By Brad Crown, CCCK Graphic Designer McPherson, Kansas - In a year of uncertainty, it…
Written by Dr. Brett Janssen, Music Department Chair
McPherson, Kansas – The Elyria Christian High School choir and the Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) Choir rehearsed and performed “Christ Be With Me,” on Wednesday, April 7th in Greer Auditorium.
The opportunity initially arose when Ms. Jill Miller (CC ’19) inquired about using Greer Auditorium as a space to record her choir for the Kansas State High School Activities Association virtual large ensemble festival this year. The space provided a more conducive atmosphere for acoustics and less opportunity for interruptions than Elyria’s campus.
In the morning, the high school choir was able to rehearse and record in Greer, followed by pizza in The Warehouse for lunch, where CCCK choir students mingled with the high school students. Lizzie Caron (CC ’17) and her admissions staff then put on a wonderful presentation for the students, part of which included a campus tour.
The Elyria choir then reconvened with the CCCK choir in Greer Auditorium where Dr. Brett Janssen provided a mini-clinic to the combined ensemble of 34 vocalists before performing together. This resulted in a beautiful, full sound, as the strengths of each choir encouraged the other in creating music to “Christ Be With Me,” by Phillip Keveren and Travis Cottrell. The text for the choral piece was translated from “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” which is thought to be written by St. Patrick during the 5th century. This prayer is placed in a lyrical, hymn-like setting that ends with layered “Amens” similar to the CCCK Choir traditional benediction “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
Mrs. Emily Epp (’20) accompanied the combined choir and CCCK Choir student Seongji Lee contributed to the foundational accompaniment by performing on the violin. Both choirs were able to share two selections with the other choir, providing a time of encouragement to both choirs. Elyria sang first with their favorites “The Storm Is Passing Over,” a spiritual by Charles Tindley, arranged by Barbara Baker, and “We’re The Men,” a light-hearted piece by Jay Althouse that drew smiles and laughs from the CCCK choir.
The CCCK choir chose favorites, “Emerald Stream,” an acapella Sacred Harp-style piece by Seth Houston, and “Walk In Jerusalem,” a spiritual arranged by Rollo Dilworth. This being a positive experience for both choirs, the hope is to collaborate again in the future with sights set on performing to the public.
Central’s Music Department Chair, Dr. Brett Janssen, enjoyed directing the combined choir, saying,
It was a pleasure working with the combined choirs of Elyria Christian School and CCCK. Our students were encouraged to sing with about twenty-five more voices, providing a beautiful, full choral sound. Jill Miller has wonderful students in her choir, and she has been successful at working through the challenges of Covid. I look forward to hearing Ms. Miller’s choir in the future with the possibility of collaborating again.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about who Central is go to centralchristian.edu/about.