Gem State Homecoming Concert Headlined by Oregon Adventist Men's Chorus
The Oregon Adventist Men's Chorus was joined by students and alumni on April 3 at the Gem State Academy annual homecoming celebration. Lois Hall's magnificent arrangement of "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked" highlighted the Sabbath Church service.
The auditorium was filled to capacity for the afternoon choral presentation. Gem State Academy music director Ben Purvis, a dozen young men singers and alumni sang with the chorus as well. A brass choir representing faculty, students and community members accompanied the chorus on select numbers.
The combined concert with the school's students is another step in the vision of OAMC conductor Lou Wildman. "What we do is not so much about the music as it is about connecting with each other," he says. "Inviting young men to stand shoulder to shoulder with Christian male role models who are not afraid to share their love of the Lord through music has great value. We don't preach to them, we don't come with an attitude," he continues thoughtfully. "The truth is we are excited to be a small part of their life's journey. They are, after all, the leaders of tomorrow — we look up to them. We are privileged to share the same platform, experiencing ministry together through music and singing."
The OAMC vision to share life, music and ministry with the young men of the church is not new. Wildman says that through all these years he's had a passion for impacting young men to become involved with their local churches when they are adults. Beginning in 1995, young men singers from Walla Walla College, Laurelwood Academy, Portland Adventist Academy, Upper Columbia Academy, Milo Academy and Livingston Adventist Academy have shared in their ministry. In April 2009, four of these young men (three with their fathers) traveled with about 100 OAMC singers on the Mission to Romania for two weeks. One young man, Zach Parks, contributed several entries for the daily Web log reports, which can be found at oamcromania.blogspot.com.
Wildman tells the story of Tom Tavasci, now a music teacher at Forest Lake Academy in Florida, and an experience Tavasci had when he was a student at Auburn Adventist Academy. One weekend a brass ensemble from Walla Walla University came to the school and presented Friday and Sabbath services, along with a music workshop. It was then and there, Tavasci said, from that one encounter, that he dedicated his life to the work of Adventist education.
"There's no predicting how a young man's life might be changed from singing with the OAMC." Wildman says. "We can never know what will come of such an encounter."
For more information about the Oregon Adventist Men's Chorus and future concerts, visit www.oamc.org.