Cheers for USF Choir’s Centennial

Over the last one hundred years 8,000 students have been together blending voices and making beautiful music through singing with the Choirs at the University of Sioux Falls.

The first way of celebrating is with the gift of music from USF choir’s accompanist and professional composer, Deanna Wehrspan. Another way the choir rejoiced was by having an alumni choir during homecoming. Even throughout this busy year the choir still manages to spend time serving in the community.

Once the director of choral activities, Dr. DeHoogh-Kliewer knew that centennial anniversary the USF Choir was coming up, he approached Wehrspan with the idea of her composing a piece for the many years of singing at USF.

“It became a very personal and intimate message. Each person on their own realized, ‘I am one of God’s Marvels.’ And many tears were shed during rehearsals and (there) were times when we just had to stop upon these words. It’s a very special piece,” says Dr. DeHoogh-Kliewer says.

God’s Marvel made its world debut at Cougaret III. It was sung by the USF Concert Chorale, Collegiate Choir and also joined by USF choir alumni.

“It was so awesome to get to meet people from USF that are like family even though I don’t know them. They feel like family knowing that they’re from USF. They get to come back and they got to see each other, which was a lot of fun,” says Laura Nettifee.

In 1983 the USF Choir toured Washington D.C and New York celebrating USF’s Centennial. This year to celebrate the choir’s centennial the 2016-2017 USF Concert Chorale will also be singing and serving in the same destinations. The USF choirs take time to tour every year whether it’s international or around the U.S because of their dedication to learning and having experiences that can influence the performances of songs with cultural influence.

Along with traveling around the world and singing, the choir groups always find time to help out their community. From obtaining winter clothes for the homeless to packing food at Feeding South Dakota, the choir is following the USF Motto ‘Culture for Service’ wherever they go.

“It helps the choir in so many ways. It helps us grow together as one because while you’re working at the service projects you get to know one another a little bit better. You get the opportunity to share stories, experiences and experience the day together. Working together with somebody just brings out a new aspect in your relationship with them,” says Nettifee.

DeHoogh-Kliewer says, “We enjoyed serving at Feeding South Dakota preparing 6000 meals, which is a huge accomplishment. But a high priority for us is not only serving communities through our music, but also serving as the hands and feet of Christ,”

If you want to hear and support the choir, they are performing their annual Fall Concert Sunday, November 6th at 4:00 PM in the Oakwood Chapel at Central Church in Sioux Falls. The concert will be followed by a chili and dessert dinner, raffle and silent auction for their 2017 Spring tour to Washington D.C. and New York.

Story by Alonzo Christensen, Ellie Herman, & Tyler Riedmann

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