Anderson University is proud to present the 40th Anniversary celebration and performance of Alleluia! A Praise Gathering for Believers on Friday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. in Reardon Auditorium. Alleluia was composed by AU alumni Bill and Gloria Gaither. The concert is free and open to the public.
"All of us in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance are delighted that we can celebrate the 40th anniversary of Alleluia with a performance of this historic work," said Dr. Jeff Wright, dean of the College of the Arts and co-chair of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. "This music came at a time when the Christian church around the world was opening up to new ways of expressing its deeply held faith, and this work allowed many traditions within the Christian church to unite in song and give a fresh voice to its praise of God."
According to Wright, Alleluia was introduced shortly after Vatican II (1962-65), which opened the Catholic church to new forms of music. At the same time, the Protestant church was branching out during the 1960s and 1970s and finding fresh musical styles to incorporate into worship settings. These musical movements within the church made it possible for a work such as Alleluia to spread "like wildfire" through all types of Christian churches and worship traditions when it was published in 1973.
"Alleluia was among the first of these types of cantatas for the church that incorporated orchestra with choir to tell a compelling message," said Wright. "The use of orchestral forces was an innovative and exciting way to elevate choral music to a new level of beauty and intensity. This, along with the fact that the music is memorable, singable, and accessible to all people, made this work an instant success."
The performance will feature the AU Chorale and area church choirs. The AU Orchestra will be joined by faculty members and friends.
"The impact of this work is difficult to grasp because it reached across denominational lines and across cultural divides," said Wright. "It seems that its message is still relevant to Christian believers today."
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.