By Ashley Davis
It’s that time of year where the countdown to spring break is what most students have to look forward to. The same goes for the Baylor A Cappella Choir.
This semester marks the choir’s 4th concert tour conducted by Dr. Alan Raines, associate professor of ensembles and director of choral activities. Raines is also the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Music.
In times past, the choir has traveled all over the country, to including New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Raines said since he has been the conductor, the choir has alternated between national and regional tours to ensure the music reaches the largest potential audience.
This year, the choir will focus on areas closer to home, with most of its concerts scheduled in major Texas cities and Oklahoma.
“The majority of our students are from Texas, and we feel it’s important to reach their families and friends as well as on the international level,” Raines said.
“We’ve sent over 28,000 mailing advertisements to alumni to ensure the legacy of A Cappella is remembered.”
Raines said past A Cappella choirs did the tour years ago but the tradition faded out.
When Raines came to Baylor four years ago, part of his job was to reignite the choir’s passion for touring. Raines said the tour is very fulfilling to him as a conductor.
“The repetition of performing makes the music evolve,” Raines said. “That evolution is a journey that illuminates the poetry and text within the music. It’s completely miraculous.”
Raines said, as a conductor on tour, he gets to see poetry in motion combined with an evolving art form.
According to the School of Music website, the A Cappella Choir is the premier chorale ensemble of the university.
The members are selected by competitive audition at the beginning of the fall semester and only 60 out of hundreds of applicants are chosen at the discretion of Raines.
Tim Brendler, Truett Seminary student and graduate assistant conductor for the choir, said he is really excited for this year’s tour.
“I think it’s especially edifying for us to use the gift God has given us to connect the joy of song with people’s lives,” Brendler said. “The sharing of the music is what makes it joyful.”
Brendler has been on four tours with the A Cappella Choir both as a member and as a graduate assistant alongside Jonathan Pilgrim, who is also a graduate assistant in the choir.
Brendler will conduct one of the pieces the choir will sing on the tour, titled “Loch Lomond,” a traditional Scottish song arranged by Jonathan Quick.
“We excel at choosing repertoire that will speak to the members and audience at the same time,” Brendler said. “All the songs have a connecting theme of God’s grace and the persistence of song in troubling times. I truly believe we are a beacon of light in a dark world.”