The memories below were submitted by Lycoming College Choir alumni of the 1960s and "Walt-era" 1970s, and are presented in chronological order.
Memories of a Solo
Ronald Sharp, 1960
I'll always remember the wonderful voice of Radel Goldsboro. I could never hum when she sang her solo (Steal Away). . . . The other memories I'd better not mention. . . .
Choir Stands Out
Janet (Nichols) Hill, 1962
As I look back on my college years — the Choir is the one activity that stands out. I really looked forward to choir practice. One of the reasons I am teaching music is Walter McIver.
Bob Custer, 1964
I could act intelligent on occasions — I married a member of the alto section. Of course, this occurred a couple of years after Walter G. beckoned me out the door for being late for choir once too often! Now, there's a good man. Incidentally, I've passed the same message to a couple of my own students. [FEELS SO GOOD! Do Da Do Da Do Da Do]
And the Finger Pointed
Joe Amico, 1969
Walter McIver did not designate soloists for "Every Time I Feel the Spirit." Everyone was responsible for knowing the parts and he would point at the designated times. During an intermission, we each designated someone in an opposite section to sing when he pointed. Was he surprised (and not too happy – but a good sport). We never did it again but we never forgot the experience!
Another time – just as the pitch was given, a truck went by outside the church we were in. The truck was winding up in gear and the choir took the pitch of the truck!
How to Join Choir (and What to Wear)
Ellie Amico, 1969
I became a choir "groupie" because I was dating a member, Joe Amico. But I thought I couldn't sing. Junior year Pat McGuigan volunteered to give me voice lessons, and by senior year I had graduated to voice lessons with Mr. McIver, and somehow squeaked into the tour choir for that year. It remains one of the best memories of my life.
Another – that was the year we first moved from wearing robes for all performances to more secular attire. The men wore black pants and white turtlenecks, and the women wore white blouses and sewed long skirts in various pastels which Pam Kimmel dubbed "wonder-skirts"!
The Choir's "Chicken Men"
Ellie Amico, 1969, and John Carlson, 1971
Ellie: A memory, now foggy, so I can't remember any details except side-splitting laughter, was of the two men who each morning on the tour bus did a personalized rendition of the then-popular "Chicken Man" radio segments, involving (one detail I remember) the notorious "Dr. Beard!" (Mr. McIver, who had just grown one.) I hope someone from that year remembers more details!
John: In 1969 on tour, Ralph Zeigler and I would conduct a daily radio show on the bus microphone. It was based on the "Chicken Man" show that was popular on the radio then.
Songs and Food of the McIvers
Dorothy (McNelly) Ludwigsen, 1970
1. At choir camp, Mr. McIver taught us to sing "The Foggy, Foggy Dew" — I loved the song and have remembered and sung it ever since.
2. I believe it was on the day of the Homecoming Game — the McIvers put on a wonderful smorgasbord-style brunch at their home and invited us all over!
Thoughts on Choir
Chris Askin, 1971
The choir was the centerpoint of my life at Lycoming. And Walter McIver was a fantastic choral director and friend.
On the Spot
John Carlson, 1971
1. In 1970 we got stuck in a big snowy traffic jam on Cresson mountain. I had a drive the bus a few feet when the driver put on the chains.
2. Walter McIver used to pick the soloists in "Religion is a Fortune" right on the spot. Everyone had nightmares about it. One night he pointed at one kid and someone entirely different sang the line. We got a look from him on that one.
3. "L'il Liz." (Maybe not the right spelling.)
That Infamous Tractor Trailer
Raimon Cary, 1972
1969 – Tour Choir went on a short weekend jaunt to local Pennsylvania churches in spring. During the concert the windows of the church were opened becuase it was getting warm. We got our pitches from an alto and just as Mr. Walter McIver was to begin the next piece, a tractor trailer drove by. The choir then took that pitch and it was a disaster. Mr. McIver had to stop in mid-phrase and start all over.
