“This is your cathedral.”
The words still resonate with me like a fog lingering after dawn. Such was the statement made by a guide to the Methodist University Chorale during their tour of the Washington National Cathedral this past Friday. The premier MU choral group was at its second stop of a five-day tour that included performances in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“A sacred space for all people and all faiths.” Powerful words for our students to absorb and appreciate. Indeed, isn’t this the same mission for a great University – to be created for all people of all faiths? Such is this place we call Methodist University, welcoming students from over 60 countries to learn together, live together, grow together, and yes, sing together.
Our 36-member Chorale under the direction of Dr. Michael Martin represented the University well as they performed a varied program to the joy of audiences in churches, cathedrals, and schools who now will be added to those thousands of concert goers over the years who have come to appreciate the music traditions of Methodist University. The most common response: “When can you return?” I am proud of all our students, but this special group of talented Monarchs are among the best who consistently give their best as they represent the University at home and abroad.
I have often proclaimed that “Methodist gets it right.” These gifted vocalists chose MU to hone their skills for a lifetime of singing, believing that this is the right place for them to do something they love while earning a University education. But more than that, they chose Methodist because they found a place to call home.
Before the last performance of the tour scheduled for Historic St. George’s United Methodist Church in Philadelphia (with continuous services since 1769 and where Francis Asbury served as pastor), the Chorale gathered in the sanctuary to reflect on this and preceding tours and what they meant to them. The stories shared included memories of special sacred spaces, of first trips to parts of the United States and Europe, of wonderful opportunities to perform in places beyond their wildest dreams. But most of all, the students reflected on lifelong friendships forged through shared experiences – outcomes University leaders (and choral directors) dream about and hope will occur during students’ careers.
This is your University . . . a University created for all students. We welcome all to this place where shared experiences are there for the taking. Come sing with us or simply enjoy the music and lifelong friendships in the making.