Title: Celebration concert kicks off convention
"It will be spectacular!" said Anderson University's Phil Fair as he described the opening night of the 114th annual International Convention of the Church of God. "A Celebration of Servanthood," a musical celebration, will kick off the June 16-21 convention with talented singers Jay Rouse, Amy Rouse, Marc Clarke and Kim Tabor, all AU alums, scheduled to perform in the 7,500-seat Warner Auditorium. The performance will begin 7 p.m. Friday, June 16. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The local community is invited to attend. The event is free.
"Music of faith reaches a new level when such gifted musicians come together to celebrate," said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. "Anderson University is especially proud of our alumni, students and friends who are joining voices and instruments together for this grand occasion. Servanthood is a central theme for Anderson University and for the church. We want to lift up this commitment in a wonderful evening of worship and celebration."
Thousands of people from all over the world are expected to attend the convention, as well as the opening-night musical celebration.
"We expect the auditorium to be jam-packed," said Fair, director of advancement services for AU. He believes the audience will thoroughly enjoy the evening.
"The singers are not only gifted artists, but wonderful people," he said.
In addition to the four solo singers, the opening event will also feature a 250-voice choir -- representing singers from area church choirs -- and a symphonic orchestra.
"The music that people will be hearing is all brand-new pieces of work that have not been heard yet," said Fair,
adding the evening will also feature new arrangements of church favorites, "How Great Thou Art," "Lord, Have Mercy" and "Glory, Hallelujah To Our God."
Randy Vader is serving as conductor of the event.
As one of the guest artists, Tabor is thrilled to perform at AU, her beloved alma mater. She graduated in 1992.
"This is really a big honor, especially with the theme of 'Celebration of Servanthood.' Since I was a student here, Anderson University really stresses in teaching students how to be servants. This is where I learned that, and so for them (the university) to ask me back for something like this is truly an honor, and I am very, very excited about it," she said.
Tabor, a contemporary Christian recording artist, who is now performing all over the country, recently had a premiere of her first CD and will be singing three songs from her latest project, including songs, "Come On Into the House," "He's Worthy" and "It Took A Lamb."
She will be accompanied by the orchestra and 250-person choir during the convention's opening night musical event.
"I'm really excited about it; there's nothing like performing with a live orchestra and choir," said Tabor. "It should be a really great evening."
Tabor said she's thrilled to be on the stage with singers she's admired through the years.
"I consider it a big honor to be able to perform with people like Jay Rouse, Amy Rouse and Marc Clarke. When I was a college student, those were the people I looked up to, and so now to be able to share the stage with them is very exciting."
Fair said the opening-night event will celebrate the role of servanthood in the life of the church.
"A concluding part of the evening will feature songs by the choir and orchestra, with a narrative that identifies some of the servant leaders of the church who sometimes do not get recognized," said Fair, adding some of the "unsung" servants are Sunday school teachers, ushers and custodial workers.
---- Theresa Campbell is a reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.