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The WLU Alumni Choir at Homecoming, 2015

The WLU Alumni Choir Makes Space for Music through generosity and song

The WLU Alumni Choir in the Keffer Memorial Chapel at Martin Luther University College during Homecoming 2015.


In 2021, the WLU Alumni Choir celebrated its 20th anniversary and its long history of giving to the Laurier music community. This year, the choir will proudly donate to the Making Space for Music campaign by naming a practice room in the new Savvas Chamberlain Music Building.

“For many years, the WLU Alumni Choir has supported Faculty of Music students through scholarships, as well as the donation of the grand piano in the Senate and Board Chambers,” says member Gord Burnett (BMus Performance Voice ’81, OpDip ’82). “Now, we’re encouraging our members, and all alumni, to consider donating to the Make Space for Music campaign, and be a part of history in the making.”

The WLU Alumni Choir has raised $25,000 for Making Space for Music and will be recognized by the naming of a large Chamber Ensemble Practice Studio located within the Carruthers Practice Studios on the second floor of the new building.

The room will be named after “Eileen Mercier and WLU Alumni Choir,” recognizing both the generosity of the choir and the long-term involvement in the choir of Laurier’s Chancellor and Faculty of Music booster Eileen Mercier (BA ’68, Hon LLD ’13).

“There is no project dearer to my heart than Making Space for Music,” says Mercier. “Not only did music play a large part in my undergrad experience, but the Alumni Choir has been a joyful addition to my later experience at Laurier. I want to give current and future students a beautiful space to practice and perform and I want to give the university a new front door that showcases our love of the arts.”

The location of the named room in the Carruthers Practice Studios, named after beloved former Dean of Music Glen Carruthers, who passed away in the winter of 2021, is meaningful to the choir as well.

“Dr. Glen Carruthers was an enthusiastic supporter of the WLU Alumni Choir,” says member Deborah Kuehnbaum (BA ’70).

Adds Burnett, “As Laurier’s Faculty of Music moves forward, we mourn the loss of Dr. Glen Carruthers, a proud supporter of the WLU Alumni Choir. But we also look to the future that Glen envisioned with great excitement and optimism.”

A proud history of philanthropy

“As a group we're initiative driven,” says member Bruce Armstrong (BBA ’72). “Give us an idea and, if we like it, we'll get right behind it. We're most proud of the two scholarships we've put in place … and now, the Making Space for Music campaign.”

The WLU Alumni Choir is proud of their history at Laurier, too.

“Over the past 20 years I have thought of the choir as a “mutual admiration society,” says member Kathy Mauer (BA ’72). “We have encouraged not only the Faculty of Music and our awards recipients, but we have also worked to encourage and support one another and, in doing so, we support the community.”

"Since its inception, the WLUAC has shown itself to be a five-star asset in the 'treasury' of the Laurier Faculty of Music. Not only has it provided direct financial assistance to a host of deserving singers, it has contributed significantly to the current building project, which will enhance the lives of all Music students. I'm proud to be a founding member of this intentional and ever-expanding community of singing alumni!" Daniel Lichti, WLU Alumni Choir Founder, Associate Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Music

Formed in 2001 as a reunion of former University Choir members from the 1960s and 1970s, they came together for a benefit concert to honour a former member who passed away in the 1980s. This concert would raise money for their first scholarship, the Keith Knights Memorial Award. The event was such a success that they continued, singing, socializing and fundraising together, and supporting the culture of music at Laurier across the generations. In the last 20 years, the choir has performed many times on campus and within the community, most notably every year at Homecoming. They also support the WLU Alumni Choir Voice Performance Scholarship.

Read more about the choir in the spring 2021 edition of Campus Magazine.

“Laurier awards give students like me a chance to focus on the reason we are here: academics – not finances. In a post-secondary setting, stress is already very high, especially if you are away from home. Having to decide between working or studying to succeed in your classes should not be the reality. It is awards such as the Keith Knights Memorial Award that help students like me afford basic living necessities and financial peace of mind while we focus on our education. This award has personally helped me so much and has given me a float to confidently support myself as I finish up this degree and begin my job search in the spring, and I cannot express my gratitude enough for this incredible gift.” Colin Watts, Music student, Year 4, Recipient of Keith Knights Memorial Award


Keith Knights (left) and Colin Watts (right)

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