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Gustavus J-Term 2021: Many Voices, Many Songs: Music, Culture, and Community in the American Northwest
Chelan, United States; Seattle, United States (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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Restrictions: Gustavus applicants only
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Dates / Deadlines:
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Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January Interim 2021 06/01/2020 06/01/2020 01/01/2021 01/21/2021
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
2.50 Program Design: Faculty led
Program Description:
Program Description:
Holden Village in the snow
Explore the connections among music, faith, and community in beautiful Washington state

  • Try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, winter hiking, and igloo-making in the incredible beauty of the Cascade mountains
  • Attend a wide variety of concerts and enjoy chances for music-making
  • Engage with the Tacoma Refugee Choir, Give Back Brass, and Nordic choirs.
  • Attend a variety of services in different faith communities in the Seattle area including Dagmawit Axiom Tsion (St. Mary's Orthodox Christian Church, primarily an Ethiopian-American community), St. Mark's Cathedral, Church of the Apostles (a joint venture between the Lutheran & Episcopal church and a non-profit arts organization), Valley and Mountain, and more.
  • You'll get to know the city and its public transportation system well, so there will be lots of opportunities for exploring. 
This class begins with a pilgrimage-like journey to the Holden Village retreat center. We'll take a 32 hour train trip across the Northern Plains to Wenatchee, Washington. We'll make our way to Chelan, WA and then take a 3 hour boat ride, and 45 minute bus ride up a mountain valley to the community of Holden. A former mining village turned Lutheran retreat center, Holden is a place like no other as it balances the incredible natural beauty of the Railroad Creek Valley with mountains, trees, wildlife, and incredible snow, with a group of people committed to living and working together to build and maintain community. While at Holden we'll immerse ourselves in the culture of this place (including the winter recreation), and look at the role music plays in the worship and social life of the Village. Then, after an intense and beautiful week we'll have an entirely different experience by exploring how music, faith, and community interface in the urban setting of Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a dynamic city that balances urban and natural environments and hosts a mosaic of cultures, races, and ethnicities. We'll visit and engage with the various musical communities and cultural groups in the Seattle area that produce the unique character of this charming city.

The Music, Faith, and Community course will focus on three main areas. First, we'll examine the premise that music, like faith, builds community. Second, we'll explore how musical communities build and maintain culture. Finally we'll look at the role and use of music in enlivening worship in a variety of faith traditions.

  • Seattle
  • Holden Village ( - watch this short video to get a sense of the Holden community in the winter)
  • Amtrak trip to get out to the Northwest! 
Academic Calendar
Expected dates
Fall 2020 TBD: orientation meetings on campus - Please contact Professor Cherland if you will be studying away in the fall.
Study away departure date: Jan 1, 2021
Study away return date: Jan 22, 2021

Faculty Leader
Elisabeth Cherland, MusicCherland
Elisabeth Cherland is a musician, teacher, story teller, and conductor, with research areas in music and community. She has lived in intentional communities at Holden Village and in Seattle as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and loves the Northwest. Immediately prior to coming to Gustavus, Elisabeth lived in Seattle for three years with her family where she completed graduate school and inhabited the Green Lake neighborhood. She can't wait to explore both Holden and Seattle with thoughtful and energetic Gusties. 

Anticipated accommodations will include single rooms at Holden Village and hotels or youth hostels in Chelan and Seattle.

Program Costs
The anticipated program fee will be between $4,300 and $4,700, depending on final enrollment and arrangements. The fee will cover roundtrip transportation from Minneapolis to Washington state; all lodging and local transportation in Washington, an average of two meals per day; and instruction, guides, activities, entrance fees and excursions. Students should budget about $200 to $300 for one meal per day and personal expenses.Holden candle light

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 15, 2020. 

Entry visas / travel documents
Visas are not necessary for domestic study away programs. Students should make sure that their state-issued IDs are Real ID-compliant (for TSA) or plan to travel with a valid passport. Please contact CICE if you have questions about this requirement.
The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.Holden Village Community

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