Written by Kelli Totton. Media by Denee Menghini.
As many GC students were preparing to head home or to tropical destinations for spring break, forty-three students, accompanied by Dr. Jeff Wilson and Professor Sarah Todd, loaded up on a charter bus and started off on a ten-day journey across Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana. This marked the beginning of the 87th annual Greenville Choir Spring Choir Tour.
The tour program for the Choir this year was based on The Collect for Purity, a prayer usually read during communion, and entitled “Almighty and Everlasting God.” Each section of the program focused on a different part of the prayer as well as the different characteristics of God and our relationship with Him. The musical selections in each section varied from famous, classic composers like Bach, Billings, and Howells, to more local composers like Greg Delamarter and James and Wilma Wilson. The program also included an array of languages including Latin, German, French, and English. GC choral students have been working on many of these pieces since the beginning of the year, so Tour is the culmination of a semester and a half’s hard work.
Tour started out this year in Champaign, IL at Mattis Avenue Free Methodist Church. This was a great way to start off Tour since both Dr. Wilson and Prof. Todd had close connections to the church. Dr. Wilson served as youth pastor at Mattis Avenue FMC while completing graduate school at the University of Illinois. Also, he and his wife, Pam, were married at the church. Prof. Todd also holds Mattis Avenue FMC close to her heart because it is her home church where her parents are still active. The next day the Choir traveled to the Chicago area for two days and had concerts at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, IL and at Christ Community Church in Zion, IL.
By Sunday night, the Choir was in Michigan. Our first stop was at Hudsonville High School for a choral exchange with the three choirs from the school. During this time, Dr. Wilson worked with the high school choir and the GC Choir then sang for the high school students. The Choir then went to Georgetown United Methodist Church in Jenison, MI for an evening concert that was opened by Hudsonville High School’s Varsity Choir. GC Choir had a special connection to both stops in Jenison. GC Choir alum, Alex Barringer, was the accompanist for the Hudsonville High School choirs as well as the Worship Director at Georgetown UMC. The next stop in Michigan also held sentimental value for the choir. We traveled to Marshall, MI, hometown of choir member Josh Webb, for another high school choral exchange as well as a concert at Marshall United Methodist Church.
After driving through snow, we arrived in Indiana on Wednesday afternoon for a concert at the beautiful North Indy United Methodist Church in downtown Indianapolis. The following day, we performed at Bedford Free Methodist Church in Bedford, IN. We concluded our tour of Indiana at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey. In addition to singing a concert in the evening, we also had a guided tour of the Archabbey, visited the gift shop, and participated in noonday prayer. We officially concluded GC Choir Tour 2014 at the Greenville Free Methodist Church on Sunday, March 16th.
It might seem like Choir Tour is a lot of work, which it is, but we also have the opportunity to do some fun things as well. We were able to spend time exploring downtown Chicago, visiting Lloyd Ganton’s car collection at Ye Old Carriage Shoppe, shopping at a mall, visiting Indiana University’s School of Music, and even having soda and pizza with the monks at St. Meinrad’s. While there is a good balance of both work and play, choir tour is much bigger than just performances and fun stops. Choir Tour is all about ministry. As Choir members, we have the opportunity to minister to others not only through our singing, but also at the host homes that we stay at. We also can reach out to potential students and show them what attending Greenville College is like. In short, choir tour is about strengthening community relationships. Within the Choir, friendships are created and strengthened. Outside of the choir, alumni have the chance to reconnect with the College. And most importantly, as believers, we have the opportunity to minister to one another and worship our Father as brothers and sisters in Christ.