From local reports
VIENNA, W.Va. - Former members of the Northeastern Christian Junior College, Ohio Valley College and Ohio Valley University A Cappella Choirs gathered on the OVU campus June 4 through 6 to conclude the university's 50th anniversary year with the school's first choral reunion and retreat.
"We've talked about hosting a program like this for some time," Alumni Director Dennis Cox mentioned. "Similar programs at sister institutions have been successful, and we thought that the golden anniversary year would be a good time for our first one."
Choral alumni from Michigan, Indiana, Eastern Pennsylvania and North Carolina, as well as those from the local area, enjoyed a weekend of singing and fellowship that was concluded with a recording session in the Roberts Chapel Saturday evening and a Sunday morning concert at the Grand Central Church of Christ in Vienna, W.Va.
"This was a wonderful weekend," said Jerry Bryan, a 1962 graduate of Northeastern Christian Junior College from Taylor, Michigan. "I enjoy singing, and these folks can really sing!" Bryan was a member of NCJC's second graduating class. He edged out OVC's Dwight Sturm ('65) for the distinction of being the most mature choral alumnus to participate in the weekend's activities.
Former NCJC choral director Larry Bills was on hand, as was OVU's director Courtney Clark and music department chair James Berry. They shared the conducting responsibilities in a program that featured a number of standard choral pieces as well as arrangements of two familiar hymn tunes by Bills. The program also served to premiere two original songs composed by OVU music instructor Laura Hamm ('00) who performed with the chorus.
"I think one of the most pleasing aspects of an effort like this is the demonstration of a love for good choral music that spans the generations," Bills added. "It was encouraging that this wasn't just a sentimental journey for a bunch of gray heads. The mix of young and mature voices made for a wonderful sound and an enjoyable conducting experience."
The chorus included three members of OVU's class of 2010. Lindsay Williams from Parkersburg, Meridith Miller from Belpre and Erica Miller from Cambridge had just completed their final spring chorus tour with the university's A Cappella Singers. The two Millers are both second generation chorus members. Meridith was joined on the risers by her parents Scott and Mary Miller, both members of the OVC class of 1981. Erica's father Brent ('78) also sang with the group.
Harvest Gospel Studio in Huntington, W.Va., is producing a 12 track CD recording of the choir's program that will be available for purchase via the OVU website later this summer.
The Ohio Valley University Alumni Association has tentatively scheduled its next choral reunion and retreat for the first weekend in June, 2012.