Choir adding harmony to documentary
Music of the Germans from Russia to be focus of television project
Jamestown College Magazine, Jamestown, North
Dakota, Winter, 2004
Courtesy of the Jamestown College Office of Publications
Members of the Jamestown College Concert Choir are lending their voices
to a national public television project chronicling the music of Germans
"Heimat: Music from Home" is the fourth in a collection
of documentaries produced by Prairie Public Television about the
history and culture of one of the largest ethnic groups in the region.
"It's very exciting for our students," says Dr. Donald
Christianson, the choir's conductor. "They're just coming to
understand how big this project is."
The documentary will include footage of the choir performing some
of the songs, and the music will also be heard in the background
throughout the program.
Homer Rudolf '60, Richmond, Virginia, is the chief researcher
and scriptwriter for the project. A retired music professor with
German - Russian roots and a board member for the Germans from Russia
Historical Society, Rudolf became involved with the project after
meeting Michael Miller, the bibliographer from the Germans from
Russia Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University.
"We are including both religious and secular music,"
Rudolf says. "The church music was often heard in the homes."
The choir will perform hymns and choral numbers during the German
- Russian portion of their spring concert tour. Prairie Public Television
will record the choir's performance at the Basilica of St. James
on March 21 and at First Lutheran Church, Harvey, N.D., on March
25. The concert program includes hymns, choir anthems and folk songs.
Choir member Adam Emter '04, Jamestown, will serve as narrator
during the concert.
"It's more than just a North Dakota story," says Bob
Dambach, director of television at Prairie Public Broadcasting.
"It's the story of an entire immigrant group."
Dambach says the German-Russian heritage documentaries began in
1996 as a partnership between Prairie Public Television and North
Dakota State University. Audiences enjoyed "The Germans from
Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," "Schmeckfest:
Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia," and "Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains."
The documentary crew will travel around the country conducting
interviews and possibly gather more footage in Germany and Ukraine.
Additional music will come from the University of Mary Choir, Alive
Gospel Choir of Kulm, N.D., and recordings by smaller groups and
a famous North Dakota German-Russian, Lawrence Welk.
"We thought it would be important to have a couple of college
choirs perform this music," Dambach says. "It's important
to take the music out in public, and we'd like to release a CD of
The documentary is planned to air in late February or early March,
Our appreciation is extended to Jamestown
College for permission to use this article.