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Concert to honor gifts that live beyond the givers

Surprise name shows up on memorial plaque

News editor

When Tabor College music professor and conductor Brad Vogel drops his baton at the end of a season-ending concert Sunday at the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts, more than 200 supporters won’t join in applause, because they won’t be there.

The performance of “Requiem for the Living,” a work by Dan Forrest, is first and foremost in recognition of people who donated to the campaign to build the center and did not live to see it completed.

“At the dedication service last December, when President Jules Glanzer mentioned that more than 200 people gave to the campaign for the center and did not live to see its completion, I thought, ‘That’s something I’d like to honor,’” Vogel said.

Two of those donors were Lee and Naomi Eitzen of Fairview, Oklahoma. Naomi, an elementary and music education major, met Lee when they were attending Tabor in 1972. The couple married in 1974 at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, and the couple’s two daughters, Jennifer and Jessica, also attended Tabor.

“Both of their daughters sang in the choir here, and they came back and sang the dedication with me, too,” Vogel said. “That was a good, supportive family.”

A plaque in the center’s lobby lists those like the Eitzens who have died, but there’s one person on the list who is very much alive.

“I don’t know who, but somebody gave an estate gift in my name,” Vogel said. “My name is on the plaque of all these people who have gone on. I would love to know who did that.”

Glanzer clued in Vogel to his inclusion when he emailed a list of names on the plaque.

“When Jules sent this over here and said, ‘By the way, your name is on the list,’ I emailed back and said, ‘How can that be? I just pinched myself and I’m still here,’” Vogel laughingly said.

“Requiem for the Living” is a relatively new work that infuses traditional Latin requiem language with additional text to speak to the turmoil of life and how peace is found through faith, Vogel said.

“It’s a thing of peace, it’s a recognition of heaven, of the peace of heaven, but also an encouragement for peace for those living on earth,” he said. “It was a perfect work to honor those people.”

Vogel said the contemporary style will resonate with listeners.

“People love movie scores,” he said. “When you hear this score you’ll hear that harmonic and melodic style you’ll hear in movies. Everything in it is very pretty, very rich, very lush.”

The performance by concert choir and orchestra will feature soprano Jen Stephenson as soloist. The cost of music and the orchestra was supported by MB Foundation, Vogel said.

Tabor alum Julie Warkentin will perform an organ solo to conclude the concert.

The concert will be at 7 p.m. Sunday in Richert Auditorium.

“This one I’m particularly invested in because it has such deep meaning for the end of the year, for the completion of this building, for these types of gifts from people who gave to something they would never get to enjoy,” Vogel said. “To me, that’s giving.”

Last modified May 9, 2018

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