HILLSBORO, Kan. — Tabor College continues to send its students across the U.S. to share music with communities during spring break.
The Concert Choir has been performing a spring tour since the 1950s. For the past 16 years, it has performed under the direction of Brad Vogel, professor of choral music.
This year, the Concert Choir traveled March 14-23 to five states and performed 11 concerts with the theme “I Lift My Voice.”
“The voice is a primary means of communicating our relationship with God, in both song and speech,” Vogel said. “The texts of the songs divide into three modes of communication: praise, prayer and proclamation. Each song is either a setting of scripture or a personal expression of relationship with God.”
The tours connect with Tabor constituents and provide performance experiences and service opportunities.
“I believe the choir represents well the ethos of Tabor College as a place of mission and educational excellence,” Vogel said. “They perform at a high level but do so in order to enrich the lives of people through the beauty of sound and the richness of sacred texts.”
Freshman Ellen Janzen called the choir tour an “incredible first experience.”
“I had such a great week being able to sing and worship as a group, while developing strong bonds with individual members of the choir,” she said.
Music is also a great way to interact with people who already know Jesus Christ and potentially with those who do not.
Cheyenne Derksen, a junior, said “choral music is a good starting point for conversation with our host families or even with each other, but that initial step opens the door for other similarities we would never have made with hosts.”
Closer to the Lord
The Concerto Bella Voce Women’s Choir embarked on its second annual tour March 16-23. The women traveled to six churches and schools in four states.
Composed of 19 women under the direction of Janie Brokenicky, the group shared their musical talents and love of Christ with the theme “Lift Thine Eyes.” It was also a time for the women to become closer to the Lord.
“On tour, we are able to pray as a group and for each other on a daily basis,” Brokenicky said. “Tour is a fantastic way to grow a spiritual bond in addition to lasting friendships.”
Singing in Mennonite Brethren churches is a blessing for Brokenicky and her students.
“Since I did not attend Tabor as an undergraduate student, I love the opportunity to visit Mennonite Brethren churches along the way and especially have conversations with Tabor alumni who sang in the choir under past directors,” she said.
Senior Cora Ruhl found the tour to be beneficial for nurturing friendships.
“I have deepened my relationships with the other girls,” she said. “Developing relationships and sightseeing were fun, but the most meaningful part of the tour for me was being able to share my love of music with those we met.”
Tabor is sending another group on tour at the end of April. The Symphonic Band and Chamber Strings will take their annual spring tour April 25-28, performing in the Kansas City area and Shawnee, Leavenworth, Topeka and Manhattan. The theme is “Bright Shining as the Sun,” based on the lyrics of “Amazing Grace.”
Under the direction of interim director of instrumental music Larry Ediger, the band will perform classics such as Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” and sacred songs such as “A Mighty Fortress,” “Amazing Grace,” “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling” and “Deep River.”