WLU Alumni Choir Timeline: Part Four

"With Light Unfailing"

In the fall of 2011, the WLU Alumni Choir commissioned Dr. Len Enns, an alumnus, to compose a piece for the University Choir in celebration of the Laurier's 100th anniversary. This was not an unusual request, for in the early days of the choir, prior to the establishment of the Faculty of Music, the Department of Music frequently commissioned pieces by Canadian composers which were premiered by the Waterloo Lutheran University Choir.

Dr. Glen Carruthers had been at the helm of the Faculty of Music for a little over a year. He made an effort to get to know the WLU Alumni Choir and fully supported its endeavor that year, support which continued on over the next ten years. His door was always open and he encouraged and supported the choir in their ongoing efforts.

The picture above was taken at the reception held prior to the performance and includes members who both sang in the choir and offered support from the audience. Also pictured are three recipients of the Keith Knights Memorial Award and the WLU Alumni Choir Voice Performance Scholarship.

The cover of the Homecoming Service program for 2012. It has pictures of a woman smiling while reading the Bible, the choir performing, an image of the Earth on top of a seedling and a man smiling.

Homecoming Service program, 2012. View the full program.

A choir singing, wearing black and white, while a person plays the piano, and others sit at tables with refreshments and watch. There are big windows letting a lot of light in.

The 2013 Founder’s Luncheon. The grand piano is a gift from the WLU Alumni Choir to the university. 

A choir of about 30 young and older people wearing black and white, posed at the front of a church, photographed from above.

The 2015 Homecoming church Service at the Keffer Chapel, with conductor Carolyn Neumann VanderBurgh pictured front row far right.

A group of about 25 young and older people singing, with the conductor's back to the audience. The room is dark, has balloons in Laurier colours, a Laurier Alumni sign and a shiny parquet floor.

2018 Purple and Gold Dinner.

A poster for the performance titled "Messiah in May!" with a painted portrait of George Frideric Handel.
A poster for the performance titled "Mozart Mania" with a drawn portrait of Mozart.

Singing draws people together. This is a key feature that I have observed during my time with the WLU Alumni Choir. For me, the WLU Alumni Choir is a group of people drawing together who have a history of studying at Laurier and singing in common.

Being a more recent graduate than others, I have had the privilege of being involved in some of the newer projects of the WLU Alumni choir starting in 2012. I particularly wanted to mention two large projects: Mozart Mania (2016) and Messiah in May (2018). The goal of these projects was to expand the activities and profile of the WLU Alumni Choir and to reach newer alumni. Key to each project was the involvement of as many alumni from various years of graduation as possible. In a usual concert, there is one conductor and one group of soloists. In order to highlight the amazing achievements of Laurier Faculty of Music graduates, each project had several conductors and many different soloists in addition to choir members. Conductors and soloists were also part of the choir (which again is unusual). The event brought together people who “do” music on the side as part of their lifestyle with people who “do” music as a career.

Carolyn Neumann VanderBurgh (MBus ’95) (conductor since 2012) 

The WLU Alumni Choir joined the University Choir to sing at the 2016 installation of WLU Alumni Choir member Eileen Mercier as Chancellor at spring convocation, with Professor Lee Willingham conducting. Ms. Mercier came down and joined the choir when they sang. This convocation also marked the retirement of former Laurier President Max Blouw. 

A group of nine people wearing Sunday clothes  posed at the front of a church, with a man in a Bishop's robe and mitre.

From the early 2000s, the WLU Alumni Choir members attending a small Anglican church service in York Credit Valley where one member led the service once every year or two. WLU Alumni Choir members joined in song with the small rural choir.

The WLU Alumni Choir sometimes calls itself  a “mutual admiration society." They encourage not only the Faculty of Music and awards recipients but also one another. They often attend and promote each other's events, productions and religious services, including student award recipient performances. It is yet another way that the WLU Alumni Choir generously builds and celebrates community.