Choral director to be featured at March 29 LRP

Renowned choral director Elvera Voth will direct a 20-member men?s chorus in a presentation titled, ?Men of Song? at the Tabor College Learning in Retirement Program, at 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 29, in the Wohlgemuth Music Education Center.

Still active in her mid-eighties, Voth has assembled 20 of the best male voices from her retirement community, Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton and Schowalter Villa in Hesston. They sing a variety of secular and sacred music.

?Elvera is a gifted musician who is not content to sit in a rocking chair in retirement,? said Connie Isaac, LRP director. ?We will all be blessed and entertained by the music they bring to us. This is one program you won?t want to miss.?

According to Isaac, when Voth retired she missed hearing the wonderful sound of male voice groups and was surprised there weren?t more of them in the area, considering the rich Mennonite tradition of strong male singing. So, she gathered her own choral group together.

According to information on the Kidron Bethel Village website, Voth earned a bachelor?s degree in 1946 at Bethel College and a master?s in music education in 1948 at Northwestern University. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska in the early 1980s.

After moving to Alaska in 1961, she met world-renowned choral director, Robert Shaw, who had come to conduct the Alaska Festival of Music. They would work together for a decade.

Voth enjoyed a distinguished, 40-year music career, conducting the Alaska Methodist University Chorale, University of Alaska Singers, and directing the Sunday afternoon concert series at the Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum.

Voth also founded the Anchorage Opera Co. and served as its artistic director while teaching at the University of Alaska. She conducted the Anchorage Community Chorus, which was the backbone of the Festival of Music.

In addition, she founded the Alaska Chamber Singers in 1986, a choir that once traveled for two weeks in Siberia. She also established the Anchorage Boys? Choir.

In 1996, she established the East Hill Singers. She also was chorus master for the Kansas City Lyric Opera and used a blend of those members and some from local church choirs to practice and perform with minimum-security inmates from the Lansing (Kan.) Correctional Facility. The inmates? performances drew large audiences.

As a tribute to her contributions to music, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts dedicated Elvera Voth Hall, an 1,800-square-foot performance facility, in 2003.

The public is welcome to attend all Learning in Retire?ment programs. Fees are $3 per session or $15 per semester ($28 per couple). Registration and discount cards for lunch in the cafeteria will be available at the door during the half hour before the meeting.

For more information, contact Connie Isaac, coordinator at 620-947-3121, 947-5964, or

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