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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
November 22, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

History




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In early 2001, Professor Daniel Lichti of the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier approached a number of fellow members of the Waterloo Lutheran University Choir from the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Because the Faculty of Music had yet to be established, the choir at that time was drawn from students from across the entire university:  from Business, to English, to Psychology, to the Seminary. The University Choir in those days rehearsed twice weekly under the direction of  Dr. Martin Dolbeer (late 1950s to 1962), Dr. Charles McLean (1962 to 4) and Dr. Walter Kemp (1964 to 1976)

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The group in 2001 was excited about the prospects of re-uniting in song. This became the origins of the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Choir.  Significant effort was made in seeking out over 200 University Choir members from the 1960s and 1970s. A reunion occurred in May 2001 where 40 alumni reconnected and friendships were renewed. Many recalled fond memories of Reading Weeks when the choir acted as ambassadors for Laurier.  The name “WLU Alumni Choir” was chosen to incorporate both Lutheran and Laurier identities. Alumni also decided to fundraise in order to be able to endow an award within the Laurier Faculty of Music in memory of Keith Knights who sang in the choir during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The first official gathering of the WLU Alumni Choir occurred in May 2002 when over 60 singers gathered at the Seminary Chapel to rehearse and perform the next day in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall. In September 2002, the Alumni Choir performed again in the Maureen Forester Concert Hall to raise funds for scholarships and also began the tradition of singing Homecoming Sunday mornings at local churches in the KW community.  The choir performed the Fauré Requiem in May 2004 as another fundraiser. Through sales of CDs of the concert, money raised at the concert, and donations, the choir was able to endow two awards: the Keith Knights Memorial Award and the WLU Alumni Choir Scholarship.

In 2004, the Alumni Choir was invited to sing at the Founders’ Luncheon, which has since become an annual event for the choir. It was at the Founders’ Luncheon that the alumni choir introduced a reworked version of the Laurier Fight Song. The choir also accompanied Rosalind Pickett as she sang the National Anthem and introduced the Fight Song at the Homecoming Football games from 2004 to 2006. The WLU Fight Song was also recorded in 2005.

In the fall of 2009, the WLU Alumni Choir returned to its historic roots at the Keffer Chapel with an Homecoming Ecumenical service. The year 2012 marked the 10th Anniversary of the WLU Alumni Choir. To celebrate the occasion, the Alumni Choir purchased a baby grand piano as a gift for Wilfrid Laurier University. The piano is housed in the Senate and Board Chamber located in the Paul Martin Centre.  In 2013, the WLU Chapel Choir will join the WLU Alumni Choir in the annual Homecoming service, Gathering @ Keffer Chapel.