For Breck Cogswell ’18, this tour of The Concordia Choir means coming full circle. It’s back to Fort Smith, Ark., where she first heard the choir sing on a previous tour and it means performing in her home church.
“It’s my favorite place to sing,” she says. “I’m very excited to be performing for my family, my friends and my church family.”
She especially enjoys singing “Stars” by Ēriks Ešenvalds. Cogswell, who is double majoring in religion and music, likes that it’s a spiritual piece without being religious.
“It’s completely gorgeous,” she says. “It’s not the hardest piece we sing, but it’s one of the most rewarding for everyone in the choir to find meaning. We use some cool lighting effects and we get to perform with wine glasses, which is pretty unusual.”
Cogswell says being in choir helps her think beyond the campus. She especially enjoys the special rehearsal times when Dr. René Clausen and her fellow students discuss their beliefs.
“We’re able to reflect on what we feel passionate about in life,” she says. “Dr. Clausen listens to what we have to say and he responds to it. He wants to hear what we believe as much as telling us about his own experiences. It’s really exceptional to have someone of his reputation appreciating and validating what we have to say. It’s fun being with people with so many diverse passions, opinions and hobbies beyond music.”
It’s good for her vocational training as well. Cogswell aspires to become an ELCA pastor and she’s enjoying the academic study of religion, which she finds personally meaningful. She says she has found many spiritual leaders on campus.
“It’s been good for me to come to Concordia and explore what ELCA denominations are all about,” she says, “and serving on the Campus Ministry Commission has been influential for me.”
Cogswell had initially planned on being a music educator, so becoming a pastor was not something she expected to do.
“It’s really exciting for me now,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed looking at religion from an academic perspective. Having a degree in divinity is important for me and I appreciate that it takes that level of study for someone to become a moral guide for a congregation.”
The Concordia Choir national tour runs through March 11.