JOEY GOETZ, TRUMPET GUEST WRITER
Christmas with Wartburg, Wartburg’s annual Christmas program, has not been immune to the effects of COVID-19.
While the vaccines and the increased knowledge of COVID-19 have given Wartburg students something of a “return to normalcy” this year, the masked faces across campus still emphasize the safety precautions in place to prevent further spread. Barring a drastic change, this will be reflected in Christmas with Wartburg this year, but not to the extent that it was last year.
“Last year was disappointing in some ways but really quite beautiful in many ways,” said Professor of Music and Director Lee Nelson. “As I told the students last year, we were participating in a Christmas with Wartburg unlike any other Christmas with Wartburg. I will never forget that one. It will be one which I will always remember fondly as a totally different experience than the rest of them.”
“Right now, we are looking to do what we would refer to as a “normal” Christmas with Wartburg. People sitting shoulder to shoulder up in front. Right now, masking is required of audiences. Because we still have the mask mandate on campus, we are going to continue to mask as we’re singing. We’re just sort of monitoring that,” said Nelson.
Outside of the masking, students, families, friends, and other interested parties can expect a fully live performance this year for the 75th anniversary of Christmas with Wartburg, with tickets already being on sale for performances on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The prospect of putting together a labor of love such as Christmas with Wartburg is a herculean task, requiring heaps of planning and coordination.
“Every Christmas with Wartburg is a minimum of a year of planning. It goes in waves, so there’s a ton of ideas and dreaming in December and January of the previous year and we lock in some semblance of a theme. We bring it back out again in April, May, and June, where there’s a ton of work done,” said Nelson. “Now, we are executing the plan.”
“There’s ten of us sort of on the main planning committee, and there’s another whole group of people in charge of ticketing, and the dinners, and promotions and such. It’s a major project,” said Nelson.
Despite the difficulties and requirements to put on a show of this caliber, it is clear while speaking to anyone involved with the project how much it means to make sure that Wartburg’s most important Christmas tradition gets put on.
“What a cool way to live out the mission of Wartburg, which is service and faith and leadership and learning,” said Nelson. “For our music students to be able to give of their time and their talent to provide this amazing concert experience, the only way you can enter it is with a servant’s heart. I think that is a beautiful thing for our students to experience.”
For more information on this year’s Christmas with Wartburg or to purchase tickets for any of the performances, visit https://www.wartburg.edu/christmas/.