This May, the Cairn Chorale embarked on their annual choir tour. This year’s tour focused on Christian schools in the greater Philadelphia and Washington, DC regions and included the Tall Oaks Classical School, Cumberland Valley Christian School, Annapolis Area Christian School Upper School, and Cornerstone Schools of Washington, DC. The 34-member Chorale presented a diverse program of choral music that was educational, edifying, and inspiring to all of their audiences, which numbered approximately 1,000 listeners. One young student remarked after hearing the choir, “they sound like angels!” The enthusiasm with which the Chorale’s presentations were received was evidenced by eager student engagement with the Chorale members following each performance, a large quantity of Cairn-branded merchandise being distributed, and 87 new inquiries from the high school upperclassmen asking for more information about the degree programs offered at Cairn.
The Chorale’s annual choir tour realizes multiple educational outcomes which are essential to the ensemble’s success, including: the individual and shared growth of the choir members’ professional poise and musicianship, the application of outcomes linked to their coursework through guided practice, and the application of the principles of service and ministry, all of which are in addition to their calling to represent Christ and the university with artistic distinction. Each performance provided opportunities to connect with Cairn alumni, friends, and prospective students. Alumni highlights on the tour included the Golden Grad celebration with the class of 1969 as they returned to campus for the spring commencement ceremony and a concert in Lancaster, PA that was attended by graduates spanning over 50 years, in addition to parents and grandparents of current students and former Cairn faculty members. The artistic achievements of the ensemble prompted the use of the afternoon of the final day of the tour to record much of the music included in their tour program. The providential opportunity to record in the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia allowed the ensemble to capture the artistic achievement of these talented singers. Please stay tuned as we work to make this recording available to everyone!
The artistic momentum of the Chorale continues to build under the direction of Dr. Steven McCollum. In addition to the new and well-received Choral Commute concerts, Lessons & Carols services, and targeted recruitment efforts of the annual domestic tours, in March of 2020 Dr. McCollum will lead the ensemble on a tour to Italy that will feature significant historical venues including the Roman Aqueduct, the Basilica of San Francesco, the Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica within the cities of Spoleto, Florence, Assisi, and Rome. International tours like this one offer the opportunity to expand the scope of Cairn’s professional exposure, but also promise to expand upon the educational outcomes embedded within Cairn University’s potent core curriculum; allowing our students to make educational connections in their learning as they experience the historical roots of our Western heritage. These experiences are essential as our students grow to understand the profundities to be mined in our historical journey and their present-day applications.
To learn more about the Chorale and other ensemble opportunities offered by the School of Music, visit cairn.edu/music.