Weekend Update

Members of the 88 and 89 Zeltmission Groups and Friends

Members of the 88 and 89 Zeltmission Groups and Friends

Not the SNL sketch:  just an update on my weekend at SU’s Homecoming.

UPDATED UPDATE – Samford has a great slide show from Homecoming weekend here.

This was the very first Homecoming I’ve been able to attend in 19 years.  Yep, it’s been 19 years since I graduated.

It was wonderful.  It could have been more wonderful, had the schedule itself been more wife-and-small-children-friendly.  That part was a real bummer, and I was torn all weekend between really, really enjoying being back on campus and really, really, really feeling guilty for creating a boring weekend for the children and a very stressful one for my wife, keeping up with the aforementioned children all by herself while I was on campus doing God-knows-what.  My love, I owe you big time for this weekend.  Big time.  Thank you for making it possible for me to go.

Back to the weekend.  (Pictures will be forthcoming, mostly on the AC Zeltmission Alumni page on FB.)  It was very busy, but very rewarding.  Here are some observations from the weekend.  (Non-SU people, sorry for references that you won’t follow.)

  • I’m really, really glad Andy Westmoreland and Joe Hopkins are where they are.  It is a new day at Samford.  A fresh breeze is blowing there.  Both impressed me especially in that they are obviously not embarrassed by the fact that Samford is a Christian university.  I am immensely impressed with both.  Westmoreland would make Major Davis and Leslie Stephen Wright proud; Hopkins would likewise make Claude Rhea proud, and I know he does make DB proud.  Samford and its School of the Arts are in very good hands.
  • 220 A Cappella Alumni singing together two nights in a row.  Wow.
  • Alan Hudson has more children than Jeff Stith or I do.  Again, wow.
  • Samford’s football team was great.  Go Bulldogs!  Hope they do as well next week against Furman.  (Furman is tough this year.)  My son had a fantastic time at the game with me and Granddaddy.  I was glad he got to be there.  I showed him the gymnasium building and told him I rappeled off it one time.  He was duly impressed.  But then he asked me, “Why?”  I didn’t have an answer for that.
  • DB is as funny as ever.
  • I can still follow DB’s conducting “pattern,” which is no small feat.
  • Former faculty member I never would have recognized if someone hadn’t told me who it was:  Russell Hedger.
  • Faculty member who has not aged one day:  Randall Richardson.
  • Faculty who have aged very gracefully:  Mrs. Ousley (still beautiful), Uncle Don (except I miss the Lenin Beard), Bill Bugg, Billy Strickland, Tim Banks.
  • Faculty member who surprised me by still remembering me:  Jim Fisk (since I never took a class with him).
  • The current A Cappella Choir ROCKS! They sounded so good.  If they are doing a concert within 500 miles of your home, go hear them.  You won’t regret it.  Banks is doing a tremendous job.
  • Campus is more beautiful than ever.
  • Choral Evensong (with the A Cappella Choir) in Hodges Chapel was glorious.  I was so honored to be the officiant/cantor for that service.  The service will be on YouTube soon and may also be on EWTN.  I’ll keep you posted.

I have cherished memories of my SU days.   Now, after seeing what a fine job Westmoreland, Hopkins, Banks, Bugg, Richardson, and many, many others are doing, I love my alma mater even more.  I pray that I will be able to send any child of mine there if they want to go there.  If things don’t change drastically in the next couple of years, I’m afraid that will be impossible.  (Scholarships, children:  scholarships.  Study hard!)


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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9 Responses to Weekend Update

  1. Yes, it was a blessing. I cried all the way through Dr. T’s Chopin. I missed Betty Sue so much.

    Another blessing…to actually hear and sing GOOD music and see people enjoying it so much and who “get it”.

    Sentimental things….Choir camp Serenades! John, do you have the capability of scanning and sending me ACappella Angel? I would love for my boys at school to learn it!

    You look great! You have lost a lot of weight and look so young!

