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Annual Report 2016_web

Gerald CHAFIN Associate

Gerald CHAFIN Associate Professor of Music “ When you combine our travel with the fact that we are doing choral ensemble like no one else – then choral students get an experience here they can’t get anywhere else.” 6

For two decades, Gerald Chafin has brought a world of unique experiences to the LWC Singers. Because of Chafin’s leadership and imagination, the Lindsey Wilson Singers are one of the more popular affinity groups on campus. “Music is emotion,” said Chafin, who is an associate professor of music and director of choral programs. “Students remember material in a certain way because it’s implanted artistically in their minds. So when you tie emotion together with the experiences and travel, it makes sense – there’s a fondness for their time here. You don’t forget the freezing cold at Fort McHenry or the spectacular views on the top of Pike’s Peak. It’s impossible for our students to not remember the incredibleness of it all.” Since the late-1990s, Chafin and the Lindsey Wilson Singers have given more than 500 public performances in 33 states and seven countries. Performances abroad include Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Chafin uses several mottos and sayings to motivate the Singers. “One that I like to use quite frequently is, ‘Don’t practice it until you get it right, practice it until you can’t get it wrong,’” he said. “We believe that if you work hard, practice and be confident, great things will come from that.” Chafin is known for dropping a pun or turning a phrase during a rehearsal or public performance. A new word developed a few years ago among the Lindsey Wilson College community to describe his unique expressions – “#Chafinism.” “People talk about the word ‘Chafinism’ a lot, and it is true that I love words and especially puns,” he said. “But what’s funny about them is that I never plan for them; it has to be in the moment. They just come up.” The Lindsey Wilson Singers have also benefited from a rich partnership with Commonwealth Musicians, a group of professional musicians in Kentucky. Chafin said that the Singers’ collaboration with Commonwealth Musicians provides students a unique experience. “Many of the people in Commonwealth Musicians are also members of the Louisville Orchestra,” Chafin said. “When we started performing with those folks, that was huge. Our students are excited to rub shoulders with the best of the best. And they learn so much from these guys. Every time we work with them it makes our performances grander. I can remember when they accompanied us during President Luckey’s inauguration. It was a really big deal for us.” And Chafin says when you add up all of these experiences, A Stellar Crew: Chafin pictured with the members of the 2016 Lindsey Wilson Singers. students get a music education that is unique to LWC. “I don’t know if anyone else does what we do here. When you combine our travel with the fact that we are doing choral ensemble like no one else – then choral students get an experience here they can’t get anywhere else,” he said. Chafin said his most memorable experience at LWC was when the Singers performed the national anthem at a Sept. 18, 2001, game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. It was Major League Baseball’s first post-9/11 game. “Baseball was shut down after 9/11,” he said. “The country was in unrest and it was a time of great uncertainty. We were able to be the group that sang the anthem at the first Major League Baseball game played after 9/11. I have to say, it was electric. Everyone was chanting “USA, USA!” It was pretty amazing.” Chafin said he feels blessed to have enjoyed such memorable experiences with his students, and he also loves seeing the successful professionals that they have become. Chafin attributes a lot of that success to his program’s emphasis on creativity. “I think my favorite thing about Lindsey Wilson College is the fact that we are given the opportunity to be creative,” he said. “We create unique programs and experiences for students because it’s encouraged here. I’m just so glad to be a part of it.” 7

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