This is spring commencement weekend at Azusa Pacific University and the campus is buzzing. Today is the last day of finals and young men and women are beginning to say goodbye. Some of the students working in our office have completed their work, could “check out,” yet are coming back in tomorrow, delaying their departures and emotional farewells.
I have been peering out my office window this morning, chuckling as I watch students carting accumulated debris from their shared housing bungalows to their cars or the trash, probably doing two things: 1) packing up their goods; vacating for the summer 2) cleaning up “the evidence” before their parents arrive tomorrow.
When I first arrived in 2002 I thought I’d never bond with the young adults. Preschoolers were easy, but college students? I was wrong. I love these brilliant and hopeful young people. I hate saying goodbye and I tear-up every time. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and I celebrate their youthful exuberance. They are talented and hardworking, and for the last few years it has been very hard to see them graduate, diploma and student loans in-hand, into an uncertain employment future.
So I wanted to share today because this morning Azusa Pacific University’s Men’s Chorale performed for the first time at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.
The Men’s Chorale is an admired choral ensemble in the School of Music, and the 100-voice talented group of men performs regularly at churches, schools and civic organizations. There have been other notable appearances this year including a performance at the USS Missouri in Hawaii and at the Celebration of Freedom Gala, honoring 34 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library.
This morning we watched the young men perform via a live web-feed and again, near tears! We don’t always get to see our college guys decked-out in formal wear—and they look so young to me! All I could think of was what a tremendous honor it is to be chosen from all the other choirs across the nation, and how they will never forget this! Along with their wonderful director, Harold CLousing, the Men’s Chorale will now enjoy its first east coast tour.
I had hoped that there’d be a youtube glimpse of today’s performance…sometimes it’s just that fast! But no. No parents or friends in the audience to whip out an iPhone. But I do have two clips to share from our School of Music, and I hope you might get a little lift from them. The first is a clip of the Men’s Chorus singing an Irish Blessing to a lunch crowd at a Chick-fil-A (fast food, if you don’t have them where you live), and the second a flash mob performance from the holidays. LAX invited the students to entertain weary airport travelers. I love watching the faces of those who aren’t expecting the serenade!
I simply wanted to pass along the word that despite the almost incessant messages decrying the devolution of society, often scapegoating young people, I have a lot more hope than that…I see evidence every day.
You just caught me all misty-eyed today. Debra