    D.B. IS as funny as ever.

    I am forever blessed for having been there.

  2. Cap'n Whook says:

    Wow, glad you had fun and that SmockLady the the children survived. I had to miss the shindig due to a dire emergency business trip (aside to John, one of the building’s detail drawings was a “retrograde inversion”).

    Claude Rhea certainly had been a dynamic dean, I’m glad that Hopkins is in that ilk.

    Great attendance considering the trying economic times.

    If Samford isn’t careful, Pat Suillivan will be snatched away as Auburn head coach. The storm clouds are gathering. The natives are restless.

    When not in the accompanying gulag, I was always in that “other choir.” A few times, DB would conduct the mixed ensemble (was that called the Festive Chorus?) and I remember thinking that he had spookily effective conducting gifts, however the pattern came out.

    Didn’t Uncle Don lend the goatee to Billy Strickland? Was anybody else who called Donald Sanders “Uncle Don” (behind his back with affection) there?

    YOU RAPPELLED OFF THE GYM!!!!!!!! Next thing you’ll be confessing is to having taken part in draping the bed sheet inscribed “We Made It!” across one of the carillon bells atop the library, an infamous stunt!

  3. RevJATB says:

    Oh yes, DB is a very sensitive conductor, and he had the choir trained to respond to every cue, no matter how small or slight! That’s why he could get such subtle articulations, etc. , out of them. But following all those subtle cues is a skill one has to learn. I remember my first few weeks in choir: I thought I’d never learn to “read” him, but Morris helped me decode what DB was doing.

    Yes, I rappelled off the gym. Did not take part in the bedsheet prank. Although I did more than my share of fountain diving.

  4. Mo says:

    Wish we could have been there, but we were fulfilling responsibilities as band parents. One of the most interesting things about singing under DB was when he would give a starting downbeat and the choir would come in (in perfect sync) a second or more afterward. I was fascinated to learn that this sometimes happens in Christiansen-school choirs. Dr. Koski, the founder of the A Cappella Choir was trained at St. Olaf. I’m not sure if it happens at St. Olaf under Anton Armstrong, though. It would be interesting to know.

  5. cancerman says:

    Was Generalismo Fransisco Franco still dead? How’s Rosanne Rosanna Danna?

  6. Cap'n Whook says:

    The St. Olaf choir did some of those delayed entrances under Anton Armstrong’s immediate predecessor (Kenneth Jennings?), if memory of the Christmas concerts on PBS serves.

    I think the New York Phil did that to Kurt Masur just to have the satisfaction of almost giving him a hernia on certain downbeats.

    Franco was cloned, you know, and is kept in the basement of Munger Hall at Birmingham-Southern College. 🙂

  7. RevJATB says:

    Yes, Cap’n, it was indeed Kenneth Jennings, who was only the third conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, after F. Melius Christiansen and Olaf C. Christiansen. Anton Armstrong was a student of Jennings at St. Olaf, just as Jennings was a student of Olaf Christiansen.

    That’s another reason I’m really, really glad Banks is now leading the choir. He was a student of DB, as DB was a student of George Koski, as Koski was a student of Olaf Christiansen. It’s important to maintain that St. Olaf apostolic succession . . . 🙂

  8. Mo says:

    Scholarships. Oh, yes. My elder son is hoping to go to Samford, but gets upset with us when we get “parental” about his grades. He is on the borderline of being eligible to interview for the Presidential Scholarships at Samford, in part because he made a B in some sop classes (sop, not soph) that most honor students use to pad their GPA, just because he didn’t see the educational point of them enough to get motivated. As a result, his unweighted GPA is below the threshhold and we’re praying that they use the weighted GPA (which is comfortably above the threshhold) instead. Without significant scholarship support, we can’t do it.

  9. Destry McFearin says:

    After looking at the great pictures I was in tears for not attending. I am so sad that I missed that glorious event. It would have been great to see old friends and be with DB and Mama B again.

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