Choir travels to Michigan and plans for more trips

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The choir prepares for a weekend in Michigan. (Photo by Yonathan Moya)

The Bethel College Concert Choir recently traveled six hours away from Bethel’s campus for a retreat. The choir traveled to Elkton and Lowell, Michigan where they performed for two Missionary churches Nov. 7 and 8.

Concert Choir director Bob Ham was pleased with the weekend retreat.

“It was a wonderful experience in terms of musicianship, relationships and public ministry,” said Ham.

Audiences of the choir will notice something different about the choir from last year. And that is the number and types of voices. Most choirs are made up mostly of women. Ham believed they were going to lose ten of his male vocalists and began to pray for fifteen new men to join. He ended up losing fifteen, but was blessed with eighteen new male faces.

“I’ve never had that many men audition for choir, let alone join,” Ham said.

Having that number of men helps balance out the sound of the women. The sopranos and altos are talented this year and the new men will sing with more confidence, depth and maturity of tone. The freshmen also have made a huge contribution to the choir. Ham is looking forward to working with them in the coming years.

Ham has been directing the Concert Choir and the A cappella vocal group Voices of Triumph for many years. He said he enjoys many aspects of his occupation, especially teaching students great choral literature, and to glorify God with that music.

“If I am able to do so,” he said. “I love to teach about performing with excellence....doing the best they can do, with grace in their hearts, unto the Lord,”

The choir is a group of students who sing to the Lord.

“As a group I’d love to see the choir grow deeper in their faith through the music we sing,” Ham said.

His goals are to teach the students to be better vocalists, helping them learn to sight-read and perform. Ham also wants to introduce them to different eras and styles of music.

The next big project for the choral department is the Christmas concert which will be held Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center. The theme this year is “The Whole World Rejoices” and will feature music in a variety of languages and will incorporate scripture readings in different languages by international Bethel students and faculty.

Some of the pieces that will be featured are sung in Spanish, Hebrew and German, accompanied by a variety of other songs.

Trips next semester will include concerts at Woodburn Missionary Church, Brenneman Memorial Missionary Church and at the First Presbyterian Church in New Carlisle. In addition, the annual choir tour trip will be to Washington and Oregon in the first week of May.

The choir is accompanied by Dr. Rob Rhein, who has also written a piece with which the winter program will be opened.

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