Signing Held for new Alma Swensson Biography, Proceeds to Benefit Messiah Festival

LINDSBORG, KAN., March 29, 2012—A book signing will be held for Karen A. Humphrey’s biography “Grace, Faith, and the Power of Singing: The Alma Christina Lind Swensson Story” about the young woman who taught Lindsborg to sing and established Bethany College’s annual Messiah Festival of the Arts.

The signing and reception will be held on Saturday, April 7, from 1 to 3 p.m. inside the “Lindsborg Collects” temporary exhibition at 113 N. Main Street in downtown Lindsborg. All book sale proceeds during the afternoon benefit the Messiah Festival of the Arts at Bethany College.

Published by Lutheran University Press, the biography details the life of Alma Swensson, who came from Broddarp, Sweden, with her family to Illinois. In 1880, she married Carl Aaron Swensson, and they moved to Lindsborg, where Carl was called to be pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church and Alma served as organist. A year later, Carl founded Bethany College and Alma established the first Messiah choir, thus beginning the annual tradition of the Messiah Festival of the Arts.

“Alma Lind Swensson was a remarkable woman who helped build a beautiful community, and who touches people’s lives yet today,” says Humphrey. “Working on her biography these past three years, learning about her life, has brought a great deal of joy and inspiration.”

Author Karen A. Humphrey grew up in Norseland, Minn., and lived there until moving to Lindsborg, Kan., when her husband, the Rev. Charles W. Humphrey, was called to be pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church. Karen served in the advancement office beginning in 1998 and was appointed vice president for institutional advancement from 2002-2006. The Humphreys currenly live in Saint Paul, Minn., where Karen is a major gifts officer at the Minnesota Historical Society, vice-president of the Norwegian American Historical Association, and member of the board of VocalEssence.

This year will be the Bethany Oratorio Society’s 132nd presentation of Handel’s “Messiah,” the longest consecutive annual rendition in North America. World-renowned soloists perform with the Society for audiences at the college, across the plains, in Carnegie Hall, and on national television. Messiah is performed during Bethany College’s annual Messiah Festival of the Arts, when hundreds of guests enjoy the weeklong celebration of sacred music concerts, art exhibitions, and theatre performances. For the full listing of Festival events, visit www.bethanylb.edu//messiah.

“Messiah” will be presented on Palm Sunday, April 1, and Easter Sunday, April 8, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $17 and $22. “St. Matthew Passion” will be presented on Good Friday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $17. A special $5 discount per ticket is available for teachers, seniors, churches, and tour groups of 15 or more. High school students are invited to attend free of charge and their family members will receive $5 off their tickets.

To purchase tickets, call Bethany’s Messiah Coordinator Blakely Bunning at (785) 227-3380, ext. 8137, between 1 and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday or e-mail bunningb@bethanylb.edu.

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu/.

Caption: “Grace, Faith, and the Power of Singing: The Alma Christina Lind Swensson Story” by Karen A. Humphrey, published by Lutheran University Press

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