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A choir of angels … or alumni

In unison, the choir gathered on a Saturday morning at Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA) in St. Paul recites “minimize dipthongs” before their director, Olaf G. Malmin, the fabled choir master at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Clearly, these choristers had said this before. Even more clearly, they adored their former director.

Former Augustana choral director Olaf G. Malmin conducts alums. Metro Lutheran photo: Bob Hulteen.

Augustana alums from throughout Malmin’s choir career committed to a weekend of singing and reminiscing in preparation for an opportunity to lead Grace’s Sunday morning worship. (Malmin is currently choir director at Grace.)

“This was sort of a reunion of that event. But, even more, it was an opportunity to thank Dr. Malmin.” -Jim Slater

“We were a tight group, no question,” explained Bryce Bell, 1985-89. “There are people from 17 or 18 different [classes] willing to travel across the country to [sing with Malmin again]. Those present were from Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Washington, and Texas, as well as several Midwest states.

Jim Slater, 1983-87, is the “detail guy” who got people organized. In 1985 the choir went on a European tour, a formative event for all involved. “This was sort of a reunion of that event,” Slater said. “But, even more, it was an opportunity to thank Dr. Malmin.”

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