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Music | Music Performance | Scandinavian Studies

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This concert by the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble at Augustana College commemorated the bicentennial of the birth of opera singer Jenny Lind (1820-1887), known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” The choir was directed by Dr. Michael Zemek and accompanied by Gail Baldwin. The program was narrated by Dr. Mark Safstrom and highlights music associated with Lind, including an original choral arrangement by Dr. Zemek of the hymn “Day by day” (L. Sandell/A.L. Skoog/O. Ahnfelt). The concert was commissioned by the Scandinavian Studies Program at Augustana and was aired on October 16, 2020, during the annual meeting of the Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America (ASTRA), which Augustana hosted virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The performance was recorded earlier that month in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa, by Miles & Mackenzie Videography.

About Lind’s connection to Augustana: Jenny Lind was a beloved figure in the early history of the Augustana Lutheran Synod and its college due to the financial support she gave to the Swedish immigrants as they built a church in Andover, Illinois in 1851, which came later to be known as the Jenny Lind Chapel. These immigrants suffered mightily during the cholera epidemics that plagued Illinois in the late 1840s and early 1850s, and Lind’s philanthropy was therefore a memorable expression of encouragement and hope. The women’s ensemble at Augustana College was named in her honor.