Organized in 1941 by Dr. A.C. “Cheesy” Voran, the Centenary College Choir has concertized throughout the world for seven decades, giving rise to its nickname as “America’s Singing Ambassadors” by the press. Constantly investigating new and productive avenues in the world of collegiate choral music, the Choir’s innovative spirit is evident in the unique and diverse manner of programming, a repertoire that ranges from Bach to Broadway. The Choir engages audiences not only through an eclectic repertoire, but also through emotional, heart-felt music making. The 75th Anniversary Program exemplifies this varied style with the Choir’s favorites from over the years.
Cheesy’s approach to the education of choir members was holistic and dynamic. Not only striving for musical excellence, he also nurtured the idea of “liberating the personality into self-actualization.” Choir members thrived under an atmosphere of accountability, teamwork, and purpose, developing into exemplary leaders and citizens. This rich synthesis of music and camaraderie left an indelible impression on its members, creating life-long bonds and loyalty to the Choir. Dr. Voran retired in 1972, followed by a brief tenure by Dr. William Ballard, a fine choral conductor in the English Cathedral style.
In 1974 alumnus Dr. Will K. Andress became director of the choir and expanded upon the notion of “ambassador” by ushering in a biennial program of international travel. As of 2016, the Choir has sung in 32 countries on every inhabited continent of the world. Under Will’s leadership, the Choir sang for Presidents of the United States and Switzerland, the Queen of Denmark, the leaders of NATO and the Prime Minister of Thailand, in addition to gracing many of the most famous cathedrals and concert halls in the world. Striving to represent the College with fine musicianship and character, Will expanded the horizons of choir members and their world view.
Upon Will’s retirement in 2007, alumnus Dr. David Hobson assumed the director’s position and has continued the enduring philosophical approach of the choir and the rich travel legacy as well. In June 2017 the Choir will conclude its 75th Anniversary Celebration with a tour to the United Kingdom. The annual schedule of the Choir usually finds the group offering around 35 performances in an array of tour concerts, college ceremonies, church and alumni relations programs, recruitment activities, and other Shreveport/ Bossier City community events. Choir members represent nearly every academic major at the college, receive generous scholarships, and assume much of the organizational leadership and success of the organization.