You won’t believe this, but two nights ago we just looked at the Christmas cards we received in December! Our Christmas was soooo busy and even though we were away in California, the cards have just been sitting in a pile, and we didn’t get a chance to read them until now. We had a houseguest in January and have since been involved in a condo renovation.
What is nice, of course, is to hear from people from the past — specifically, former LCH choristers. So I thought I’d share some of their news.
Dick Griffin celebrated his 70th birthday and continues to sing low bass in his church choir and with the Ron Freeman Chorale. He and his wife, Claire, live in the Washington, DC area. Dick has been working on a project to identify Civil War soldiers temporarily buried in the church yard, 1861-1864, and wrote a 50-page book. In June, Dick’s church choir will be heading to London for a week of concerts, including several at Trinity Church, Brompton.
Rich and Linda Johnson (tenor and alto) also live in the D.C. area and Rich has set May 2012 as a target date for retirement. Linda says that Rich has a long list of hobby projects and volunteer work that will keep him more than busy. Their children, Michael, Erika and Stephanie, have flourishing careers. Rich and Linda also are grandparents.
Another couple who were both in the LCH Choir, were tenor Mark Boyle and his wife, Jane, who sang in the alto section. Mark is an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. He also is the Director of Music at Christ Church (United Church of Christ). Mark and Jane have two sons, Nathan and Patrick.
We heard from another couple in the choir, Tod and Cynthia Bowermaster (tenor and soprano). Tod was one of those singers doing double-duty while at LCH: he sang both in the mixed choir and in the Compline Choir. He just released a CD called “The Horn in Song,” which is available on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon: “a collection of some of the most beautiful lyrical pieces written for horn and piano.” Tod will be playing at Carnegie Hall with the orchestra on March 10th. The Bowermasters are tentatively planning a trip to Hawaii this summer.
Brad Knutson is the lead tenor in 2 Catholic parishes: St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach and St. Mary in National City, CA. He also sings at St. Columba in Serra Mesa. He sang Mendelssohn’s St. Paul Oratorio with the San Diego Masterworks Chorale and participated in five of six Summer Sings at the First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley.
Debbie Behnke joined a new ELCA church family at Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church, Richmond Hills, GA, and sang soprano with the choir at the dedication of their brand new building. Husband Hal is doing well, and daughter Heidi just graduated with a master’s degree in anthropology from Durham University, England. You may recall that Hal and Debbie met in the courtyard at LCH, only to find out that they were both from Long Island, NY.
Soprano Sissel Sødal greets everyone from Norway and sends her love. She has had more singing jobs than ever and keeps busy with her daughters, aged 12 and 16. She takes care of a complete menagerie, including a dog, two bunnies, three mini hamsters, and some fish, plus enjoys painting with the “colors and shapes” of gardening.
Former Compline Choir member, J.D. Nichols, turned 75 in April, and he and his wife, Ann, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. JD continues to practice the piano, sing and conduct the Yacht Club Men’s Chorus, and teach a few students. JD and Ann went to Russia last year and visited Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Another former Compline Choir member, Dale Noble, is enjoying retirement and grandchildren in Santa Barbara, CA. He and wife, Alice, participated in the Santa Barbara Choral Society’s trip to Spain, with concerts in five different cities. His brother, Harlan, and his wife celebrated their 70th (!) wedding anniversary, and brother, Weston (a well-known choral conductor) just finished a sabbatical replacement teaching at Augustana College, Sioux Falls — at age 89! Dale is the person for whom the Dale R. Noble Award is being given to Carl Crosier on March 10th, the fundraiser for the Oahu Choral Society. You may remember that Dale was the choral director at Kamehameha Schools for many years and joined the LCH choir on a number of occasions. He was one of the original 8 men who first sang Compline at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu on August 1, 1976.