This year, my dad retires after 41 years of teaching, ten at Mid-America Nazarene College, and thirty-one at Geneva College.
The choir - The Genevans - has been an important part of his work and has allowed him to effect a lot of lives.
(The Genevans have affected a lot of lives, too. For instance, my brother, sister and I grew up with 40 or 50 older brothers and sisters who came and went every four years! We grew up thinking we were in college!)
Someone ("Who?" "I don't know who, very likely the astronomer royal -") decided to send him off to retirement in style.
So, last Saturday, over a hundred former Genevans met to rehearse, banquet, and perform together.
The evening concert was also the spring home concert for the current Genevans so we got to hear them, as well. A real treat.
After the Eight Bells (mens' barbershop double quartet, also known as the "8 DingDongs) sang, all of the men of the Genevans surprised Dad with a rendition of "We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go..." from White Christmas.
It was obvious that those guys love and respect him and I am so thankful they found a way to show it like that. Way to go, guys.
They saluted at the end and everything. Dad returned the salute and dismissed them with military precision.
The picture below shows all 200+ of us on stage.
I'm a little shadowy figure to the far left. John is one of the faceless masses of tenors. (Heehee.)
We sang some of the classics from Genevans' history: O Magnify, Hallelujah, Beautiful Savior, and, my favorite, What Wondrous Love, among others.
The picture below shows Mom and Dad surrounded by a whole bunch of people who love and appreciate them and the work they've both done for many years.
The guy yelling in the back row cracks me up. I don't know who he is, but he really got into the spirit of things.
Students from Dad's first year, 1981, were there, and every year except two, right up to today.
The reunion was a blast in and of itself, and enough of a reason for us to go back. We saw friends and classmates we hadn't seen for ages and it was so good. The only sad thing was that we didn't have nearly enough time to catch up with everyone we wanted to see!
But to see my parents honored this way was simply beyond words. I know something of what they've been through and what they've sacrificed, and I am so happy that they had this chance to see some of the good they've done throughout the years.
Lest this get too gushy, let me also say that I know their imperfections and the places they've messed up. But this simply points me to the One who has continually blessed them, not for their virtue, but because of His infinite goodness and grace. He has used them for 41 years to bless college students (and innumerable others) with hard work and humor, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, high standards of musicality and personal integrity, blood, sweat, and sometimes tears.
Not often do we get a glimpse of how we affect others, especially over a long period of time, but Saturday was such a day for my parents and I am so glad that John, the kids and I could be there to see it, too.
God is good.