Last week's concert is still on my mind in many ways. I'm still humming the tunes and thinking about the concert. It's one sign of a superior performance, in my opinion, that it benefits from further reflection over time.
I think Dr. Armstrong summed up the mission of the St. Olaf Choir (and church music in general) when he talked about his decision not to become a minister. He said that the choir and his work as a musician do more to spread the Gospel message than any words he could preach. Their section titled "Global expressions of peace" was especially poignant in its expression of the universality of faith.
I know that the choir's movement annoys some people visually because it's unexpected. However, it's just the physical manifestation of their commitment to the music and the text. We'd never ask a solo performer to stand perfectly still; in fact, today we seem much to prefer that they dance! Does the choir move too much? I'll admit that they push the envelope, but I don't need them to stand perfectly still either.
Finally, the choir's precision always amazes me, while singing in five different languages and in styles that ranged from Bach and Tallis to Abbie Betinis, who was in my class at St. Olaf. They sang chorales and spirituals, chant and siren sound effects - an amazing level of variety and always with commitment and excellence.
Ultimately, the music was all about communication, as all the best music is.