The Strange Folks You Meet on Tour and other stories
Marrianne (Wadeck) Hoyt, 1972
Just remembering choir brings a smile and tears to me. It was a pleasure even though we worked hard and the bus rides were sometimes long!
One tour in particular—4 of us had a "marathon" pinochle game on the bus trip. If I remember correctly Diane and I were victorious!
It never ceased to amaze me how complete strangers willingly opened their doors to us—college kids!—and the witness they shared with us still speaks volumes today.
I remember a time in Mystic, CT when we had "some" time so most walked downtown. A group of us entered the bookstore and the owner began talking to me like we were best friends. I explained I was from PA, but he swore up and down I only lived a few miles away.
Then we toured south to Bill McIver land. We entered the church and a woman was there who could have been my mom's twin. Even the rest of the choir couldn't believe the sight. Most wondered what Mom was doing there.
In a New Jersey concert the choir was doing its Bach Chorale. The one portion was "so there is now . . . now . . ." etc. On the rests some poor person sneezed just enough to "help" punctuate the sentence. We had a difficult time singing Bach after that!
I'm not sure where we were but I was giving pitches for "Religion is a Fortune." It took 3 times to get even a semblance of a first chord – Finally, Mr. McIver went to the piano and told the audience we must be backsliding!
There are probably hundreds more – but for another day!
Was Jesus in the Choir?
Marianne (Wadeck) Hoyt, 1972
Steve Hulslander was a bass and stood in the middle of the back row. Steve had longer hair and included a beard and mustache. Behind the guys in this particular sanctuary was a picture of Christ—I believe praying in the garden. One little elderly lady in the audience pointed it out to her friends—they seemed to be confused and amazed and their heads bobbed back and forth for quite a while.
Those Crazy Choir Moments
Steve Hulslander, 1974
I remember before singing in a televised concert that we had a spaghetti dinner and the soprano who was to sing a solo indulged a bit too much and had to be replaced on the spot by Jane Spare (a certain nervous freshman!)
I remember "morning greeters" on our bus tours before the greetings got too friendly!
We stayed in Wales and performed a parody skit using the titles of our concert pieces, a truly hilarious moment! Agnus Dei and Pastor Bonus were both characters.
When we sang "Let Us Break Bread Together" at every meal on our concert tours it brought tears to my eyes.
"The Corn Field Talk"
Steve Hulslander, 1974, and Jeff Patton, 1976
Jeff: Puzzling: The talk Walter McIver gave in the middle of a cornfield. I'm sure it meant something, but now almost 30 years later, I still haven't a clue. The cornfield sure was pretty.
Steve: Many of us still remember the "corn field talk" but still don't know what it was about.
The Fun, the Best, the Sad
Jeff Patton, 1976
Fun: Niagara Falls — Walt got too close to the edge; Card games on the bus; England — Chris's guitar case rolling across, the streets in Paris, singing in the subways, getting lost in Germany
The Best: The terrific people in the choir
Sad: Hardly any sad times, except singing the Benediction as the bus was rolling into town at the end of each tour.
A Melange of Thankful Memories
Hank Knerr, 1977
Travelling 22 states and 7 countries—all for free. Being the first co-recipient with Dave Hoffman of the Walter McIver Award; working closely with Mrs. McIver and serving on the search committee that hired Fred Thayer; all the hundreds of great hosts, thousands of audience members, and dozens of fellow choir members, Cyrano and Roxanne, the great music, the tasteful and not so tasteful array of parties. The great reunions we've had, knowing Walter and Beulah McIver continues to be a shining spot in my life.
The Mysterious Moo
Nancy (Goetz) Jones, 1978
I believe it was 1976 during a regular rehearsal. I was always a 'good' girl, never caused any trouble. Someone handed me one of those cow cans that moo when you turn it over . . . I periodically made it moo during rehearsal. Dr. McIver kept pointing his finger at the usual pranksters in the choir, but he never suspected me.