Northwest University Homecoming
Alumni Hymn Sing
October 14, 2006
This article only touches on a portion of the activities of the Northwest University weekend. It's presented from the perspective of our 60's alumni, and their participation. You may find broader coverage of the activities of the weekend in publications from the University, or on their website.
On Saturday, October 14, 2006, Alumni from across the years, gathered on the Northwest University Campus for reunion and celebration. The alumni of the 40's, 50's and 60's celebrated together in a one and a half hour hymn sing in Butterfield Chapel on Saturday Morning.
The program was led by a group of twelve 60s' Singers, accompanied by Anita (Green) Wheeler on the keyboard, and Dr. Robert Swaffield on the Organ. The 60's Singers pictured above, from left to right are, [BACK ROW] Judi (Versolenko) Bullock, Elaine Eoff, and Sharon Wagner [FRONT ROW] Cherie (Miller) Ruchty, Anita (Benskin) Buchanan, Rosie (Nordby) Dewey, Phyllis (Danielson) Larson, Mary (Raybuck) Casper, Gene Casper, Dale Larson, and Bob Schmoll. [FRONT] Elvin Huston [LOWER LEFT AT KEYBOARD] Anita wheeler.
Behind the scenes, and taking the above picture, from her place in the chapel balcony, was Eunice Wheeler. Although unseen during the hymn sing, her contribution was very evident to everyone. The Hymn Booklets that she organized and prepared for the 60's Singers, and the corresponding Power Point display for the congregation allowed everyone to move together, undistracted, from song to song. Thank you, Eunice!
There was a wonderful spiritual anointing that seemed
to permeate the entire program. Everyone was thrilled by the spirited
singing of old hymns like, "Marching To Zion", "We Shall See The King
When He Comes", When We All Get To Heaven", "Victory In Jesus", "When
The Battle's Over We Shall Wear A Crown", "The Solid Rock", A Shelter
In The Time Of Storm", "We Have An Anchor That Keeps The Soul", and
In addition to the congregational singing, we were treated to some special music from Elaine Eoff, Elvin Huston, and three members of the original Vision-Aires Trio from 1965. Those three were, Elaine Eoff, Judi (Versolenko) Bullock, and Anita (Green) Wheeler. In the picture on the right, the Vision-Aires are singing an old rendition of, "The Wonder Of It All". We were all moved by Elaine's personal testimony, and the singing of her original composition called, "Wilderness". Toward the end of the hymn sing program, Elvin Huston sang a song that was introduced to us in the Northwest College Chapel in the 60's. It is titled, "I Cannot Tell", and was written to the melody of "The Londondary Air", more popularly known as the melody to "Danny Boy".
In addition to the contribution to the hymn sing program by the 60's Alumni, there were three other presenters. Rosemarie Kowalski, Director of Alumni Services presented the alumni from the different decades with a commemorative metals. Gene Peretti, treated us to one man's stories of life as a Bible School student at Northwest Bible Institute in the 1940's. His great sense of humor, and skilled story telling added a delightful dimension to the day. We were also honored to have Northwest University President, Dr. Don Argue and his wife present. Dr. Argue brought a brief message suggesting that we are products of the past, guardians of the present, and architects of the future. He related some NU history, introduced us to some of the faculty and programs of the present, and updated us on some of the vision and plans for the future of Northwest University. At the conclusion of his message, Dr. Argue led the Alumni in a wonderful season of extended prayer which was followed by a series of prayer choruses like, "Got Any Rivers", "Reach Out and Touch The Lord", "Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior", "I Need Thee Oh I Need Thee", and "Have Thine Own Way Lord".
It's hard to describe the sense of Love, Joy, and Peace, that filled our hearts as we concluded the session by joining hands, and singing, "Blest Be The Tie That Binds Our Hearts In Christian Love", and "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again"!
60's Choralon's Sing portions of ...
"How Big Is God!"
"The Lord Is My Light"
Following a delightful lunch in the Dining Hall, the 60's Alumni returned to the Chapel to rehearse our music for the Saturday night Choralon's Reunion Concert. Cherie (Miller) Ruchty of Marysville, Wa, directed this impressive, 12 voice Choir, and Sharon Wagner of Las Vegas, NV, played the piano. It was obvious to us all, that when we had used up our allotted rehearsal hour in the Chapel, we were far from ready to sing our two pieces of music. So we decided to retire to a private rehearsal room beneath the Chapel for an extended session. This photo shot after our extended rehearsal, gives a little closer view of the radiant faces of our happy Choralon singers. Eunice Wheeler also joined and sang with us although as the photographer she is not in this photo.
Pictured above from left to right (FRONT ROW) Elaine Eoff, Judy (Versolenko) Bullock, Anita (Benskin) Buchanan, Rosie (Nordby) Dewey, Cherie (Miller) Ruchty, Anita (Green) Wheeler, Sharon Wagner (BACK ROW) Elvin Huston, Dale Larson, Gene Casper, Bob Schmoll, Mary (Raybuck) Casper, Phyllis (Danielson) Larson.
We have no photos from the evening concert, however staff of the University took many photos of that event which will, no doubt appear in upcoming University Alumni publications, and online. I'm also told that the evening was video taped. The program comprised a journey through the history of the Choralons, and presentations of three different Choralon groups, from the 60's, from the Swaffield era, 70's-90's, and a grand presentation of the current Choralons under the direction of Brenda Rasmussen. Wow! Our little 60's group was glad we didn't have to follow the larger choirs. However, we were honored beyond words, following our presentation, by a rousing applause that continued until the last one of us were back in our seats in the audience. I'm thinking that this gesture probably said more about the audience than about the performance.
I'd like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Argue, and the staff of Northwest University for their wonderful generosity, and hospitality. Thanks to Director of Alumni Services, Rosemarie Kowalski, for all her work and coordinations. Thanks to Doc Swaffield for his help on the Organ. And, Thanks to Brad Murphy for all his technical assistance with equipment and sound.