March 13, 2013

{A Night of Choral Music is} Good for the Soul

Monday evening was the fruition of many months of planning. The Spring Arbor University Chamber Choir -- of which I am an alum -- came to our cute little village to put on a concert in our historic church sanctuary. It was a fantastic success! 

My beloved choir director, Dr. Livesay, contacted Kevin and me after receiving our Christmas letter and realizing we were in the area of the choir's spring tour. We emailed back and forth for the subsequent months, filling in details. I worked hard recruiting gracious hosts to house the 40 students overnight and cooks who would bring dishes for the pre-concert student potluck. The meal was fantastic, filling us all to the brim with a wonderful assortment. (Special thanks to the Smiths for helping me clean up and make coffee in that new-fangled coffee maker from the 70s.) Dear friends of mine who own the local Bed and Breakfast generously offered to house the choir director and the bus driver as a "home stay," and so many church and piano studio families made for great hotels for the rest of the crew. 

It was my job to find a set of choir risers, as the touring bus didn't have room for them to bring their own. Thanks to my connections with the local music teachers, I received permission straight from the superintendent to borrow the primary-colored elementary school risers. I am so grateful for their willingness to trust us with school property and for the help I received from my husband, Greg, Tom and Mike in loading and unloading, loading and unloading the risers.  

My marketing skills were tested as I attempted to fill our sanctuary with an expectant audience for a choral concert on a Monday evening. It was a wonderful turnout of 90-100, doubling my estimations! Every single attendant - young and old - only had positive remarks to make after the soul-stirring hour of music. 

This song, In Remembrance by Jeffery Ames, was one we sang when I was in the choir from 2004-2008. It's quite moving, expressing the grief and prayers of one dealing with death.
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine (Let eternal light shine upon them, Lord). O God, my God, why hast thou forsaken? My tears linger at night, but joy comes in the morning light. Lord, in your infinite mercy, grant them rest. Rest forevermore. 

I heard endless stories from students and hosts alike detailing their time together from 8pm to 9am Tuesday morning. Many of us were up way past our bedtimes, enjoying good conversation, spontaneous singalongs, and rowdy board games. Kevin and I were blessed with time to rekindle relationships with the wonderful Renee Runyon, choir accompanist and personal friend, and two students who have been Eccles family friends for 2 decades. Dr. Livesay was wonderful to talk with, asking about my sister and honestly caring about my life. SAU is truly a community not just an institution of higher education. The professors are invested in our lives, not just for those 4 years, for all these years (5) later. 

I am SO thrilled with the outcome of the SAU Chamber Choir Concert I hosted at Albion Free Methodist Church last night, and so proud that, onceuponatime, I was a part of that group of vocal musicians. The Music Department at Spring Arbor is truly remarkable, and though I was a Philosophy/Religion major, I spent many hours in that building, practicing piano for my lessons with Mrs. Heydenburg, rehearsing with the choir, worshiping with the Wellspring team, and auditioning for scholarships and solos. I cherish those times.  

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