Written by Madison Meeks.
The Harding University choral groups had not performed live in over a year, until last Friday, March 26.
The live concert consisted of the Harding chorus singing five songs and the concert choir singing five songs, concluding with a song together.
“Whenever I was picking out songs, I was drawn to text and songs that were about singing because it is something that we haven’t been able to do collectively,” director of choral activities and concert choir Dr. Susan Shirel said. “The ways that we have been singing [are] not normal, and the songs we [sang] about [were] about the joys of singing, such as the folk hymn ‘How Can I Keep from Singing.’ These songs [encouraged] all of us to keep singing through these challenging times.”
Shirel said the running theme among the songs was simply about singing.
“It has been very powerful for the students, as an ensemble, to connect to these songs,” Shirel said. “I [was] really excited for the opportunity to share these songs. This [was] the one public performance that these two groups [performed in] this entire academic year, which makes it all the more special.”
Senior Alina Westbrook said singing together is a reminder of the truth found in God.
“There is so much excited energy in the room when we rehearse together,” Westbrook said. “We find so much joy in singing songs of praise and getting to sing these songs together. Through the most difficult moments, these songs are a great reminder of the truth that God is with us and that God is good.”
Senior Tommy Ghent said he is blessed by the community he has found in the music department.
“I love my choral family here because they bless me with their spirits of music, of passion, and of love every time we sing,” Ghent said. “Colossians 3:16 is hanging in the Omni room upstairs in the Reynolds as a reminder of our commission to ‘let the word of Christ dwell in us and to admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude to our God in our hearts.’ We keep singing through everything because it is what we have been called to do; we should always have greater faith than fear.”
Senior Ben Brock said being a part of choir has been a large part in making memories and becoming the person he is today.
“In a year that has been so crazy, I am so thankful to still be able to make lasting memories making music with some great people,” Brock said. “Being a part of choir has shaped me into who I am today, and seeing people come together in concert choir three times a week to work towards the same goal lifts me up. We have all worked so hard to produce the best music possible to share with our community, and I think it [was] great and encouraging.”
For students interested in joining Harding University chorus or concert choir, auditions will be held before the fall semester starts. More information can be obtained by visiting the Music Department office or reaching out to Shirel or Dr. Kelly Neill.