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St. Olaf hymn festival dedicates new Boe Chapel
February 24, 2007
St. Olaf College will celebrate the architecturally renewed Boe Memorial Chapel and its new organ when it hosts a Chapel Rededication Celebration Hymn Festival the weekend of Feb. 24-25. The events will begin on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. with a hymn festival led by the St. Olaf Cantorei, conducted by John Ferguson, Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music. The following day, regular Sunday worship will be held in the chapel at 10:30 a.m., with College Pastor Bruce Benson preaching. Later that day, at 3:30 p.m., Artist in Residence Catherine Rodland '87 will give the dedicatory organ recital.
|In addition to its new organ, the renewed Boe Memorial Chapel includes a more vibrant color scheme, widened side aisles and a place for organ and choir in the chancel.|
St. Olaf's Audio Services Department, which recently resumed live streaming of daily chapel and Sunday worship services from Boe Memorial Chapel, will stream the weekend's events. The reinstated live stream will allow those unable to attend services to listen in via the Internet at stolaf.edu/church/chapel.
Ferguson describes the new 4,100-pipe Holtkamp organ -- which incorporates approximately one-half of the pipe work from the former Schlicker organ, originally installed in 1960 -- as a "servant" of the college, a resource that "contributes to St. Olaf's worship life and is a tool for the teaching of organ and church music."
The sound of the new organ is all the more impressive as a result of the significant interior improvements to the chapel in which it's housed. Almost since Boe Memorial Chapel's dedication in 1954, the college has discussed ways of improving the worship space, specifically the acoustics. That meant reconfiguring the inside of the chapel by reshaping the ceiling and side walls. Assistant Professor of Art Steve Edwins '65, principal of SMSQ Architects in Northfield, took the lead on the renewal project, which included extending the worship platform out into the congregation, integrating new lighting and -- drawing from the beautiful stained glass windows -- developing the chapel's vibrant new color scheme.
The preservation of the windows represented a major concern during the reconfiguration process, and they not only have been preserved, they have gained prominence. The widened side aisles in the nave, where people may walk and view the windows, now reflect the building's exterior Norman Gothic architecture.
In addition to celebrating the organ and chapel interior, St. Olaf's hymn festival also will be one of first to utilize Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW), the new hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELW represents the culmination of five years of discussion, planning and collaboration among members of the ELCA, and includes more than 700 hymns, songs and pieces of service music comprised of cultural, national and international songs.