Tim Peter bids farewell
Professor of Music Tim Peter (‘86) has taken his final bow on Luther’s stage.
Last week, Peter conducted his final Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen concerts, on Tuesday and Friday respectively.
“The Music Department has gone through so many transitions recently,” Norsemen President Lukas Hampton (‘15) said. “It will be a blow to lose somebody so special and crucial to the department.”
Peter has served on the Luther faculty since 1991. Earlier this year, Peter accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music for the School of Music at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.
“I will lead the Stetson choral program, conduct their touring choir, men’s ensemble and also teach conducting coursework,” Peter said. “I am excited to be able to offer my insights and experiences to achieve musical excellence through the joy of singing.”
Both the final Collegiate and Norsemen concerts were full of well-wishes from Luther faculty, students and friends of Peter. It is clear that although this next year will be a huge change for both Luther and the Peter family, it is one that that both are prepared to make.
“This new position is a great leadership opportunity for Tim,” Head of the Music Department Gregory Peterson (‘83) said. “Stetson sought him out. They are looking for the kind of leadership that he can bring, and are ready for the vision and energy that he will maintain.”
Peter has been teaching at Luther for 21 years, and has worked with over 3000 students.
He has influenced Luther in many ways, serving as a vital recruiting force for the Music Department, and assisting with the planning of additions to the Center for the Arts and Jenson-Noble Hall of Music.
“One of the biggest influences that Tim Peter has had here is in how he interacts with others,” Peterson said. “He has an extremely open way with people.”
Peter has been a frequent all-state conductor all over the United States, and has taught and conducted internationally, in countries including Germany, Namibia, Oman, South Africa, Italy and South Korea.
“My trip to Namibia with Dr. Peter was a defining moment in my Luther career,” Collegiate Chorale President Ethan Schultz (‘12) said. “To be able to take a really tight knit community of people and experience the love and joy of another culture was really special.”
Collegiate Chorale created an e-mail address (email@example.com) where current students, alumni and friends could send words of thanks, memories, or anything they would like to say to Peter. A book was created using those memories, and to date the e-mail has received around 200 messages. The choir presented Peter with the book at their final concert.
“We started to wrap our minds around the immense amount of people that have been touched by Dr. Peter,” Schultz said. “We wanted to give him something that gave everyone an opportunity to let him know the impact that he had on them.”
Many of the students in Collegiate Chorale have been under the direction of Peter for several years, and the loyalty and passion that they feel for him was clear in their voices at the final concert.
“There are so many wonderful things one can say about Tim Peter,” Collegiate Chorale member Jim Penning (‘13) said. “But it all boils down to the last song at the final concert. You could see and feel the emotion in that room, it was overwhelming. Even if you didn’t know who Tim Peter was at the beginning of the night, by the end everyone could tell how amazing of a man he is both because of what was said about him and the beautiful music that he made.”
On Monday, April 30 Luther College announced the replacement for Tim Peter’s position Andrew C. Last (‘97) will take over as conductor of Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen and as an associate professor of music.
“I think we have chosen a worthy successor,” Peterson said. “I believe [Last] will respect and honor the traditions of our music department, but will also bring in new ideas, which is a very good thing.”
Peter will miss Luther, but is excited for the future.
“I have deep gratitude for my Luther colleagues within the music department and across campus,” Peter said. “And utmost respect for the students and alumni that I have been fortunate enough to share making music with. I am leaving Luther proud of my contributions and thankful for the students that I have worked with and the experiences I have had with Luther colleagues and the Decorah community. So with that it is a deep emotional journey of loss, and yet enthusiasm for new opportunities.”