A host of special events are scheduled at Eastern Mennonite University for the week leading up to the inauguration of Loren Swartzendruber as eighth president of EMU.
Installation ceremonies for Dr. Swartzendruber will take place 2:30 p.m. Mar. 27 in the University Commons Arena.
Theater, concerts, comedy, a golf tournament, an international fair and a worship service are among the celebrative activities planned on the inaugural theme, “Story Shaping Story.”
* The EMU Theater mainstage production of Shakespeare’s immortal farce, “Comedy of Errors,” will be presented 7:30 p.m. Mar. 19-21 in the Old Gym Theater in the University Commons. Tickets are available by calling the EMU box office, 540-432-4582.
* The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir will hold its spring concerts at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren, 420 College View Drive in Bridgewater. The program will be presented 7 p.m. Mar. 20 and again 3 p.m. Mar. 21, and will feature 150 children in the Preparatory, Treble and Concert choirs. Tickets will be on sale at the door.
* A comedy trio, “CPR,” will present an evening of improvisation 8 p.m. Mar. 22, in the University Commons arena. Members of CPR – Carl Crispin, Pete Vanderluis and Jeff “Ringo” Van Haitsma – specialize in personality-based sketches based on “who we are – three guys just being ourselves and sharing the joy and laughter that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.” Much of their material is made up on the spot on stage, based on ideas or themes suggested by audiences. Advance tickets are available from the EMU box office.
* The EMU-community orchestra will present a concert 7:30 p.m. Mar. 23 in Lehman Auditorium. The 33 member ensemble, conducted by Anthony Van Pelt, will perform works by Strauss and Chopin and an original work by VanPelt. Admission is free.
* An inaugural “President’s Cup” golf tournament will be held Mar. 24 at the Spotswood Country Club. A luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m., with tee-off time at 1 p.m. in a two-person captain’s choice tourney. The event will seek to raise $10,000 to launch the Loren and Pat Swartzendruber Endowed Scholarship Fund for student financial assistance.
* An inaugural concert will be presented 8 p.m. Mar. 26 in Lehman Auditorium. Dr. Kenneth J. Nafziger, professor of music, will direct the EMU Chamber Singers and the Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra in spirituals, Cuban music and selections by J.S. Bach. Tony Brown, baritone and artist-in-residence at Hesston College where Swartzendruber was president 10 years, will be featured soloist. Admission to the program is free.
* The inauguration ceremony, at 2:30 p.m. Mar. 27 in the University Commons arena, will feature an address by President Swartzendruber on the theme, “Sacred Conversations.” He will reflect on his belief that all that members of the EMU community say and do, in and out of the classroom, formal and informal, contributes to the intellectual and spiritual formation of students.
Rosalind E. Andreas, chair of the Mennonite Education Agency board of directors, and Sheryl K. Wyse, chair of the EMU board of trustees, will lead the installation for Swartzendruber. Kenneth J. Nafziger, professor of music, will lead the new university hymn, and a litany of support for the new president written by Jay B. Landis, professor of English, will be read. The ceremony is open to the public.
* At 8 p.m. Mar. 27, the Commons arena will take on a “Twilight on the Plaza” motif with music, food and entertainment with an international flair. Admission is $5.
* Freeman J. Miller, bishop/overseer of churches in Philadelphia that are members of Lancaster (PA) Mennonite Conference, will speak on the theme, “The Pearl of Great Price,” at an inaugural worship service 10 a.m. Mar. 28 in Lehman Auditorium. Miller, a 1975 Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate, also teaches urban studies half time at the Philadelphia campus of Messiah College. The service will include congregational singing, scripture readings and communion.
* Inaugural activities will conclude with a concert by the Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony with guest conductor Efrain Amaya from Pittsburgh, Pa., at 7 p.m. Mar. 28 in Lehman Auditorium. The 17-member junior strings ensemble and the 35-member youth orchestra will perform selections by Amaya with other pieces featuring student soloists Martin King, French horn; Rebecca Peck, cello; and Sarah Sachs, piano. Suggested donation is $5 at the door.
“The inaugural events will be a time of celebrating a new beginning through the sharing of the gifts of students, faculty and
staff,” said Karen B. Miller, director of institutional research at EMU and chair of the inaugural planning committee. “The theme, ‘story shaping story,’ will connect the various events, focusing on relationship with the community, the Mennonite Church and our alumni that sustain us as individuals and as an academic community,” she added.