The National Lutheran Choir will perform at 4 p.m. March 3 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.
The choir, along with a 17-piece orchestra, will perform the Holy Spirit Mass, a new commission that commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The choir commissioned the Mass from Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen in 2017.
“St. Mary’s Cathedral is delighted to host the world-class National Lutheran Choir for the finale of a performance tour that has included Notre Dame, St. Louis and Omaha, Nebraska,” said Father Scott Pogatchnik, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral.
After premiering at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the work for chorus and strings was praised by The New York Times as “extremely well-crafted, and rapturously received.”
“I have been a member of this choir for more than 30 years, and it plays an important role in my life,” said Dr. Ken Holmen, president and CEO of CentraCare Health in St. Cloud. “It’s very fulfilling to me personally to be a part of this tremendously talented group of vocalists.”
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the cost of the performance has been underwritten so there is no cost to attend. However, a free-will offering will be encouraged, and all proceeds will benefit the United Way of Central Minnesota’s housing and homelessness prevention efforts.
“As we travel, our choir likes to partner with local organizations to enhance community outreach,” Holmen said. “We have supported homelessness initiatives in several communities and will do the same through the United Way here in St. Cloud.”
“We are so pleased that the National Lutheran Choir is giving us this opportunity to raise awareness and support for the issue of affordable housing in our region,” said Daniel Larson, vice president of community impact for United Way of Central Minnesota.
According to Larson, the lack of affordable housing and homelessness continue to increase across the region, as 15 percent of people in Stearns and Benton counties live in poverty and 45 percent of all renter households in the St Cloud area — nearly 9,500 families — pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing.
“Along with the chance to support our area homeless, attending this powerful performance will touch your soul with its beauty and our world with its call for communion,” Father Pogatchnik said.
Under the direction David Cherwien, the National Lutheran Choir’s mission is to strengthen, renew and preserve the heritage of sacred choral music through the highest standards of performance and literature. Currently in its 33rd year, the National Lutheran Choir features a roster of 60 volunteer singers from all backgrounds and many faiths.
Individuals who are unable to attend the concert but would like to donate directly to the housing and homelessness efforts at United Way, can call 320-252-0277 or go to https://unitedwayhelps.org/donate/.
For more information about the National Lutheran Choir, visit https://nlca.com.