Adelphians Choir celebrates 80th anniversary

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Adelphian Concert Choir.  A celebration will be held on Homecoming and Family Weekend from Oct. 26-28, during which there will be performances by numerous choral groups on campus as well as a choir comprised of Adelphian alumni.

This anniversary is more than a celebration of the length of the choir’s existence; it is a celebration of the musical excellence displayed by the Adelphian Concert Choir since its beginnings and the community that has been created in the process of this dedication to musical excellence.

The Adelphian Concert Choir (initially called the Adelphian Choral Society) was established under John Paul Bennett in 1932 and quickly created a reputation as a high-caliber choral group. Over the next to years the Adelphians became a distinguished collegiate choir in the Northwest. The choir’s reputation as an exceptional choral group has been upheld and built upon consistently through the years.

Bruce Rodgers, another conductor of Adelphians, demanded total dedication from the members of the choir; by the time Rodgers retired, the Adelphian Concert Choir had earned its reputation as a premiere choral group in the West.

The Adelphian Concert Choir does a service to the campus community and communities beyond the University. Steven Zopfi, the current conductor of the choir, said, “Adelphians provides a training ground for music majors and minors to learn how to function in a high level music-making ensemble.”

Chloe Wallace, a member of Adelphians and a senior Music Education major, can attest to this ‘training ground.’

“I am enjoying this experience learning from Dr. Steven Zopfi about what it means to be a successful choir director. I’m learning music skills, conducting, teaching strategies, how to instill the value of community and ownership of one’s own work and so much more that I will take into my own career as a music educator,” Wallace said.

Adelphians benefits not only the members of the choir, but also the greater campus community.

“Adelphians serves as musical enrichment for the student body,” Zopfi said.

The purpose of performances goes beyond entertainment—the members of the choir strive to share their love of music.  “One of the goals of the Adelphian Concert Choir, as well as other student music groups on campus, is to bring about an appreciation for the fine arts to the greater community,” Wallace said.

The Adelphian Concert Choir offers numerous concerts on campus throughout the school year.  The choir inspires appreciation for music beyond the University community while on tour over spring break.

The high level of dedication to the choir that is required to exemplify musical excellence and inspire appreciation for music creates a strong community within the choir.  Besides musical excellence, one of the core values of the Adelphian Concert Choir is community.

From the very beginning of the Adelphians the idea of community through singing has been emphasized.  The value of community is evident even in the name of the choir. The root of the word Adelphian is the Greek “adelphos,” which means brother.

“We take the idea of brotherhood seriously,” Wallace said.

“From the moment the choir is formed, it is Dr. Zopfi’s and each Adelphian’s goal to transform from a group of individual singers to a strong community and family,” he added.

For John Lampus, a sophomore and a current member of the Adelphian Concert Choir, being a part of the Adelphian community is all about being a part of something bigger than oneself: “Choir lets its participants take their own personal sound and add it to the collective whole, helping craft and contribute to the color of the choir,” Lampus said.

“This year, we will be celebrating the fact that each one of us—each past and present Adelphian choir member—is part of a long-standing tradition on our campus,” Wallace said.

That tradition is one of musical appreciation and excellence as well as community. “Singing truly unites individuals and brings people together,” Wallace said.  The Adelphian Concert Choir community exemplifies the ability of music to unite individuals.

“Once you join that community, it’s a lifelong community,” Zopfi said.

That over one hundred alumni will be returning over Homecoming and Family Weekend to celebrate the anniversary is evidence of this lifelong community.

The alumni will form a choir of their own to perform at the Adelphian concert both on their own and alongside the current Adelphian choir..