Goshen College Music Center opens with praise to God
In a weekend that filled the senses with acoustical song and visual inventions, Goshen College dedicated
the 68,000-square-foot Music Center during Alumni Weekend Oct. 4-6 as a place where artists and
apprentices can give glory to God through the arts.
President Shirley H. Showalter dedicated the building by thanking God: "In God's great wisdom, God gave us the means
to offer praise, and that's music."
The 1,150-square-foot Hershberger Art Gallery is named for Abner Hershberger, 34-year professor and current artist in
residence; the Rieth Recital Hall honors the late Martha Rieth, a longtime friend to Goshen College; and Sauder Concert
Hall recognizes Maynard and Carolyn Sauder, music building steering committee chairs, and Sauder Woodworking, Archbold,
The gallery's opening exhibition featured the art of Hershberger and each current art department faculty member.
Performances by individual faculty members, campus music groups and an alumni choir christened the two music
Showalter dedicated the joyful noises to be created within the Music Center to Mary Oyer, professor emerita
of music. To embracing applause, Oyer led nearly 1,000 in attendance in "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
The rousing chorus followed the premiere of "Te Deum," a piece by composer James E. Clemens '87, commissioned for the
Music Center inauguration, and preceded the stirring chorus of "Lead the People's Song," a Brian Wren text set to music
by Lee Dengler, assistant professor of music.
Showalter said the center's public concerts and community music school would help thank area residents for their
support; Elkhart County donors gave $7.75 million of the $24 million project cost.
"Music is in the heart of northern Indiana and we want to be a place that recognizes that heart," Showalter said.