Glory in the highest
The community celebrated with Tabor College this weekend as the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts was officially dedicated and played host to its first performances, including a magnificent rendition of Handel’s “Messiah” that played to an overflow crowd Sunday.
The truest celebration, however, is yet to come. It will play out daily as faculty and students immerse themselves in a venue that encourages them to strive for the finest in visual and performing arts.
Not that they haven’t been already. Long before the new building, the arts have been integral to Tabor’s mission. They’ve attracted and retained talented, dedicated staff, and they’ve gotten the most out of their facilities and partnership with Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church.
But there’s nothing quite like being in a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility to create an aura of professionalism earlier venues simply couldn’t match. Art is influenced by an artist’s environment, as is a viewer’s or listener’s experience. That was evident in the performers onstage and the patrons milling about the almost cathedral-like atrium.
The celebration will continue to play out as the facility draws new and diverse talent to Tabor. Prospective arts students considering Tabor will have to think twice about going anywhere else once they experience the arts center. A wide variety of performing artists will want to perform there once they learn of it. It could also enhance non-arts events staged by other Tabor departments.
Most surely, the celebration will continue on as the facility serves the Tabor community as a home for communal fellowship and spiritual growth. An old hymn begins, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” In one sense, it doesn’t matter where those gatherings take place, as long as they do. Nevertheless, gatherings for the Tabor family have a new home, one that’s ready whenever it’s needed.
There’s no sin in having a measure of satisfaction in this glorious new facility, because it’s nestled in humility expressed by everyone associated with it through a common refrain: “To God be the Glory.” The hands of humans, guided by grace, have created a magnificent testament to the living nature of faith through the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts.
I believe the response from above would be an equally glorious, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants.”
— david colburn