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Monday, Oct. 10, 2016


Centenary Choir

Centenary Choir returns with ‘Rhapsody in View’

Centenary Choir will celebrate their 75th anniversary with a special performance “Rhapsody In View.” Presented by the Downtown Shreveport Lions Club, “Rhapsody in View” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Shreveport Riverview Theater, located at 500 Clyde Fant Parkway.

“Rhapsody in View” will be one part current choir and one part reunion concert accompanied by alumni. “The music is mainly choir favorites from over the years, but as always, literally Bach to Broadway,” Dr. Davis Hobson, director, said. “It’s grand, festive, profound, entertaining – all wrapped into one concert.”

Hobson began directorship of the Centenary College Choir in the fall of 2007, becoming only the fourth conductor in the choir’s 75-year history and the second to hold the prestigious A.C. "Cheesy" Voran Chair.

His favorite part of his job is the students. “Choirs naturally lend themselves to a collaborative spirit, but it’s particularly accentuated in the philosophy of the Centenary Choir,” Hobson said. “The first director, A.C. ‘Cheesy’ Voran, emphasized ‘liberating the personality into self-actualization’ and promoted a teamwork atmosphere of accountability and trust among the students. It’s a real joy to watch the students grow as people and choral musicians over the course of their time in choir, and take pride in the ownership of the mission and purpose of the choir itself.”

Dr. Will K. Andress, director emeritus of the Centenary College Choir, was director of the choir for 33 years, serving from 1971 to 2007.

“I felt it was the job of the choir to represent and promote the college, to represent the good values of our heritage and faith, to provide an uplift for the audiences wherever we traveled and to give the students one of the very best times of their lives, both culturally and educationally,” Andress said.

“Under the leadership of Dr. David Hobson, I see only continued growth been a member.”

Goins, whose wife, three children, son-in-law, brother, niece and nephew were also choir members, hopes the choir will keep its many traditions as the years pass. “Very few organizations stay in existence for this long,” Goins said. “The reunions and anniversaries throughout the years are fun and keep you in contact with fellow alums.”

David Langston, who was a choir member for five years, is especially looking forward to the reunion performance. “This reunion will be a special one for me,” Langston said. “My daughter just graduated from Centenary and was also in the Centenary College Choir. Not only will I get to visit and sing songs that will cause the memories to flow alongside so many friends that I sang in the choir with over 33 years ago, but I will also have the joy and new experience of singing with my daughter for the first time – as equal graduates that have experienced the same traditions that has allowed the choir to share beautiful music and experiences for people all over the world.”

For Langston, the joy of the choir is about much more than the music. “Imagine being surrounded by a large group of individuals that have incredible singing talent, and when brought together, they create a sound, a utopia where you aren’t just singing an song, you become the instrument,” Langston said. “And somehow, under the direction of one, all those voices join together to create a harmony that is so beautiful, that for a while, it feels as if heaven has enveloped the room.”

A few of Langston’s favorite songs from his choir years include “Dry Bones” that is performed every year, along with “Tenebrae factae sunt.”

“The song we sang that became a tradition as we encircled the audience was ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ at the end of each concert,” Langston said. “Regardless as to how many times you sing it, it is a genuine way the choir members would musically offer thanks and ask blessings for those in the audience that will be going back to their daily routines.”

The anniversary of the choir is a time where Langston and other alumni can regroup with the individuals who shared special experiences. “It’s a reunion of a family of vocalists that have a bond that will never be broken,” Langston said.

The concert will benefit the Centenary Choir, the Lion’s Club Camp and the Lion’s Eye Research Foundation. Tickets are $15 in advance at Porters Cleaners, The Hurley School of Music or by calling 429-6887. Tickets cost $17 at the door. For more information on the choir, visit www.centenary.edu/ choir/.

Betsy St. Amant


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