Join Taylor University's Music Ensembles 2017 - Choral, Orchestra, Jazz and more!
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Join Taylor’s 2017 music ensembles

Inclusivity, excellence, worship and service through music, if that is where your heart is, you’ll find a real place in one of the many Taylor ensembles.

By Abigail Roberts | Echo

Junior, Paige Kennedy (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Junior, Paige Kennedy (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

1. Choral and Sounds

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Director: JoAnn Rediger

Professor of Music & Director of Chorale Ensembles

Theme: Speaking for those who don’t have a voice

“This theme will be our thread throughout the entire year,” Rediger said. “We will be visiting more prisons this year, including Pendleton and a women’s prison. We hope to include more signing to be more mindful of our Deaf community. Even for our ‘Spring Noel’ Concert we will be honoring those who work in the nursing home environment.”

Chorale and Sounds are well known for their strong pillars of excellence and service. Paige Kennedy is a junior and this year’s soprano section leader. Kennedy shared that one of her highlights from Sounds, a smaller ensemble within Chorale, was their trip with Taylor’s Playback Theater to Greece last spring. The group worked with a children’s choir there made up of primarily Syrian refugees. “Dr. Rediger is big on music ministry, which is something my high school didn’t have,” Kennedy said.

Last year, after their first concert in Pendleton Correctional Facility, one of the inmates told Kennedy, “Thank you for letting me forget where I was for an hour. It made me feel like I was in a concert hall.”

Kennedy is looking forward to this year’s choir. “With all of the incoming freshmen who auditioned, we are bound to have a stronger group,” Kennedy said. “Dr. Rediger is big on making sure each year is even better than the last.” Contact JoAnn Rediger if interested in joining Chorale or Sounds in future semesters.

Taylor also has a small women’s chorale, ‘Adoration’ which is still accepting applicants. Contact Eva Kwan, Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education, for more information.


Seniors, Alex Berends and Karissa Moss (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Seniors, Alex Berends and Karissa Moss (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)


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Director: Karissa Moss

Theme: United

“You say you can’t sing, but can you worship?” said senior Alex Berends to student’s considering joining Gospel Choir.

Gospel choir is unique in many ways, one of which is it is one of the few student-directed ensembles on campus. This year’s director is Karissa Moss, a senior biology and public health major from the Bahamas. Moss came to Taylor realizing that, for her and many of the other international or inner city students, worship in chapel is quite different from what they are familiar with back home.

Gospel music is a passionate worship style characterized by special rhythms which prompt clapping or stomping and unique dips and harmonies which invite people to not only sing, but respond.

For Berends who is vice president and tenor section leader, Gospel Choir helped her put emotion and true joy into her worship. She hopes that will be the same experience for audience members as well. The Gospel Choir strongly displays intercultural unity on campus. “You can be from different countries, cultures, states, but still worship together with this style of music,” Moss said.

Sign-ups for auditions will be upstairs in the D.C. during this next week. Gospel Choir is also looking for musicians of all kinds! Pianists, guitarist and horn players — all are welcome to come try out.


Senior, Mirabelle Cyr (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Senior, Mirabelle Cyr (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)


Director: Al Harrison

Department Chair & Professor of Music

Theme: This is my Father’s world

This year, the Wind Ensemble will be exploring the topic of “This is my Father’s world,” according to Harrison. Their chosen music pieces will represent God’s creation and human celebration of life.

Mirabelle Cyr, a senior majoring in music education, was president of the Wind Ensemble her sophomore year and is aspiring to be president or chaplain this year. From playing the French horn for 12 years, Cyr has had a longstanding relationship with band. “Bands have this way of gathering the fun, crazy people; I myself am one of them,” says Cyr.

Being a part of Wind Ensemble offers incredible opportunities to bless members of the Upland and greater Midwest community with music. “We were invited by Carmel Community Church last year to play as part of their Palm Sunday service,” Cyr shared. “It was a long, exciting day, and we definitely bonded.”

The band experience here at Taylor is unique and inspirational. According to Cyr, “Dr. Harrison isn’t your band teacher at school; he does things differently.” Harrison also really cares about his students. “If I’m personally having a difficult time with something, I can always depend on Harrison to put aside all the tons of work he has to do and talk with me,” Cyr said.

Cyr advises new students, “Come join! . . . There is nothing in life that compares to being able to make music with people. It creates this unifying bond that you can’t find anywhere else.”


Junior, Sarah Gorman (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Junior, Sarah Gorman (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)


Watch more here.

Theme: Beatles Tribute

Director: Al Harrison

Department Chair & Professor of Music

Harrison spent a large majority of the summer researching the legacy of the Beatles and drawing from his own personal coming-of-age-story during the 1960s in order to celebrate and give tribute to the Beatles and the 50th anniversary of their iconic album ‘‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’’

Jazz is a very unique style of music requiring both incredible talent and improvisation skills. Junior alto sax player Sarah Gorman is no stranger to jazz. Besides being a part of the Jazz Ensemble since her freshman year, Gorman’s love for and large background in jazz stems from attending her aunt’s concerts as a child. When comparing her high school jazz experience to Taylor, Gorman said, “Here it is a lot less toxic learning environment. Everyone is very encouraging. In rehearsals, it is a lot less about being perfect and more about finding where you need to work.”

Her advice for new members would be, “Don’t feel pressure to be the best right away. Dr. Harrison is really good at meeting you where you are and pushing you to the next level.” Having recently switched from second alto sax to first, Gorman also encourages students to reach out to Harrison and ask him what instruments he may be looking for next year.

Gorman encourages students: “It’s a large commitment, but a worthy one.”


Junior, Hasun Yoo (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Junior, Hasun Yoo (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)


Director: Christopher Bade

Professor of Music, Woodwinds, Orchestra

Taylor’s Orchestra played “Silent Night” in their December concert last year. As they invited the audience to join in Junior, Hasun Yoo, a first chair violinist, remembers feeling how wonderful the unity in the room was. Although everyone in the orchestra was different from each other, when they all played together, “It was like we were one person,” Yoo said, “It really showed our identity as a community at Taylor.”

Yoo advises incoming orchestra students, “Don’t think of orchestra as another class, just enjoy the music.” Yoo encourages the students not to think, ‘Oh . . . we have to play again,’ but to give every note to God in praise to Him. A highlight for Yoo is working with Bade, the orchestra’s director. “He is really passionate about music and us. For him it is God first, then family, then us. He really loves his job and music,” Yoo said.

If you are interested in joining, contact Bade. Their upcoming Children’s Concert will be a partnership with other orchestras, including IWU.


6. Taylor Handbell Choir and Ringers

Director: Eva Kwan

Assistant Professor of Music, Music Education

Taylor also has two bell ringing groups. Handbell Choir for beginners and Ringers for those who have more experience. Even if you’ve never played before, come try out! Kwan will even be offering a training boot camp this coming week. Check announcements for more details.

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