The St. Olaf College Viking Chorus is a group of 60-70 first-year men from the college who have been organized to sing the highest-quality literature written for men's voices. They perform a program of music which includes motets, cantata movements and anthems, as well as contemporary choral pieces, spirituals, folk songs and other music traditionally associated with men's singing groups.
The Viking Chorus was founded in 1935 when a number of students gathered together informally under student direction. Many of the conductors who led the group later became music educators and professional directors. Robert Scholz served as director with faculty status from 1968 until his retirement in 2005.
A 1961 vocal music education graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, Robert Scholz also holds degrees from the University of Illinois in musicology (MM) and choral conducting (DMA). He attended the University as a Woodrow Wilson and Danforth Fellowship scholar.
Before joining the St. Olaf faculty, D. Scholz taught at Campbell College in North Carolina, directed the Chamber Choir at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), and was director of music at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. At St. Olaf since 1968, Scholz conducted the Chapel Choir, Campus Choir (now the Cantorei), Chamber Choir and the Viking Chorus. In addition, he taught voice, choral conducting and choral literature. His influence on the choral program at St. Olaf included spearheading the design of the present choral course offerings. Scholz also directed many of the larger works for chorus and orchestra with the St. Olaf Orchestra and Chapel Choir in their annual spring concert and helped to plan the Christmas Festival for 37 years.
Scholz is a choral clinician and a composer and arranger with music published by Augsburg Fortress, MorningStar, Mark Foster and GIA. He directed the Northfield Chorale for 12 years and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the American Composers Forum. In 1995, Scholz received the F. Melius Christiansen award for outstanding contributions to choral music from the ACDA of Minnesota.
When Dr. Scholz retired from St. Olaf in 2005, Anton Armstrong, director of the St. Olaf Choir, wrote, "Bob has been a wonderful model of the artist/scholar in a liberal arts environment. His faith has informed his teaching as he has explored issues of mercy, justice and truth. Through music he has striven to nurture his students as compassionate, thinking and expressive people whose art can contribute to the well-being of others. He leaves the St. Olaf community with a rich legacy in his musical compositions, inspiring recorded performances, and several generations of students and listeners who ave been transformed by his artistry.