Musical organizations have been a vital activity on the campus of Augustana College since the late 19th century. One of the earliest organized choral groups was the Lusciniola Society, a male chorus dating from 1873. The Aeolus Choir appeared in 1884 and in 1888, the Echo Quartet was formed. By 1898, the Handel Oratorio Society and other groups were established. Additional groups appeared in the next several decades. The establishment of the Conservatory of Music in 1886 helped ensure that there would be a constant stream of students primarily interested in music.
This collection contains small amounts of materials relating to five different choral groups: the Lusciniola Society, the Chapel Choir, the Lutherman Male Chorus, the Augustana Male Quartet, and the Koto Ensemle. Very little is known about the Lusciniola Society besides what can be gleaned from the constitution, roll, and minutes contained in this collection. It was a male choral group that had as many as 18 members. All of the materials contained in this collection are written in Swedish.
The second group, the Chapel Choir was first mentioned as the English Chapel Choir (to be distinguished from the Swedish Chapel Choir) in the 1893-1894 Catalogue of the Augustana College and Theological Society. The name was shortened to "Chapel Choir" in the following catalogue. According to their constitution of 1911, the object of the Chapel Choir was "to provide a musical selection at all regular Sunday evening Chapel services," and "to study churchly Choir music." The choir was open to both male and female students.
The Lutherman Male Chorus was formed in 1902 with the name "Mission Chorus." In 1908, the name was changed to Lutherman Chorus. The choral group consisted of between 20 and 24 male students of Augustana College and Theological Seminary. According to their constitution, the group had two main objectives: "to enhance student male chorus singing at Augustana College" and "to furnish song at the meetings of the Foreign Mission Society." It appears that the group was active between January and April of 1921. The group met again in October of 1921 to organize. A committee was appointed to find a leader for the chorus. Apparently, this committee was unsuccessful: the final entry in the secretary's book dated May 26, 1922 states that the chorus had been inactive for the entire school year. At this time, the secretary book was left at the library to be kept until a time that the Lutherman Chorus might be revived.
The Augustana Male Quartet was formed in 1923 and quickly became highly regarded. In the summer of 1924, the quartet set off on its first annual concert tour which consisted of 62 engagements in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The following year, the group made an extensive tour of the Midwestern United States and Canada in 1925 with a total of 90 concert engagements. Although it is not clear when the group disbanded, no mention of the quartet is made in the yearbooks or College catalogs after 1928. It is evident from this small collection that the quartet made at least one other tour in the summer of 1936, though the group might not have had continuous membership.
The Augustana Koto Ensemble was founded in the 1980s. The group performed traditional and contemporary music on the koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. The ensemble played concerts on the Augustana Campus and conducted tours to St. Louis, Missouri and Berea, Kentucky.
The historical notes above provide some background for the groups, most of which was gained from a close inspection of this collection. This collection has been organized into five series: Lusciniola Society, Chapel Choir, Lutherman Male Chorus, Augustana Male Quartet, and Koto Ensemble.
The Lusciniola Society series (1873-1874) contains the constitution, meeting minutes, and roll in a bound volume.
The Chapel Choir series (1911-1912) contains the constitution and minutes for the group in a bound volume.
The Lutherman Male Chorus series (1921-1922) includes a typed version of the group's constitution and a bound record book that includes meeting minutes, the constitution, a membership list, and a list of expenditures.
The Augustana Male Quartet series (1925, 1936) is composed of four items, including programs from the group's two tours in 1925 and the Summer Tours of 1936.
The Koto Ensemble series (1983-2001) contains brouchues, concert programs, newsclippings, a membership list, and photographs.
Lusciniola Augustana Society
Constitution, minutes and roll, 1873-1874
Constitution and minutes, 1911-1912
Lutherman Male Chorus
Constitution, circa 1921
Record book, 1921-1922
Augustana Male Quartet
Programs, 1925, 1936
Printed Matter, 1983-2001