Under the direction of Vance George, award-winning conductor and Goshen College alumnus, the GC choirs will perform a concert with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at 7 p.m. Sunday in Sauder Concert Hall.
George graduated from GC in 1955 with a double major in voice and piano. He studied under the tutelage of Mary Oyer and later continued his education at Indiana University to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in conducting. Most recently, George was honored with a 2011 Culture for Service Award from the Goshen College Alumni Board.
Two years after George graduated from Goshen College, he spent three years in alternative service as a conscientious objector to the Korean War teaching music at Woodstock School in northern India. He also taught at North Side Middle School in Elkhart, Ind., for two years.
After graduate school, George taught music at University of Wisconsin in Madison, and continued the next seven years of his music career as the assistant conductor for the Cleveland Symphony.
In 1983, George became the conductor for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. During his tenure, the chorus won four Grammy Awards and its first Emmy Award.
Now, George is director emeritus of the chorus and travels the country as a guest conductor and workshop leader.
“Coming back here and working with the college students is like coming home for me,” said George about returning to his alma mater.
On Sunday, George will perform Fauré’s “Requiem” and other choral pieces by Bach, Copland and Hayden. This will be one of more than 400 performances by the Toledo Symphony Orchestra this year and will be a part of the Goshen College Performing Arts Series.
George records in his performance notes that “a Requiem Mass is simply a long prayer commemorating those who have died.” He continues, “Fauré’s choice of texts expresses his religious beliefs in this gentle and consoling composition.”
“I really like singing the Fauré. It’s my favorite piece we’re doing,” said Brook Hostetter, a junior. “I feel really privileged being a part of a group singing such a beautiful piece of music.”
The GC choirs will put in more hours of rehearsal than usual in preparation for the performance this weekend. In addition to regular weekly rehearsals, time on Saturday and Sunday is scheduled for the choirs to perfect the musical pieces with George.
Jay Mast, a senior, will be in the performance on Sunday. “It’s going to be a weekend of choir,” he said. “The music is hard and it requires a lot of work.”
Before this weekend, George has made a few visits to Goshen to rehearse the pieces with the choirs. “He’s not afraid to say what he thinks,” said Mast. “He expects greatness.”
Non-package tickets for the performance cost $45, $40 or $25. Any unsold tickets will be available at the door on Sunday, but all tickets are available for purchase in advance at the GC Welcome Center or online at www.goshen.edu/tickets.
By Quinn Brenneke