Emily Pawlowski | A&E Editor
This Saturday, over 100 alumni will travel from all parts of the country and beyond to perform at Taylor University once again.
The Taylor Chorale and Sounds will present 23 years of musical excellence April 27, at 1:30 p.m., with their first ever reunion concert. Students and alumni alike will perform together in Rediger Auditorium for all to enjoy.
"I'm excited to see these alums and to reconnect," JoAnn Rediger, professor of music and director of Chorale and Taylor Sounds, said. "When I look at their names it is as if they never left. We remember the tours and the music that we performed and I am just filled with gratitude that they would come back."
The concert, "Chords of Love," will present some of the most popular songs the Chorale has performed under Rediger's leadership. There will be a mix of solo and ensemble pieces, featuring both alumni and current students.
Many of the alumni soloists will be returning to sing songs from their own school days. These songs were often performed while the Chorale was on tour abroad, adding a greater significance to their memory.
For some, like Mark Statler ('10), this concert is a reminder of what an influence music can be.
"It was always amazing during our concerts on this tour to see that despite the language barrier, music was able to make such an impact on the people who came to listen," Statler said. "God was able to do some amazing things through the music we performed at these churches and community centers!"
But not all of the songs are a part of the Chorale's history. "It's All I Have to Bring Today," by Emma Lou Diemer, has never been sung by the Chorale before. In fact, it has never been performed by anyone. It was commissioned especially for this concert, in honor of Rediger's career at Taylor and upcoming retirement.
Rediger's retirement has also been the inspiration for the concert itself.
The idea originated at a music conference, where Rediger ran into Statler and Reed Spencer ('11), two of her former students.
"When we found out that Dr. Rediger would be retiring at the end of this year, we knew there had to be some way for the broader Taylor community to celebrate her and the impact she has had on students for so many years," Statler said.
That motivation inspired the idea for an alumni concert. Such a thing has never been done before, at least in the 23 years Rediger has led the Chorale.
From there, Rediger organized the variety of music from her time as conductor, and reached out to alumni. Many agreed to come, and even more sent their well wishes and messages of support to the current Chorale.
On Friday, April 26, the alumni will arrive on campus to spend the day practicing with the Chorale and spending time with the students.
"This is a unique opportunity that the current Chorale gets to be a part of, and I know it will be an enriching weekend getting to sing and spend time with previous Chorale members," senior Claire Heyen said.
Rediger is excited for the current Chorale to have the chance to meet former members. She says it will be a positive and uplifting experience for all involved.
Overall, those involved see it as a way to unite in honor of their shared director and their love of music.
"While there seems to be so much in this world that can divide us, music, especially as an expression of faith, is one of the few mediums through which we can find unity and peace," senior Emily Zilz said.