Doane Choir returns from Southwest U.S. Tour

Doane Choir in Arizona

Nine days, eight nights, and over 2,500 miles traveled later, the Doane Choir returned home from its annual tour last weekend.


50 people were on the trip -- 47 students -- as the choir traveled through five different cities, performing seven times.


The Doane Choir left Crete on Friday, January 11 en route to Albuquerque, New Mexico. From there, the group went to Sedona, Arizona, to Phoenix, Arizona, to Prescott, Arizona, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and back to Crete. The choir’s final stop was supposed to be in Greeley, Colorado but was cancelled due to weather.


“Tour is my favorite time of the year because we get to showcase all of the hard work we did throughout the semester,” said Doane Choir president Karly Nitsch ’19. “It’s such a unique experience because instead of being in the same choir room everyday, we get to travel the world with some of our closest friends. Being a senior, I cherished every moment with these people because my time as a Soprano in the Doane Choir is coming to a close.”


In addition to performing at a number of different locations, there were lots of fun activities the students were able to participate in on the trip. Among them was the chance to climb Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, one of the most scenic hiking spots in the city. In addition, students were able to perform in front of Doane Alumni on a couple occasions, in Sedona and Phoenix. At each concert, the group invited any Doane Choir alumni member to join the students on stage to sing “Precious Lord.”


The Doane Choir Tour is a unique opportunity for students, as it is an annual trip with the majority of costs covered by the university. Last year, the Doane Choir went to Colorado and Wyoming.


“This year’s tour was really special,” said Riley Herringer ’20, Doane Choir vice president. “The spaces that we were able to sing in were absolutely beautiful. Meeting new people through making music is always a really cool experience.”


Host families often take in a number of Doane students throughout the trip. Most of the time the people who offer up their homes are those who belong to a church that the choir sings at during the tour.


“They’re all so generous,” Herringer said. “It’s an annual reminder of how much good there is in the world.”


The choir primarily performed in churches during the tour, but they also were able to perform at Taliesin West, the former winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and current home of the Frank Lloyd Foundation. The choir also did a impromptu “performance” in the hallway of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, which can be seen on the Doane University Music Department Facebook page. Among the more scenic places the choir performed was at the Church of the Red Rocks in Sedona.


In Santa Fe, Dr. Bradley Ellingboe directed one of the songs at the concert, the same song he composed for his son’s wedding, which was also on Doane’s set list for the year. The choir was able to have a clinic with him, allowing the group to help bring the piece to life.


“Doane Choir is such a special group,” Herringer said. “The memories from these tours will stay with us for a long time. Dr. Runestad always says, ‘There are a lot of things that are wrong with this world, but choir is never one of them.’”


“This tour reflected that so much when we were able to share the beautiful sights and sing together. Doing our little bit of good for the world is something that we love to do together, even if it’s just singing a song.”


Nitsch says that this year’s tour allowed the choir to bond even more closely as a group than what it already was.


“I love the quote that Dr. Runestad always says, ‘Leave as a choir, return as a family.’ That was definitely true for our group this year. I can’t imagine another group of people that I would want to be on this trip with. Knowing that each singer is as passionate about music as I am makes this even more worthwhile.”


For more information on Doane’s music department, visit