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2/5/07 02:44 pm - echsdoc - StO Band

The wife and I went down to Benaroya Hall last night to see the St. Olaf Band in concert. This was the last of their winter tour. It is a wonderful hall, and they seemed totally hyped to be playing in a world class venue like Benaroya. And the music was totally up to the setting. Every piece was well done and done to an appreciative audience. It took courage to schedule a concert up against the Super Bowl, but there was a decent crowd, maybe sixty percent of the ground floor. Enough to give a feeling of audience.

I had the same experience that I have always had with the band, one of listening to superb musicians playing music that does not really appeal to me. I know the music is excellent, but the sense of being "taught" what I "ought to" appreciate has always been part of the band experience for me. My favorite piece was a beautiful Elgar item in which the band turned itself mostly into a choir and sang the choral parts. They sounded like the perfect pure St. Olaf choir in style, articulation and mode. It was a wonderful surprise.

We went to the reception beforehand, put on to greet Anderson the new President. He was articulate and funny. And he reminded all the alumni to give large wads of cash money to the old alma mater. I enjoyed the rare chance to chat with people who shared the same professors I had in college. Guess what, one man was raised in Northfield (class of 1957). When he was a child F. Melius Christianson was a customer on his paper route! He also said that Dr. Marie Malmin Meyer was giving teaching talks up to her hundredth year and kept her mind to the end last year

Don't that make history collapse?

1/28/07 12:53 pm - echsdoc - What are Lutherans Like?

For the humor of it (and becauses StO gets a mention)

by Garrison Keillor:

I have made fun of Lutherans for years - who wouldn't, if you lived
in Minnesota? But I have also sung with Lutherans and that is one of
the main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn. We
make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their
fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for
their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like
them. If you ask an audience in New York City, a relatively
Lutheranless place, to sing along on the chorus of "Michael Row the
Boat Ashore", they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them
to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Lutherans
they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down
the road!

Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a
talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or
tenor or bas and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your
little head against that person's rib cage. It's natural for Lutherans
to sing in harmony. We're too modest to be soloists, too worldly to
sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide
into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an
emotionally fulfilling moment. I once sang the bass line of Children
of the Heavenly Father in a room with about three thousand Lutherans
in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our eyes, partly from
the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the proximity of
all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise
that we will not forsake each other. I do believe this: People, these
Lutherans, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of
people you could call up when you're in deep distress. If you're
dying, they'll comfort you. If you're lonely, they'll talk to you. And
if you're hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!

The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who,
observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked
to pray out loud.

2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or
a hymn with more than four stanzas.

3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital,
even if they don't notify them that they are there.

4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is
their way of suffering for their sins.

5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially
during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the

6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children's choirs would
make the kids too proud and conceited.

7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle
while passing the peace.

8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the third sacrament.

9. Some Lutherans still believe that and ELCA bride and an LCMS
groom make for a mixed marriage.

10. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their
own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of
the season and think that peas in a tuna hot dish adds too much color.

14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and
never take themselves too seriously.

15. You know you're a Lutheran when: it's 100 degrees, with 90%
humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.

16. You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as
loudly as you can.

17. Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.

18. The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is
locked up tight.

19. All your relatives graduated from a school named Concordia (or
Luther, St. Olaf, Augustana, Wittenberg, etc. ).

20. When you watch a "Star Wars" movie and they say, "May the Force
be with you", you respond, " and also with you".

21. You actually understand those folks from Lake Wobegon, MN.

22. And lastly, it takes ten minutes to say goodbye

1/27/07 11:42 pm - echsdoc - Mixed emotions

The Saint Olaf band is coming to Seattle next weekend. My wife wants to go to the concert at Benaroya Hall and has been pushing and pushing for me to go, too. The new president will be there and oodles of alumni from the last hundred years or so. The problem is that it highlights the conflict we feel towards StO right now. We are both grads, and we have siblings and friends who are grads. None of us are happy over the amazing WCAL fiasco. In our opinion the past president and his crew, aided by the Board, committed a nearly suicidal act in what appears to be a foolish, stupid, manipulative and deceptive selling of WCAL, which lost us one of the jewels of StO's crown. We have wanted to try to let the anger go with his departure, as we all love StO, but how do you do that? Right now the college is in court trying to sue for the right to break the huge WCAL trust funds that were specifically donated to the college for the upkeep and support of the radio station. I can't imagine how the donors would feel, how the families of the deceased donors do feel to see our college breaking not only a legal trust but a moral trust. I find this so dismaying that it is hard to want to go see the band, hard to imagine meeting and greeting the new president. Well, hard to be proud to be an Ole, at this moment in time. If only the college had the courage to admit their willful failure of trust regarding WCAL, and I mean trust all across the board. But you know what? They will never have enough courage to do that.

But, what the heck, I expect we will shell out some money and go see the band, maybe shake the hand of the new pres., maybe forgive them for duration of the evening. StO blood runs deep, you know.

12/30/06 09:14 pm - slowfkafternoon - Yearning to be an Ole...

I was going to apply to St. Olaf by January 1st, however, my college councilor wasn't able to look over my essays before vacation. So far only one other person (my study hall teacher) has read my essays for St. Olaf. Do any of you have time to quickly look over my three brief essays before they get sent off? I'm just looking for one more "adult" opinion on the essays; i've heard it's best not to involve your parents in the whole college essay process.

Let me know if you have the time! Thanks so much!

Um ya ya!

