Adrian R. M. Lauritzen
1907 - 2005
Adrian Lauritzen was born and raised in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area. Although not Adventists, his parents, impressed by Maplewood Academy, a private school run by the Seventh-day Adventists, sent him there for his high school education. He became interested in the church while at the academy and while attending Union College for one year after graduating from MWA became a member of the church.
A talented musician, he was invited at the end of that year to return to the academy and teach music (at a salary of $7 a month), an offer he accepted. While teaching there, he completed a bachelor's degree in music in 1935 and a master's degree in 1941at the MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis. During those years he developed a reputation as an outstanding musician and inspiring teacher. Bob Edwards, a member of the Voice of Prophecy Quartet, would later recall his time as a student at MWA while Lauritzen was there:
At Maplewood Academy we had an active, exciting music department. We students loved and respected Adrian Lauritzen, our music teacher, and most of us wanted to be in one or more of his musical organizations. He directed the academy choir (80 members out of 150 students), the band, the choral Club (by letter of invitation only), and the Male Chorus.
It was during this time that a talented pianist, Evelyn Sorensen, attended the academy. Her love of music and extensive involvement in it led to a friendship with Lauritzen. In 1942, two years after she graduated, they married and she returned to assist in teaching piano and voice. In 1944 they went to Union College where he served as head of the music department and she taught lessons.
In 1946, they returned to the Minneapolis area to be near his parents, who were having medical problems. While there, he was hired to teach music classes at MCM. He quickly established a reputation as a knowledgeable and organized teacher who also was effective in the classroom. Evelyn also taught at MCM during this time, giving lessons in voice.
They moved to the Chicago area in 1948 where Lauritzen began doctoral study at the Chicago Musical College. While there he studied piano with Rudolph Ganz, distinguished Swiss-American pianist, conductor, and composer, who encouraged him to pursue a career as a performer. Near the end of his graduate work, however, Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University, asked him to lead their music program, an offer he accepted in 1952. He was given a study-leave during the last half of that first year to complete his work at CMC, and in the spring of 1953 completed a D.Mus. Ed., becoming the first music teacher at SMC with a doctorate.
After teaching at SMC for five years, they returned to the Minneapolis area, where Adrian was invited to serve as the Dean of MCM, a position he held with distinction until 1966, when MCM merged with the University of Minnesota School of Music. At that time, he accepted the position of Coordinator of Central Advising for the departments of music and music education at the university and served in that capacity until 1984, when he retired at the age of 76.
He served as Minister of Music for 37 years at the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Minnesota. Additionally he directed the Minneapolis Metropolitan Choir, a large group composed primarily of Adventist musicians, for many years. His wife, Evelyn, was organ accompanist for the group.
An avid reader, Lauritzen also enjoyed research and writing. While serving as a music administrator at UM, he began to do research on the history of the music program at the university. The extent of his research and the time consumed in writing the book were eased by a reduced work load as the project neared completion. The result was a large, thorough and well-documented volume, one regarded as a model for future books about other programs at the school. When the 90th anniversary of the founding of MCM was observed in 1997, an event that coincided with Lauritzen's 90th birthday, he presented a history of that institution also, one that had taken two years to complete.
His first writing project had been a booklet on temperance prepared for the Illinois Temperance League while he was doing graduate study in Chicago. This was distributed throughout the state to students and as the reputation of its effectiveness spread, other states obtained and distributed it. This successful writing experience and others led years later to the UM and MCM historical overviews. Lauritzen's final writing project was a history of the SDA work in Minnesota, titled Saints of the Northern Star. It, like his other books, is a complete and detailed presentation. Because of illness, Lauritzen's son, Jeffrey, assisted in completing the book. It was released shortly after Lauritzen's death in the summer of 2005.
Sources: Interviews with Adrian, and his wife and son, Evelyn, and Jeffrey Lauritzen in 2004.
Maplewood Makes its Mark
Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
The road that led to Maplewood Academy made all the difference in Adrian Lauritzen's life and God used a non-Adventist farmer to point the way.
