By Sierra Navarro, Staff Writer
The Department of Music added a new choral ensemble, Apollo Choir, to replace Chrysalis Women’s Choir and Testament Men’s Choir this fall.
The ensemble is not the first “Apollo Choir” in Olivet’s history. In 1947, under the direction of Kathryn Zook, a ministry called Apollo Choir was first formed on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. Other directors throughout the years include Naomi Larsen and Ken Bade, who is still a musician in the Bourbonnais community.
This ministry was formed to fulfill what was at that time a large and growing student body. Now, 67 years later, Apollo Choir has returned.
Under the direction of Professor Kay Welch, Apollo is an educational outreach ministry that will be serving the community in a way that other choirs and campus ministries have not done before.
“Apollo was created because we, the music department, saw a need for a choral ministry that would serve this community at large,” Welch said. “My vision for Apollo is that we would serve our community by expanding the choral opportunities for junior high and high school students by first, going in to meet them in their school and second, inviting them to participate with us in our spring concert this coming April.”
There has been an overwhelming response of excitement from Olivet faculty, students and community members and educators to the “Mission Apollo” program as it begins its first year of ministry.
Senior Hayley Meadows, a longtime member of Chrysalis Choir, was excited to be a part of the transition from separate ensembles for men and women to a co-ed ensemble. “I wanted to be a part of the vision that Prof. Welch set out for us and do something completely different than the other choirs have done,” she said.
For others, Apollo Choir offers a chance to gain experience for their future career. “I want to be a worship pastor, so Apollo Choir seemed like a great option since worship pastors need to learn more contemporary music,” said freshman music ministry major Steven Nowinski. Sophomore Nathan Nelson, a music education major, agreed that Apollo provides an excellent learning experience. “Apollo will be going into and working with the public schools,” he said. “That would be good experience for me as a music education major. I want to be an example for students who are coming into the music program.”
Perhaps the most exciting element of Apollo, however, is its mission to use secular music as a vessel of ministry. “I love that part of our mission is to be a light to others,” said Nowinski. “We get to sing secular music while doing God’s work. When a lot of Christians hear the word ‘secular,’ they associate it with something bad or negative, but not all secular music is that.” Meadows agreed. “I like that even though we are singing secular music we can still sing it for the glory of God and we can use that when we go out to the schools,” she said. “We are reaching a different part of the community than the other choirs or really other ministries on Olivet have not reached.”