Dr. Allen Hightower
Nordic Choir, founded in 1946, enjoys national and international acclaim as a premier collegiate choral ensemble in the United States. Nordic Choir is directed by Allen Hightower, director of choral activities at Luther College since 2010.
Nordic Choir is Luther’s flagship choir in a choral program that comprises three upper-class mixed touring choirs, two first-year choirs, and a women’s choir. More than 500 singers from these ensembles combine with Symphony Orchestra, Luther Ringers, and pipe organ for five Christmas at Luther performances each year. Christmas at Luther 2008, Night of Glory, Dawn of Peace, and Christmas at Luther 2012, Tidings of Comfort and Joy, were nationally broadcast as PBS holiday specials. The 2008 broadcast won a regional Emmy for Best Special Event Coverage.
Nordic Choir has toured extensively throughout the United States, performing in churches of all denominations, schools, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center, New York; Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; Orchestra Hall, Chicago; Orchestra Hall and the Historic State Theatre, Minneapolis; the Ordway Music Theatre, St. Paul, Minn.; Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Crystal Cathedral, Los Angeles; and the Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City. Nordic Choir has also appeared at national American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Kansas City, and at the Music Educators National Conference in Kansas City, Mo. The choir was selected to perform at the 50th anniversary national convention of the ACDA in Oklahoma City, March 2009, and were featured at the 2014 North Central ACDA convention in Des Moines, Iowa.
Nordic Choir has made numerous concert tours of Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Russia, and Eastern Europe. In 2000 and 2003, the choir revisited the college’s founding roots with tours to Norway and Scandinavia. Nordic Choir was featured in concert throughout France, Spain, and Italy in May 2009. Most recently, Nordic Choir completed a tour of Ireland and England in May 2012, and a tour of Italy in May 2015. Other notable appearances for Nordic Choir include a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion with Orchestra Iowa in 2012, and Handel’s Messiah with Luther’s own Symphony Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale, Cathedral Choir, and student soloists in March 2015, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Nordic Choir has also recorded extensively. Recent titles include Spirit, moving over chaos (2015), Prayer (2014), Go, Lovely Rose (2013), Holy, Radiant Light (2012), and Here I Am, Lord (2012). Nordic Choir performances are also included on the CD and DVD of Christmas at Luther 2012 and the CDs of Christmas at Luther 2014 and 2015.
Traditions within the Nordic Choir include holding hands during all performances, the sapphire blue velvet robes, and singing Pavel Chesnokov's O Lord God as the signature benedictory since 1948.
Nordic Choir rehearses MWF 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. and TTh 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. Rehearsal location for Nordic Choir is in the Choir Room.