There’s concern that last night’s MacMurray College choir concert might be the last performance for the group.
During last night’s concert, Director Peter Miller led the vocalists in performances ranging from Johann Bach to “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie. The concert went well and was well attended, but Miller says he was told Thursday that he will not be returning to Mac in the coming year.
“The division chair for humanities told me yesterday, officially, that I was not going to be returning, I would not have a position, and there would be no music courses offered. We have a website and it lists all of the courses we are going to be teaching, that semester and the one coming up. So, all my courses for next fall were listed one day, and the next day it was blank.”
MacMurray officials made the decision last October to cut a variety of programs, including the music minor that Miller is the director of, from the curriculum. Officials cited a lack of student interest in these programs as the reason for the cuts.
Many of last night’s performers aren’t actually students at Mac. Some are recent graduates or community volunteers. The program for the concert listed graduates from as far back as 1963 participating as guest vocalists, with only 6 of the 23 participants being listed as active students of MacMurray College.
This doesn’t mean the end of choir at Mac, says Miller, and there are some options for those who still wish to continue their music education.
“It’ll be offered as a student activity through the student activities program. It will be an extra-curricular activity, there won’t be a faculty member there to advise it, supervise it, or direct. A student will have to step up and take leadership and run rehearsals and teach notes. If they do accompanied music they will need someone else to play piano besides. I don’t know how much structure or organization or leadership that offers, but I imagine a few students will get together and try to keep it going”
In an op-ed published in the Jacksonville city newspaper this week, MacMurray Provost Dr. James Maxwell said it’s the school’s intention to provide continued support for the choir.
Maxwell said the loss of the music minor has “not been an ideal situation” and that the school is working towards a smooth transition for students.