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75th Anniversary McPherson College Choir Concert

posted Oct 08, 2007 in ALUMNI

Sunday, October 14, members of the McPherson College Choir and choir alumni from across the country and Germany will join together to present a concert celebrating the choir’s 75th anniversary. The program begins at 2:00 p.m. in Brown Auditorium. The 200-voice mass choir will sing a retrospective of favorite pieces from the past 75 years. The public is invited and encouraged to attend; there is no admission charge.

Conducting the mass choir are three prior directors and current McPherson College director of choral activities, Dr. Steven Gustafson. Gustafson is the choir’s 12th conductor and a 28-year member of the college faculty. Representing the classes from the late 1940’s through the early 1970’s is conductor Dr. Doris Coppock, a McPherson resident, Professor Emerita of Health and Physical Education, and former director of both the Chapel and A Capella Choirs. Dr. Stephanie Graber, director from 1979-1986, currently is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Under Graber’s baton vocal music flourished and the choir numbered nearly 90 persons. From 1994-2000, 1983 alumnus Dr. Alan Gumm assumed leadership of the choir and continued to build the choral program. Presently he is Professor of Music Education at Central Michigan University. Each conductor will prepare and direct several pieces on the program.

The Sunday afternoon concert is the culmination of a three-day choir reunion and mass choir rehearsals. There are approximately one thousand living choir alumni from around the world, many of whom will be in McPherson for the celebratory event. According to Dr. Gustafson, “choir alumni are most passionate about the choir, often commenting that their experiences performing and touring with the choir are among their most significant memories of their undergraduate days at McPherson College.” Alumni staff have commented that this reunion has drawn some of the most significant alumni response of any special reunion to date with over 150 alumni planning on attending. The planning committee is delighted that two members from among the early choirs will be attending. They include Gulah Daron, a member of the very first choir and a 1934 graduate, and Laurene Selack, longtime McPherson resident and a 1937 graduate.

1932 A Capella Choir

A Capella Choir made its debut under Dr. Alvin “Cheesy” Voran on February 8, 1933, having rehearsed all fall semester to perfect the new sound. This new singing group was formed to expand the exposure of the college in the city and surrounding area through travel and concerts. Under the leadership of Voran, the choir gained state and regional recognition. Nevin Fisher (1936-46) and Donald Frederick (1946-1970) continued to build the choral tradition, touring yearly, with the exception of the World War II Years. Under the baton of later directors, the choir sang a more diverse repertoire of accompanied and a capella music.

Following the concert, the public is invited to a reception in Mingenback Threatre.

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