Augustana College printing logo

Morrison returns to conduct choir, receive award

May  16, 2012

Don Morrison, conductor of the Augustana Choir from 1966-1993, leads a rehearsal before a reunion concert last summer

Professor Emeritus Donald Morrison will return to the Centennial Hall stage to conduct the Augustana Choir at the Augustana Music Festival Concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. The concert also will feature the Augustana Symphonic Band and Augustana Symphony Orchestra. 

Morrison was the second director of the Augustana Choir, preceded by its founder, Dr. Henry Veld, who directed the choir from 1931 to 1966. Morrison was director from 1966-1993. This past summer, Morrison conducted portions of the Augustana Choir reunion concert when more than 200 former members of the choir came together for a day of fellowship and rehearsing capped off by a performance.

Since the end of April, Morrison has worked with the Augustana Choir on two of George Shearing's settings of Shakespeare's texts. Morrison had a chance to meet Shearing at the time these pieces were written, and has been able to provide the choir with unique insight into how Shearing wanted them executed. 

"It has been a great opportunity for the current Augustana Choir to work with Don Morrison," said choir director and professor of music Dr. Jon Hurty. "He brings a link to the history and tradition of the choir and also provides us with the chance to see the kinds of things that he does in rehearsal. I have especially enjoyed watching him work and interact with the choir."

When asked what he thought of the opportunity to conduct the choir again, Morrison said it was "wonderful, absolutely wonderful!" Though he seemed to have made a seamless transition, he added, "It takes some time to get back in the saddle."

Morrison also will receive the Honorary Alumni Award from the Augustana Alumni Association Board of Directors at the association's annual awards banquet prior to the concert.

Sue Rector, assistant vice president for advancement, noted, "Those who nominated him shared the tremendous impact he had on their lives as a mentor and friend. The Augustana Alumni Association honors only one person each year with the distinction of Honorary Alumni to recognize those who have an impact on the college and support Augustana students in significant ways."

Many would say Morrison has done just that.