On Friday, Feb. 24, Goshen College’s Chamber Choir will kick off a weeklong tour spreading love across churches, colleges and high schools in Illinois, Kansas and Iowa.The theme of this year’s tour is “Lead with Love,” named after the final song of the repertoire by Melanie DeMore. Other songs of the tour also connect to the theme of love in many forms: love of God, neighborly love and even love of country through a Ukrainian hymn.
According to Chamber Choir director and music professor Scott Hochstetler, “‘Lead with Love’ helps us focus on being a leader for people instead of against people. It’s a fun song that gets audiences involved.”
Other pieces in the repertoire cover a wide range of musical genres and topics. The tour includes a segment of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, several selections from cultures worldwide, a variety of hymns and much more.
Traveling with Hochstetler and the 38 members of Chamber Choir are Marcia Yost, who planned and coordinated the tour, Dr. H. Roz Woll, who is featured repeatedly in the repertoire, piano accompanist Ana Yoder Coulter and her family, and admissions counselor Kellam Venosky who will be promoting GC at various high school stops.
According to Hochstetler, the tour across the Midwest made sense because GC choirs had not been there for a while. “The last time we did this sequence of churches was the second Vox tour I took, so 2010,” he said.
After swinging through Normal, Illinois, the group will continue west to Kansas City, Hillsboro and Hesston in Kansas, Iowa City and Kalona in Iowa, and then loop back through Illinois with a final day in Chicago. The choir will perform in a variety of churches and high schools, and community members will host the singers.
Hochstetler is looking forward to seeing the choral transformation that the tour brings. “There’s nothing like a tour to bring things into sharp focus,” he said. “It absolutely increases our musicianship.”
Senior writing and music major Gussie Nafziger gave her thoughts on the upcoming tour. “Chamber Choir is a really fun group, and I think that all of the people in it are going to make this tour very special! I hope that we bring people joy with our music and don’t break anything important in our host families’ homes.”
Sophomore bass Dontaye Albert added, “I’m excited to get out of town for the week and the music is pretty good.”
Throughout the tour, members of the choir will blog about experiences that the choir has along the way. The blog can be found on the choir tour page on the GC website.
Chamber Choir will perform a home concert to finish their tour in Sauder Concert Hall on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.
“We want to share our transformation with everyone in our home space,” explained Hochstetler. “I want people to be moved.”