Milligan concert celebrates Seeger Chapel’s 50th anniversary

Published 8:52 am Friday, February 9, 2018

An iconic fixture at Milligan College for over half a century, Seeger Memorial Chapel has served not only as a symbol of the college’s enduring faith, but also as a gathering place for campus and community events including worship, lectures, theatrical performances and countless concerts.
Milligan will host a special musical performance honoring Seeger’s 50th anniversary on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. in the college’s Mary B. Martin Auditorium located in Seeger. The event is free and open to the public.
The college’s orchestra and choral ensembles, under the direction of Milligan music professors Dr. Kellie Brown and Dr. Noah Delong, will lead a program of worship and song, featuring enduring favorites like “Amazing Grace” to recent hymns like “Before the Throne of God Above.”
Seeger’s 46-rank Schantz organ will be a highlight of the program. The massive organ, with pipes spreading across the back of the main stage area and concealed behind screened panels, was installed when Seeger was completed in 1967 by the world-famous Schantz Organ Company, of Orrville, Ohio.
Professor Emeritus of Music Dr. David Runner, who has served as Milligan’s organist for over 45 years, almost since Seeger’s completion, will be featured on “Come, Christians, Join to Sing.”
In addition, the concert will include guest organists from area churches including Matthew Brickey, from Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, Johnson City; Susan Hoover, First Baptist Church, Kingsport; and Anne Sorrell, First Broad Street United Methodist Church, Kingsport.
Sorrell will join Anne Elliott, assistant professor of music at Milligan, for a piano duet of “How Great Thou Art.”
Other highlights include “Camp Meeting: Fantasia on Early American Hymns,” from the orchestra, as well as “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” and “Old Rugged Cross,” from the orchestra and choirs, along with participation from the audience.
“In honor of Seeger, we are excited to showcase the rich heritage of inspired hymns that have served as the foundation of Christian worship and hopefully to introduce some newer hymns as a response to the Psalmist’s instruction, ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song,’” said Brown, director of the orchestra.
Seeger Chapel was dedicated on November 4, 1967, and is host to a number of architectural symbolism and works of art throughout the building, intended to point worshipers to God. The stained glass windows tell stories from the Bible, including iconic scenes from Jesus’ life in the four corners of the chapel.
The main sanctuary-auditorium, which seats 1,200, was renovated in summer 2010 and named the Mary B. Martin Auditorium in memory of local arts philanthropist James C. Martin’s wife, who made the renovation possible through a generous gift to the college. The George O. Walker Auditorium, located on the lower level, accommodates 250 and is named in honor of George O. Walker, a long-time trustee and friend of the college. The chapel was made possible through major gifts by Ura Seeger, of West Lebanon, Ind., and Mr. and Mrs. B.D. Phillips, Butler, Pa.

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