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Lafayette alumni, spouses and friends, representing classes from 1937 to 1990, gathered in Las Cruces, New Mexico for four days in February (2003) to participate in a choral assembly at New Mexico State University with the Voz Vaqueros, a men’s choral group founded and directed by George Jarden, MD ’58.

Nineteen members of The Graduates Alumni Chorus traveled from 13 states to participate. Most of The Graduates attended Lafayette when it was a small, male, liberal arts and engineering school. The college music director from 1946 to 1976 was Dr. John Raymond who, in addition to setting the highest choral standards, related to his singers so dynamically and charismatically that hundreds of them became life-long friends and disciples of his choral teachings.

Voz Vaqueros founder and conductor George Jarden ’58 sang under Raymond and went on to form men’s choruses in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Marine Corps while serving as a Navy physician. He formed Voz Vaqueros in 1971.

Alumni eager to continue singing under their beloved mentor and to experience renewal of the Lafayette camaraderie formed The Graduates in 1980, opening it to anyone who could sing in the tenor or bass ranges. There are several women members. The group returns to campus each year for concerts at Christmas and spring. This is the fifth exchange program conducted by the two choral groups since 1990. Three concerts have taken place in Las Cruces, N.M. and two in Easton.

Dr. Raymond died in 2002 and various members have undertaken directing and governing the group. Joe Nyce ’61 is the current president and Phil Gehman ‘56 is director.

Alumni who made the trip to perform include Ed Alkire ’58, Emmaus, Pa.; Walter Ball ’57, St. Simons Island, Ga.; Alan Black ’60, Kent, Wash.; John Cornish ’51, Bethlehem, Pa.; Robert Goulstone ’62, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jake Hannemann ’56, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Richard Harding ’59, Greensboro, N.C.; Jim Holcombe ’37, Mountainside, N.J.; Bill Kirby ’59, Oakton, Va.; Karl Kostenbader ’51 Olmsted Falls, Ohio; Konrad Kundig ’60, Randolph, N.J.; Charles Kurowsky ’75, Avenel, N.J.; Lou Lyons ’58, Grants Pass, Ore.; Joe Nyce ’61, Hopewell, N.J.; Lew Powell ’60, South Bend, Ind.;Cindy Rhodes ’90, Califon, N.J.; Harolld Stahle ’51, Camp Hill, Pa.; Paul Steckel ’75, Slatington, Pa.; and Curt Sterner ’60, Bryan, Texas.

Motivated by the joint concert in New Mexico, Alan Black ’60 composed the words and music to a new, retrospective college song, “Way Up on College Hill.”

Photo caption:
Members of The Graduates and their spouses and friends gather on stage at New Mexico State University Concert Recital Hall following their combined concert with Voz Vaqueros February 22, 2003.

Front row (left to right) Lou ’58 and Bev Lyons, Walter ’57 and Judy Ball, Nancy and Lew Powell ’60, George Jarden ’58, Konrad ’60 and Rosalie Kundig, Charlie ’75 and Stephanie Kurowski, Doris St. Jacques, Harolld Stahle ’51 (seated).

Middle row from left: Cindy Rhodes ’90, Curt Sterner ’60, Lois and Karl Kostenbader ’51, Dick Harding ’59, Priscilla and Bill Kirby ’59, Jake ’56 and Judy Hannemann, John Cornish ’51, Barbara Blackstone, Evelyne and Jim Holcombe ’37.

Back row, from left: Bob ’62 and Petey Goulstone, Shari, Kathie and Joe Nyce ’61 with granddaughter, Alan Black ’60, Ed Alkire ’58, Bob Pulcipher ’58, and Paul Steckle ’75.

Categorized in: Alumni