Many of the best experiences during my years in Syracuse were associated with the Hendricks Chapel Choir.
I joined the choir at the beginning of my freshman year in the fall of 1964. Arthur Poister, then Professor of Organ in the School of Music, was chapel organist and choir director. One of my teachers in high school had studied with Professor Poister when he taught at Oberlin College and had encouraged me to audition for the choir when I arrived in Syracuse. I never regretted doing so.
Professor Poister gave up his duties at Hendricks at the beginning of my sophomore year in order to concentrate on his teaching responsibilities. For the next two years, Mike Spitz directed the choir and Maggie Smull served as chapel organist. Mike was a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Music and Maggie was working on a graduate degree in organ performance. Mike and Maggie were a good team and worked hard to keep up the choir traditions and musical standards established during Professor Poister’s long tenure.
At the beginning of my senior year (1967-1968), Dr. David N, Johnson took the reigns as chapel organist and choir director, as well as the position of Professor of Organ in the School of Music (Professor Poister had retired). Dr. Johnson was a dynamic leader of the choir and an accomplished organist, as well as a composer of both choral music and organ works. It was a real pleasure singing under his direction and listening to him play the organ, including improvisation. I even had the opportunity to serve as a student conductor.
Dr. Johnson left Syracuse for Arizona State University after two years in Syracuse. He asked me to take over leadership of the choir on a temporary basis. Thus, in the fall of 1969 I returned to Syracuse to lead the choir and work toward a master’s degree in the Department of Fine Arts. I had the great pleasure of working with the choir for two years. During the first year, I collaborated with Eunice Diemer as organist. When Eunice finished her graduate work, Brent Hylton took over as organist while he began his graduate studies in organ performance with Professor Will Headlee in the School of Music.
After two years of directing the choir, I returned to full-time graduate studies working toward a Ph.D. in Syracuse’s Humanities Doctoral Program. At that time, Brent continued as chapel organist and added direction of the choir to his duties. However, I was privileged to have one more opportunity to work with the choir. After serving as choir director and organist for a time, Brent took a sabbatical year to begin work on a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. I replaced Brent as choir director that year and worked with Robert Kerner as chapel organist.
Brent returned to Hendricks Chapel after a year’s absence and resumed his duties as choir director and organist. At the end of that year, the Hendricks Chapel Choir embarked on its first tour abroad – an approximately month-long tour of several European countries that included performances in Denmark, Amsterdam, Strasbourg (France), Rome, and Geneva. I joined Brent and his wife, Marilyn, along with Rev. Paul (Lutheran chaplain) and Kathy Bosch, on tour with the choir.
The memories I have of my time with the choir as a student and as director on two different occasions have lasted a lifetime. I always will be grateful for the experience of making music with such a great group of individuals. Thanks to all of them.
OK, I just came across the website for the HCC alums and listened to each and every song we sang! I can't believe I waited this long to look for something like this, and so glad you created it! What a golden treasure found! Thanks so much for creating this fantastic resource! Totally amazing! THANKYOU!!
I still live in Syracuse (actually nearby in Skaneateles NY), and work for MONY now AXA-Equitable for the past 28 years as a Systems/Data Analyst in the insurance IT industry. I've been married for 28 years and have 5 children. It adds up fast when you start with identical twin girls. After that, anything was easy, so I just kept going! I haven't sang in a choir since HCC, but I've always missed it and longed to join another choir when I'm not so busy working and parenting. Singing in a choir warms the soul, and my best memories of SU were with the choir, the friends and fun, and The Varsity. One of my best memories was singing "Plenty Good Room" in the NYC subway. Great acoustics down there!
Sunday night, March 28, Shery and I were at a concert in Greensboro (the Durufle REQUIEM)during stormy weather and stopped at Boston Market on our way home. Our oldest daughter called me to tell us there had been a tornado at our house, that she, her husband, younger sister and the dog were OK but the house wasn't. All they could see, since the power was out, was the sky when they looked up the steps to the 2nd floor. There was debris all over the interior of the house and broken glass everywhere. The house was badly damaged mostly on one side and was temporarily condemned the next morning. About half of the windows were blown out and part of the wall between our and our daughter's bedroom was blown out. We packed and moved out, first to a Residence Inn near the Greensboro airport for 3 weeks and then 3 and a half months in an apartment while the house was being rebuilt. The house now looks better than before the tornado, but I don't recommend it as a way to remodel!!
We moved back in in mid-July and promptly had our water heater begin to leak, requiring replacement and then had the drain hose from the washer come out of the drain pipe as we were doing laundry, flooding the 2nd story (of course) laundry room because it wasn't re-installed properly. Part of the new carpet upstairs, the vinyl flooring and garage ceiling had to be replaced. Thank God for Allstate and homeowners insurance. Tornadoes in central NC are very rare, especially in March. No one was hurt but about $10 million in damage happened in a few minutes. Its really good to be home in our "new" house.
There is now an official LinkedIn “Hendricks Chapel Choir Alumni” group in LinkedIn. If you have a site on LinkedIn, please feel to join the group.
I shall serve as your humble group manager.
Jeffrey P. Slon
PS: I sincerely hope that this message is approved by our web master, John Matthews.
Greetings from Southern California! I hope all is well with you.
I have a suggestion. LinkedIn has become very en vogue in connecting with people on a professional basis. Not only that, the groups you belong to can influence a potential employer. I think HCC is a commendable group to belong to, but unfortunately there is no HCC Alum group. Would you be willing to sponsor a group on the site? (I would start it, but since you're the official web master of the site, I thought I'd propose it first. Not only that, you would have access to a good logo for the group.)
What do you think?
Jeffrey P. Slon