9/18/06 09:22 pm - pixie_goose

there are very few things that i like about lafayette but every now and then, there are things that make everything better. i got off work about 7:30 tonight and stopped by tj maxx. when i came out, there was something under the wiper blade.

this was under my wiper blade written on the back of an envelopeCollapse )

and it totally made my day!

how did they know i was an ole, you ask? well, i have an olaf alumni license plate frame and an olaf sticker on my back windshield.

just thought i'd share with people who might be amused by this.

8/25/06 07:13 pm - mikeythebison - Hail

A massive hail storm swept through Northfield (and the St. Olaf College campus) on Thursday morning, damaging buildings, cars and more on campus. For more information (and some disturbing pictures) check out this link.

3/27/06 09:28 am - echsdoc - That St. Olaf Curfew

A couple of you have remarked to me about the curfew we had at St. Olaf back in my day, so here is a bit more information on the customs of the pre-civilized world of Lutheran colleges.

At St. Olaf in the early sixties, we had a dry campus, no cars allowed, and the boys and girls were rigidly separated by dorms. The opposite sex was limited to the lobbies of the dorms, and only once a year was there an open house on a Sunday afternoon.

The women had a monitored curfew of ten o'clock every week night and around eleven-thirty on weekends. They had to check in at the door, as they returned and the population was logged in as safely abed each night. Since the girls were all locked up, we men had no curfew at all and could come and go as we pleased, stay out all night, bum around. If we were twenty-one we cold go down to the muni (the municipal liquor bar, the only place in Northfield to get a drink).

The curfew made dating an interesting adventure in planning. To go to downtown Northfield or over to Carleton College, we had to make the long walk down St. Olaf Avenue. Say we wanted a pizza at the Safari (where the Mamas and Papas would be singing "Monday, Monday" on juke box), we had to plan the walking both ways and the return in time for curfew.

As ten o'clock neared, you could see all the couples in the dark as they squeezed out the last moments together before the doors got locked in Melby, Hoyme, Kittelson, etc. Over by the bandshell, you could see intimately osculating couples taking advantage of the last moment. There were consequences. The women would get punished for being late (I can't recall what it was, probably being dormed for an evening). The men got hit, too, because for every minute a man kept a woman out after curfew, he had to give her a red rose. And that added up.

And you know what? I look back on those days with some real nostalgia. The custom gave all of us a chance to separate a bit from the opposite sex, a chance to live with our own gender, to get to know what it meant to be a guy or a gal before the immediate bonding that takes place now. I think it was a transition period that is sorely missed in the lives of today's college youth. (I am in close contact with may of the Salt Mine grads, so know their lives well.) Besides, a kiss under a full moon on the beautiful St. Olaf campus is a memory to cherish, especially when it takes place at 9:58 p.m. and the clock is ticking.

By the way, the long walks downtown from Manitou to Northfield, over the Cannon River, into the smell of the Malt-o-Meal factory started my lifelong habit of reading as I walk, something most of you have commented on as you see me walking around the SMHS campus today.

I think women should have curfews again.. Yup..

3/19/06 08:48 pm - echsdoc - The First Nighter, Vintage 1962

When I was a freshman at St Olaf, back in autumn of '62, one of the old traditions of the school was called the First Nighter. The school did a variety of social events then in order to break down the isolation and loneliness of the freshmen. This particular event was an evening of all blind dates, no exceptions. Everyone had to dress up in thhis/her finest, then head over to Hoyme Hall. Boys and girls were all lined up and taken through a doorway, where they met their dates. Then it was fancy dinners for all and a special event. Our year it was a performance of Oklahoma. Plenty of time was included for meeting and learning about our dates.

The nervousness everywhere was palpable. I can still remember the wait to see my surprise for the evening.

And you know something? There was an element of real cruelty in the air that night, too. The boys had what is called the Witch's Pot. Every boy anted in a quarter. The winner at the end of the evening was the guy in the corridor (Kildahl in my case) who had the least desirable date or the worst evening. He won the pot. It is a cruel and shameful act that is only mitigated by the fact that we knew for sure that the girls were doing the same thing in their dorms.

Sauce for the goose; sauce for the gander.

By the way, St. Olaf locked all girls in their dorms at ten o'clock. The guys were free to roam around all they wanted. The logic was that if they girls were locked up, who cared about what the guys were doing. Sweet, eh?

3/15/06 05:22 pm - mikeythebison - And the 11th President of St. Olaf College Is...

David R. Anderson, You Are One Snappy Looking Dude!
Come on down, David R. Anderson '74!

Let all users of this fine community gather together in welcoming our new president.

Goodbye President Thomforde! You were a real swell guy, the best president in a while. Let us never forget your bowties, your gentle nature, and your tendency to hit your head on the ceiling of Boe. I'll miss you!

2/22/06 11:23 am - echsdoc - 40 years out

We got another reminder from StO that we have our 40th year reunion this spring, also a reminder how nice it would be to put StO into our wills.

I have a memory. During my years at StO I worked in Rolvaag, and my job was locking up the library every night. I would be the only staff there during the last hour or so, and the job was a good one for work study. I also worked at the desk every Sunday afternoon. One Sunday a "tour" of oldsters came through the library. It had to be the 40th or 45th year reunion class. We all got a kick out of their aged decrepitude, how sweet and simple they seemed to be, how tickled pink to be at the old stomping grounds. These grads of 1924 were having a good time, insofar as codgers can do so.

Turn around twice. Almost every one of those people is dead today, and we are the forty year out ancients. And the school is interested in the contents of our wills (though I for one am still working full time). Beware you whippersnappers, something is going to happen to you a lot faster than you think.

(I have a Norwegian exchange student this year. He saw my gold banner with the Olaf lion on it and Um Yah Yah beneath. He was befuddled by the "words." And bemused by my quaint old alma mater.)
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