Augustana College Choir alumni mourn former conductor

April  01, 2013

A choral music "legend" in the Quad Cities has died. 81 year old Don Morrison directed the Augustana Choir and Handel Oratorio Society. He died on Friday in Rock Island.

Jon Hurty, Director of Choral Activities, says Morrison was the second director of the college choir after Henry Veld founded it in 1931. Morrison held the position from 1966 to 1993 and continued several traditions, such as the annual performances of Handel's Messiah. "He put his stamp on them. It's a tribute to him that he continued a sense of excellence for the choir and oratorio society."

Last spring, the Augustana Alumni Association gave Morrison its Honorary Alumni Award, and in 2011 he returned for a choir reunion and performance. Hurty says, "He connected with students and singers personally and emotionally. Many remember him fondly not only as a great musician, but also as a great person."

The Handel Oratorio Society will dedicate its April 20th performance of Brahms' Requiem to Morrison.

Arrangements are pending at Wheelan Pressley Funeral Home in Rock Island.