EMS to Host Choral Festival

March 28, 2023 / Andrea Wenger
Mennonite Choir Festival-graphic final (2)

“Every nation, tribe, people, and tongue!” is the theme for the Mennonite Schools’ Choral Festival to be held at Eastern Mennonite School April 14 and 15. Five choirs will gather to share their own songs and perform in a mass choir on Sat., April 15 at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. All are welcome. Livestream link here

Dr. Janet Hostetter, artistic and executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir and a 1983 EMS alumnus, will conduct the mass choir of choral sacred music. “I am personally excited to be returning to my “roots” where the experience of choir at EMHS was strong and solidly grabbed my admiration and loyalty.”

Approximately 125 students will participate, coming from the following schools:

  • Central Christian School, Kidron, Ohio
  • Dock Academy, Lansdale, Pa.
  • Eastern Mennonite School, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Freeman Academy, Freeman, S.D.
  • Hillcrest Academy, Kalona, Iowa

Choral singing has been an important aspect of community life at EMS since the school’s founding in 1917. Choral groups from across the United States and Canada began gathering for a festival in the mid 1960s and continued until the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the practice in 2020-2022.

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  1. Donna Hershberger Litchfield on April 11, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    I toured with the choir from IMS (aka Hillcrest Academy) as a senior in May, 1967. The festival that year was at EMC (aka EMU), in Harrisonburg, VA, but I’m not sure how many festivals had been held before. Seven schools participated, including Rockway from Kitchener, Ontario. It was my first visit to the area, and it was a good one–great memories! I now have lived in the Valley 48 years! I attended the 2018 performance in Yoder Arena when 13 schools participated, and I look forward to this one!

    • Andrea Wenger on April 11, 2023 at 2:09 pm

      Lovely to hear about the memories Donna. The smaller size group is a result of breaking up the Mennonite schools into two groups to save on the transportation costs, as well as the work involved in hosting such a large group. The centennial year celebration in Yoder Arena may have been a last big gathering of this type. Covid changed many things and has also helped us review why we do what we do. We look forward to seeing many guests on the 15th!

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