TMU women share blessings on the road


Kyle Shannon, Staff Writer

On March 1, the Women’s Chamber Choir performed their first official concert of the year.  This begins Dr. Carolyn Simons’ last year as the choir’s director, and Professor Kellie Cunningham’s first year as Simons’ replacement.

During the concert, the all-female choir, made of 12 members and a piano accompanist, was conducted by both the old and new director. The performance featured music bringing praise and glory to God, and included multiple instrumental pieces, such as a piano arrangement of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” by Abby Olson, and flute arrangement of “Jesus Loves Me,” performed and arranged by Stephanie Rempel.

“I really think that the Lord used us in a very unique way,” said Nicole Castelhano, the student president of the Women’s Chamber Choir, pointing out the witnessing opportunity their material gave them. “Just the words we were singing and what we were trying to communicate with our audience.”

With such a small group, the women involved are able to build a sense of community which is hard to replicate in larger choirs. These close bonds were important during spring break, when the choir went on their Spring 2018 Tour. During the tour, they sang nine concerts in three different states: California, Idaho and Nevada.

“It’s been a blessing knowing the girls and getting close to them, and watching them get close to each other and minister to one another,” said Simons.

While the Women’s Chamber Choir goes on tour every spring break, this one stands out. After 18 years of directing the choir, this is Dr. Simons’ last tour leading the group, and Prof. Cunningham’s first.

“Professor Cunningham and I have worked together well,” said Simons, “She’s done some, I’ve done some. Girls are getting to know her. She’s beginning to take ownership  now, and I can see her easily taking over next year.”

Dr. Simons isn’t the only one optimistic about the nes director.

“She’s incredible,” said Castelhano about Cunningham. “She’s very energetic, she’s very insightful, she’s very wise, and she knows what she wants.”

The women’s chamber choir tour lasted from the 11th to the 18th, and concluded at Freedom’s way Baptist Church in Canyon Country, California. But while their tour is  over, they are far from finished.

Future performances scheduled for this semester include numerous churches and the April 13 chapel. They are also performing during the music department’s spring concert at Forest Lawn, along with the University Singers and other musical groups, on March 28 and 29.