NameSigvart Julius Steen
Birth26 Mar 1900, Clinton, Minnesota
Death20 Dec 1968, Staten Island, New York
BurialClinton, Minnesota
OccupationChoir Director, College Professor
Flags%CoreFam, Linked, Thumbnail, [FamLabel], [Gen09], [GenYes]
FatherOlai Steen (1873-1961)
MotherCaroline Anna Storeim (1877-1964)
Birth29 Mar 1918, Chicago, Illinois
Baptism2 Jul 1918, St. Pauls Church, N. Orchard St. & Kemper Pl., Chicago, Illinois
Lived1920, 1924 Orchard St., Chicago, Illinois
Lived1950, 8 Starlight Road, Staten Island, NY
Lived1980, 116 Yankee Pt. Drive, Carmel, California
Death12 May 2014, Cupertino, California
Burial13 Sep 2014, Pacific Ocean, Yankee Pt, California
OccupationOpera Singer; Voice Teacher
EducationDiploma, 1935, Nichoas Senn High School, Chicago; American Conservatory of Music, Chicago
MiscellanyAlso Called "Mimi.” See for recordings of her singing and additional biographical details.
FatherGottlieb Mayer (1885-1964)
MotherLillian Margaret Greiner (1889-1938)
Marriage26 Jan 1946, Chicago, Illinois
Biography notes for Sigvart Julius Steen
See for an extended biography of Sigvart J. Steen” by his son Richard S. Steen.


Sig graduated from Luther College in 1923 whee he was a member of the Luther College Band. After graduation, he studies at the Luther Theologiical Seminary in St. Paul (1923-25), at St Olaf College (1925-26 & 1929-30) where he sang in the St. Olaf Choir and received a B.M. degree under F. Melius Christiansen.

Before WW II, Sig founded and directed the choir at Park Region Luther College, studied at the University of Berlin, and taught music and directed the choir at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. During the war he served as Lietenant Commander in the U.S. Navy (1942-46) where he first directed the Blue Jackets Naval Choir at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station in Chicago and and then coordinated entertainment and recreational progams for troops in the South Pacific theater.

After the war, Sig taught at Luther College (1946-48) where he founded the Nordic Choir. He then moved to the newly constructed Levittown, NY where he studied for a Master’s degree at New York University. From 1949 until his death in 1968 Sig chaired the Music Department and conducted the choir at Wagner College on Staten Island, New York.

-- Ernest B. Steen, in Family Tree, 1981.
Obituary notes for Sigvart Julius Steen
Dr. Sigvart J. Steen of 8 Starlight Road, Grymes Hill, director of the Wagner College Choir for 19 years, died yesterday in Staten Island Hospital. He had been ailing one week.

A native of Clinton, Minn., Dr. Steen came to Staten Island in 1949 to assume the chairmanship of the Wagner college music department. Dr. Steen received his musical training at Luther college in Decorah, Iowa, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., New York University, and the University of Berlin. He received his doctorate in music from Ashland College in Northland, Wisconsin. Before coming to Wagner, he was a professor of music at both Luther and Northland Colleges.

From 1942 to 1946 Dr. Steen served with the Navy in the Pacific Theater as a lieutenant commander in charge of recreation and welfare. It was during his Navy years that he gained recognition as a choir director ans was appointed to lead the famous Blue Jackets Choir of the Great Lakes (Ill.) Naval Training Center.
When Dr. Steen came to Wagner College in 1949 he also took over the choir. In 1965 he relinquished his music department post to devote his services full-time to the choir.

The Wagner College Choir has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and has staged highly successful performances in New York City. Dr. Steen also was planning a European tour next summer.
Recognition of Dr. Steen’s distinguished service to Wagner College came in 1956 when the school’s Choir Alumni Association created as annual scholarship in his name.

Dr. Steen was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national mens’ honor society; Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, and the American Association of University Professors.

Dr. Steen’s wife Margery is a professor of music at Wagner College and an opera singer.

In addition to his wive he is survived by two sons, Lynn Arthur, of Northfield, Minn. and Richard S. of the home address; two brothers, the Rev. Ernest Steen of Madison, Wis. and Julian, of Fairmont, Minn., and two sisters, Mrs. Beatrice Boe of Eau Claire, Wis., and Mrs. Marie Malmberg of Duluth, Minn.

The funeral will be from the Harmon Funeral Home, West Brighton. There will be a service tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Zion Lutheran Church, Granitville. Burial will be in Clinton, Minn.

--Staten Island Advance, Saturday, December 21, 1968
Notes for Sigvart Julius Steen
See for Ernest Steen’s eulogy for his brother Sigvart.


Sig & his brother Ernest grew up on a farm in western Minnesota. Throughout his life he could recite the names of the horses they relied on for transportation and farmwork: Maggie, Daisy, Flossy, Rose; Nancy, Lily, Lady, Grace.


Sigvart Steen, Director of Conert Band and founder/director of Nordic Cathedral Choir for two years ... resigned abruptly when his wife, an opera singer, got a job with the New York Civic Center Opera.

-- Luther [College] Alumni Magazine, Spring 2005, p. 14 (in an article on the history of Luther College)
Last Modified 11 Sep 2012Created 6 Sep 2014 using Reunion for Macintosh