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Choir Reunion: A Resounding Success

Alumni and current choir members at banquet
On Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, the Alumni Association hosted its first ever Choir Reunion in conjunction with the 2011 Founders’ Banquet. The purpose of the Choir Reunion was not only to renew friendships and provide a chance for “long-lost friends” to be reunited on campus, but also to honor the present and former choir directors and to minister as an alumni choir at the Founders’ Banquet held on Saturday. Additionally, a remembrance CD of several musical pieces performed at the banquet was recorded for future distribution.

Choir directors (left to right: Craig Ralston,
Dianna Prichard, Richard Nichols,
Jonathan Steele, Pattye Cassarow,
and Ron Billingsley)
Originally organized in 1969, the College Choir performed on campus, in local churches, toured nationally and internationally, and became a place where students connected with one another and ministered for the Lord. Over the course of its tenure, the College Choir underwent several leadership changes, but it has consistently remained a beautiful harmony of distinct voices. Six of the seven College Choir directors were in attendance at the Choir Reunion, while original director and creator, Mr. Clem Boatright, sent his greetings via recorded video and watched the banquet through web streaming.

Alumni choir members practice
[left to right - Sarah (Puckett) Taylor ('99)
and Sara Brod ('09)]
After arriving on campus Friday afternoon, alumni met for several hours to rehearse the music they were to perform the next day. Pieces included sacred music from a variety of composers, but highlighted a special dedicatory piece written by alumnus Mr. Nathan Burgraff, ’05 graduate and current doctoral candidate at Eastman School of Music. Mr. Burgraff wrote his piece “Praise the Lord” as a testimony to the faithfulness of Mr. Clem Boatright.

Nathan Burggraff autographs copy of
music he wrote for the event
While greatly touched by the testimonies and song dedicated in his honor, family members of Mr. Boatright wrote, “[Clem] was so overwhelmed by the statements and sentiment expressed on his behalf at the banquet. He loved what Nathan Burgraff did, wept at the choir’s performance, and jokingly said that is should have been a ‘quicker tempo!’ our most sincere gratitude is extended to all who made this day possible.”

Mr. Boatright’s vision of a College Choir laid the foundation for the strong choral ministry at CCC today. Past directors in attendance included Clem Boatright, Jonathan Steele, Dianna Prichard, Ron Billingsley, Craig Ralston, and Richard Nichols. Pattye Cassarow, current choral director was also present.

Alumni and current choir members sing for
recording made at St. Petersburg College
After the Founder’s Banquet, alumni reconvened at the Arts Auditorium on St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus to record four selections to be included on a remembrance CD. This CD will be produced for all participants. Information on how others may obtain a copy will be posted on the alumni website and CCC Facebook pages.

Even though the joyous event was overshadowed by the home-going of founder Dr. Arthur E. Steele on March 2, the alumni, staff, and faculty rejoiced in the heritage left by the founding members of CCC.

Visit the following links to view more photos from the events:
Choir Reunion
Founders' Banquet