In January the Decorah High School Concert Choir and Claiborne Treble Singers performed as the featured choirs at the Wartburg College Meistersinger Honor Choir Festival. The choir performed for 600 Midwest high school singers and their teachers in the finale concert; present was a collective audience of 1200. Each year at the festival a reputable guest high school choral program is selected by college officials to sing solo performances at the concert, sing in the festival chorus, work with Wartburg choir directors, and learn from the featured composer. This year’s featured composer was Craig Hella Johnson, a professional composer and choral director based in Austin, Texas. He is the Grammy award winning conductor of the professional choir Conspirare

Decorah High School choir director Jason Rausch commented, “Our students had a truly meaningful experience at Wartburg College. They were incredible people and musicians throughout the day, leaving a positive impression on all. I could not have been prouder. Thanks to all who made this day possible at DHS and Wartburg.”

Lee Nelson, Director of Choral Activities at Wartburg College, wrote this in an email the following day to the DHS singers: “It is rare to come across a group of people, especially from one high school, who share such a deep passion for music paired with the requisite work ethic to create the level of performance and, more importantly, the clarity of message you so beautifully displayed at the finale concert. You displayed a level of maturity, poise, and musicality that was a model for all of us. You sang with depth of tone, beautiful phrasing, and careful attention to expressive musicality. But what was most remarkable to me was the sincere kind hearts, grateful smiles, and humble spirits that I encountered when I visited with you.”

Claiborne Treble Singers

Claiborne Treble Singers

DHS Concert Choir

Concert Choir

Directors and Coordinators Honor Choir

(l-r): Decorah Choir Director Jason Rausch, Wartburg Choir Director Nicki Toliver, Composer Craig Hella Johnson, Festival Coordinator Sarah Bouska, Wartburg Choir Director Lee Nelson