a great way to allow more really talented students to perform on a national stage.”

Brett Guy, a senior from Ankeny, was one of the Ritterchor men who traveled with Nelson in 2017 and will return for this concert.

“The first time singing at Carnegie Hall, it was new and exciting and that is great, but this time it means much more. I do not think that I will ever have the opportunity to sing in an ensemble that is as good as any of the ensembles I have been a part of here at Wartburg, let alone make it back to Carnegie Hall,” Guy said. “This performance will be a ‘last chance’ of sorts to spend time with close friends and sing a concert that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The mixed choir, made up of musicians from across the country, performed six pieces, including “Since I Laid My Burden Down,” a piece composed by Kyle Pederson; “O Love,” by Elaine Hagenberg, an Iowa composer; “Nyon, Nyon,” by Jake Runestad; and “Prayer,” by Morten Lauridsen. The Wartburg Festival Choir members joined together on Sundays to practice outside of their usual ensemble practices.

“It’s always a tremendous honor to conduct at a prestigious hall such as Carnegie. It is a thrill that I never take for granted,” Nelson said. “To share that experience with our students really excites me. This will be a great opportunity for them to represent the college and show their talents on a national level.”

Roedel is a 2017 Loyal High School graduate and the son of Elroy and Deb Roedel.