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Westminster Choir College welcomes alumni and celebrates Commencement

05/19/2019

The high point of Westminster Choir College’s Commencement ceremony is Warren Martin’s Anthem of Dedication in which the graduating students sing “Here am I, send me…” in response to the question sung by their classmates, “…whom shall we send?”

This act of committing one’s life to music — symbolic for some and literal for others — is a bond that connects all generations Westminster Choir College graduates. 

On Friday, May 17, Westminster Choir College's Class of 2019 was “sent” and welcomed by alumni who journeyed to Princeton for Westminster’s annual reunions, which culminated in the Commencement ceremony in the Princeton University Chapel.

It was a full two days of concerts, receptions, dinners and recognitions, beginning with gatherings on Thursday afternoon followed by a concert by the Westminster Jubilee Singers.

Friday began with the Alumni Chapel Service. The participants included the Reverend Kathryn Avery ’74, who was the leader and homilist; Westminster Chapel Choir, conducted by Tom T. Shelton Jr. and graduate assistant conductor Emma Daniels and organist Timothy Hall ’80, M.M. ’89. Andrew Megill M.M. ’89 made a moving tribute to Joseph Flummerfelt and conducted everyone in singing Brahms’ How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place and Allen Crowell ’59, led everyone in singing the Lutkin Benediction at the conclusion of the service.

The Westminster Williamson Voices, conducted by James Jordan, performed after the Chapel Service. Their program included excerpts from James Whitbourn’s Annelies, which the ensemble performed at the Washington National Cathedral in April. They concluded with singing Joseph Flummerfelt’s arrangement of Danny Boy, with no conductor on the podium.  Needless to say, it was an emotion-filled conclusion.

Acting Alumni Council President Thomas Faracco led the Alumni Awards ceremony. Alumni Merit Awards were presented to Gerald Custer ’75, Darren Dailey ’89 and Timothy Hall ’80, ’89. A Westminster Merit Award was presented to Professor Phyllis Lehrer and a Westminster Service Award was presented to P. Randolph Hill. The Williamson Medal, the highest honor presented by the Westminster Choir College Alumni Association, which recognizes exceptional individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the life of Westminster Choir College, was presented to Professor Laura Brooks Rice.

Commencement was held at the Princeton University Chapel on Friday afternoon. Donald Nally ’87 delivered the Commencement Address, and Professor James Goldsworthy delivered the Charge to the Graduating Classes. Lauren Sander ’19 conducted by Anthem of the Graduating Classes, Forever, which was composed by sophomore Samuel Scheibe. An honorary Doctor of Music was presented to Nally.

The ceremony was live-streamed worldwide. After the video is processed it will be available for viewing on the Web.

A few sprinkles of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the families of the graduates and the alumni, who agreed that another outstanding class of musicians had indeed been “sent.”

View a gallery of Alumni Reunion Photos.

View a gallery of Commencement Photos.

Read Donald Nally's Address to the Graduating Classes.

Read James Goldsworthy's Charge to the Graduating Classes