Donald Morrison Receives Award from Augustana College

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Donald Morrison, Rock Island, Ill., was honored by Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., at the college's annual alumni association awards banquet on May 19, 2012.

Morrison received the Honorary Alumni Award. The Honorary Alumni Award is presented to friends of Augustana who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the college. Recipients are considered honorary alumni of Augustana and members of the Alumni Association. This is not an honorary degree.

Morrison, director of the Augustana Choir from 1966-1993, taught choir members about music and about life. In rehearsals, he introduced different music styles and composers, as he shaped the group into a unified choral ensemble. He shared the history and contexts in which pieces were written, as he helped students to discover the relevance of the pieces in their own lives. Morrison also allowed choir members to experience the unexpected emotional and spiritual elements that could bring them to tears in their performances. And whether they were music majors, business majors or biology majors, Morrison taught everyone that each of them had a voice-and their voice mattered.

When the choir stepped on the risers for a performance, whether in a rural church in Iowa or on the stage of Chicago's Orchestra Hall, the students were poised, polished and professional. When they went on tour and performed the same program for several weeks in a row, Morrison would remind his vocalists that "this" performance was the only one that "this" audience would hear, so the choir owed their guests its best effort. He taught students the invaluable lesson of striving for excellence in all they did, whether it was for themselves or others.

Morrison received his B.M. degree from Drake University in 1953 and an M.S.M. degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1957. He also studied at the University of Southern California, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oakbrook University. He received the Phi Mu Alpha Sinphonia Fraternity Orpheus Award in 1993.

Augustana honors Morrison for his extraordinary achievements and national recognition in choral conducting and his role as a 27-year ambassador for the college.