Madrigalians Reunion: Kinard College Choir to perform in St. John’s on June 19 – Salisbury Post
By Susan Shinn Turner
St. John’s Lutheran Church
SALISBURY — Karl Kinard collects a vinyl album of highlights from the Madrigalians’ 1972 European tour. He’s in a melancholy state of mind.
“It was a long time ago, but they still want to have a reunion,” he says.
In 1968 Kinard was hired by Dr. AGD Wiles, the president of Newberry College, to conduct a choir at Sunday morning services at Wiles Chapel. At the time, Newberry was a “suitcase college” – most students went away on weekends.
At any one time, there were 14 to 16 voices in the choir, and they called themselves the Madrigalians. Mary Martha Avedisian Reed served as accompanist. They embarked on a six-week goodwill tour of Europe in 1972, when there were things like West Germany and East Germany. They sang “behind the iron curtain”.
Now, the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church will be able to hear Madrigalians as part of the group’s 50th reunion celebration on June 19 during the 11 a.m. worship service.
In 1972, the group toured all over Europe: the American Cathedral in Paris, as well as sites such as Amsterdam, Austria, Holland and Belgium, as well as both sides of Germany.
Kinard calls the group’s four days in East Germany “very scary”.
“They couldn’t go anywhere unescorted,” says his wife, Rosemary. “We told them, ‘Don’t leave the hotel alone.'”
It was during the Cold War and East Germany was a communist country. The Cold War ended in 1991.
A meeting of Madrigalians has been in the works for some time.
“Six members of the group came here about five years ago and visited us, took us out to eat and went to church with us,” says Rosemary Kinard. “We were planning to have a meeting and then Covid hit.”
Last year she had a bad fall – the day she retired as associate parish musician, no less. After that, the band decided to come to Salisbury, which is fortuitous given that 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of this European tour.
Three of the original band members have died. The Kinards estimate he will lead about 25 singers. Kinard asked his wife – an accomplished musician in her own right – to join the band in song. He chose pieces from their tour, which will be incorporated into worship.
— “Jesu, the Joy of Man’s Desire”, Bach
— “Grant peace and mercy” by Mendelssohn
— A motet by Hugo Distler based on the hymn Lobe Den Herren (“Praise be to the Lord the Almighty”)
— The Blessing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by Grant Evans
The band will rehearse on Saturday, June 18 and enjoy a meal together in the pit at Trinity Oaks.
From Newberry, Karl came to St. John’s, where he served as Director of Music from 1973 to 1997. He is now Director of Music Emeritus and Deacon.
“When Karl was involved in music ministry and education, he was a tremendous force in leading and bringing groups together successfully,” says Deacon Rob Durocher, St. John’s Minister of Music and Arts. “He influenced many people throughout his career as a musician. He stays in touch with his musicians, and this is an example – 50 years later Madrigalians are delighted to come together and sing for others under his able guidance.
Kinard admits he can’t wait to see the singers.
“I’m curious what they’ll look like,” says Kinard, 86, as they’ll all be in their early 70s.
Susan Shinn Turner is a writer for St. John’s Lutheran Church.