March 18 2013 12:00 AM

MSU grad Anton Armstrong conducts the 75-voice choir


Thursday, Jan. 19 — “You only turn 100 once,” said Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, which visits Wharton Center Jan. 29 as part of a tour celebrating the choir's centennial.

The 75-voice a cappella choir from Minnesota’s St. Olaf College was founded in 1912 and has been singing at major venues across the globe ever since. This is the choir’s third trip to Michigan State University: The first two visits happened when Armstrong was an undergrad at MSU in 1978, and in 1985 while he was a graduate student. He took over as conductor in 1990.

The choir — made up of full-time undergraduate students — travels across the country for almost three weeks every year. Every four years they travel internationally to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Latin America. Armstrong says the one place they have yet to hit is Antarctica.  

The program includes Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s "Sicut cervus," Johann Sebastian Bach’s Singet dem Herrn (BWV 225), Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s “For God Commanded Angels to Watch Over You” and folk and spiritual songs, including “Shenandoah” and “It is Well With My Soul.”

A documentary on the choir's history will be shown at 2:15 p.m. in the Jackson Lounge; it is free for ticket holders.  

St. Olaf Choir
3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29
Wharton Center
$20-$30; $15 for students