Adrian Launtzen first heard about Maplewood Academy around 1920, when his parents bought some acreage in the Maple Plain area in Minnesota. Since Adrian was an eighth grader in a local public school, his parents asked Mr. Hillstrom, the farmer who sold them the land, about high schools. Hillstrom, not a Seventh-day Adventist, highly recommended Maplewood Academy as an excellent school.
Adrian's parents soon set aside an afternoon and went to visit with the principal of Maplewood. He showed them around the campus and they were impressed. However, the principal may have been a bit concerned, as Mrs. Lauritzen noticed, when his parents mentioned that Adrian went each week to the theater.
His parents made the decision to send Adrian to Maplewood Academy, and he began his freshman year in the fall of 1921. Their home was about three miles from Maplewood, and Adrian rode his bicycle every day, except in bad weather. On those days his father took him in a horse-drawn wagon.
Adrian's mother was a Presbyterian, and his father a Lutheran. In fact, Adrian says, "Dad was so much of a Lutheran that he had an uncle who was a bishop of the Lutheran church in Norway. That's where I got the idea for the stamp which said, 'Be a good Lutheran.'" Adrian created this stamp and used it on the papers he turned in for classes at Maplewood. He says, "I did have a stamp, and I did stamp every single solitary paper I turned in, exhorting everybody to be a good Lutheran!"
One of the first things Adrian's mother told him when he began attending Maplewood was in reference to the Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. She pointed directly at him and said, "If you're going to make that decision, make sure you know what you are doing."
Adriann shared the spiritual experiences from those years in this way: "The influence of the faculty, the kids, they were different, they really were." One particular incident stood out in his memory. The school picnic was scheduled for a Sunday. Mr. Palmer, the principal, came into chapel a few minutes early and sat down beside Adrian. He spoke about the picnic and said, "Now I understand that you are a Lutheran, and if this goes against your religion, we will reschedule the picnic for another day of the week." Adrian later described Palmer in these words: "Talk about a prince! When I think about it I could just bawl. He was the kindest man." He would also observe:
I always had had an interest in religion, strangely enough, and I was very young. So in Maplewood Academy I was drenched with it. Bible classes, prayer bands ... when you think about it, that school was shining lights. It really was.
Adrian also remembered an incident in a Bible class taught by Elder Rohlkoetter. He was talking about acceptance of the faith. Adrian stood up in class and said, "I accept this faith." Elder Rohlkoetter baptized him in Lake Independence in 1925, the year Adrian graduated from Maplewood Academy.
But the story doesn't end there.
Adrian continued his education at Union College. One Friday afternoon when he came home from Union his mother came up to him and whispered in his ear, "We're being baptized tomorrow." Both of his parents were baptized and joined the Seventh-day Adventist church within a year of Adrian's graduation. Regarding his parents' decision, his mother said, "We got together alone and talked it through, prayed about it, and decided to become Seventh-day Adventists." This was a radical decision for them.
When asked about how much of a factor Maplewood Academy played in these decisions, Adrian quickly responded, "Absolutely complete! If it hadn't been for Maplewood, I would never have become an Adventist."
But the story still doesn't end there. Soon after he left Maplewood, Adrian became interested in speaking. He held a series of meetings in a First-day Adventist Church, as well as preaching for several years in various other churches. Non-Adventists came to him, knowing full well that he was an Adventist, and asked him to preach.
One year at camp meeting there was an outdoor baptism. Adrian stood on the bank with the other spectators. Suddenly he saw a woman coming up out of the water. She came straight toward him with a big smile. "I'll bet you're surprised!" she said. She had been to all his meetings for three years and had finally decided on her own to be baptized. She then visited some people in another state who were struggling to build a new church and provided the money for their church.
Besides the various preaching appointments, Adrian also returned to teach at Maplewood for over a decade, influencing many more students. "All that," Adrian reflected, "comes from Mother and Dad's decision to send me to Maplewood."
To sum it up in the words of Robert Frost:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, Mountain Interval, New York, Henry and Holt Company, 1921
Maplewood Makes its Mark is found in chapter 26 of Saints of the Northern Star, a book by Adrian R. M. Lauritzen, published posthumously in 2005. Vicky Lauritzen, his daughter-in-law, is the wife of Adrian's oldest son, Jeffrey.