The joint concert featuring the Ladies of Lee and Lee University Chorale was held at the university’s Church Street Annex. The former First Baptist Church offered a hallowed setting as sopranos filled the sanctuary with purity.
Dr. Austin Patty, assistant professor of music, said the Ladies of Lee sounded better than ever. “I’ve never heard them sound that good.”
Dr. William Green, dean of the School of Music and conductor said the concert was the first joint performance by the two ensembles.
“It felt like the right thing to do at the right time,” he said.
The right thing and the right time was to provide an avenue for contributing to the relief effort in Japan after the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami there. The audience responded by contributing more than $1,200 to Operation Compassion.
People tend to feel helpless when catastrophes occur far away and avenues to help are needed. The concert was one of those avenues.
Many of the same performers toured Japan in December with English professor Dr. Arden Jensen and Patty.
The tour of Japan was Jensen’s idea. He was a missionary there for two years in the 1980s and has been looking for ways to share the gospel with the Japanese for 20 years.
The Japanese people appreciate the arts and American culture and Christmas, as far as gift-giving, Christmas trees and other trappings that go with the holiday. Jensen felt Christmas concerts would be a way to spread the gospel.
As a result the students spent a great deal of time in Sendai.
Patty said many of the Japanese people the students interacted with are now homeless, hungry or dead.
“We got to know a lot of people we are still in contact with,” he said.
Green said the student performers realized the concert was more than about music.
“There was a connection between the heart and music,” he said. “Some of the very same people they met in December are now devastated.”