Jenny Lind 200th Anniversary Celebration Service April 25th

Claudia Loucks
Dr. Michael Zemek

Jenny Lind, the famed Swedish soprano, will be remembered at a special service celebrating her 200th anniversary. The service will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, and will premier virtually from the Jenny Lind Chapel in Andover and can be viewed at jennylindchapel.org.

The service was to have been held in-person last year, but was postponed due to guidelines in place as a result of Covid-19.

A quartet from the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, which is an advanced choir of treble voices form Augustana College, will feature pieces associated with Lind’s performances. The songs will include choral settings of works from Handel’s “Messiah” and Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” hymn tunes by Oscar Anfelt first published with the financial support of Lind, and the pop ballad “Never Enough” form the recent movie, “The Greatest Showman,” depicting Lind’s American tour with P.T. Barnum.

Dr. Michael Zemek, associate professor of music at Augustana College, will deliver a homily with highlights based on Lind’s life. Zemek is the coordinator of music education at Augustana College where he conducts the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble and supervises music education students. He came to Augustana after eight years of teaching choral music in Minnesota and Iowa. In addition to his responsibilities at Augustana, Dr. Zemek is Director of Music Ministries at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City.

The upcoming anniversary service, held each year and known as Founders Day, commemorates the founding of Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover in 1850, Augustana College and Theological Seminary in Rock Island and Augustana Lutheran Church in America, both in 1860.

Ron Peterson, dean of the Jenny Lind Chapel, shared some history of the Jenny Lind Chapel, and said, “The Jenny Lind Chapel, constructed in the early 1850’s, is named for Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, who gave a generous donation to Pastor Lars Paul Esbjorn, leader of the Swedish immigrants to Illinois. The Chapel became the mother church for hundreds of other churches of the Augustana Lutheran Church in America.”

“The lower level of the chapel houses a museum highlighting the Swedish immigration and ancestry of the Augustana Synod, as well as several Jenny Lind displays,” Peterson said. “The Chapel is a ministry of the Northern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

More information is available at jennylindchapel.org