Collage & Alumni Concert Reflection

Kathryn Coffey

This weekend, Millikin’s School of Music was hopping. On Friday at Kirkland Fine Arts Center (KFAC), students, alum, faculty, and parents flocked to see the annual Collage concert. Saturday afternoon at Central Christian Church, the University and Alumni Choirs gave a heartwarming homecoming concert. 

For years, I’ve attended both concerts to see my friends perform their best. But this year, something felt different.   

I’m at a weird place in my life right now. I’m a senior at Millikin graduating next semester. As such, I want to make my minutes here count. Part of that includes attending as many concerts as I can.

Friday night, I came fresh off of Colleigate’s second performance of the year at the Fall Concertino at Central Christian. I just couldn’t wait to see my musical friends in action. 

That evening didn’t disappoint. The Wind Ensemble kicked off the night with “Intrada 1631,” waking the world up with a primal thumping and ringing roar. The Percussion Ensemble rocked the house, especially during “Rebounds for Bongos & Basketballs” (who knew basketballs can be so musical?!). OneVoice and the University Choir were killing it, as per usual, giving us a glimpse of what they were up to. And who could forget the Jazz I Ensemble closing off the night with a bang?  

The Collage concert, as always, was a blast. For a few of the musical groups, it’s just a preview of what they’ll be doing as the year moves forward. Seeing these musical acts made me forget how unpredictable the future can get. It’s a special concert that has me forgetting about the semi-bleak future ahead of me.  

I didn’t feel the bittersweet bile until the homecoming concert.

Going to the homecoming concert, I always play a fun “Where’s Waldo”-type game: “Find Your Graduated Friends.” A few members of the alumni concert are only a few years older than me, and some of them have already found jobs. That alone gives me a little cause for alarm, like I need to have a plan for when I graduate.

As the concert started, the UNUM Vocal Company blew everyone away with their electrifying, harmonic sound. 

Perhaps I could start something like that, only instead of a Chicago Chamber Choir, it would be a writing club. Composed of Millikin alum, we would come together to make something wonderful, or so I would like to believe.      

When the Alumni choir sang “The Road Home,” that’s when it hit me. To anyone, this song could mean two things: a sojourner who longs to come home to Jesus, or someone who wandered the earth and longs for home. I felt they were singing about me, in a sense that I’m going to be that sojourner who wandered for ages and is now longing for home.

While it was nice to see my University Choir friends, especially Jordan Comish, Chole Hayes, and Nikki Sawilchik, among others, cracking everyone up with the “Säkkijärven Polkka,” there was this voice reminding me things aren’t always going to come up roses. It’s the same voice I keep in the back of my head, so I don’t have to think about it too much.

As bittersweet as leaving Millikin will be, I realize this weekend brought me a bit of a perspective on things.    

With both concerts, there’s this sense of how I see the future as a senior. On the one hand, a bunch of exciting things are ahead, and I have every reason to be excited. On the other, it’s going to be different from the way it was for the past four years. I’ll be meeting new people, starting my career, and all that other stuff adults do, and I’ll never get a chance to experience Millikin the same way I have before.  

I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I’m not sure what type of job I’ll have. But, somewhere, sometime, someday, I wouldn’t mind listening in while journeying toward the horizon. My ear would be searching for a heavenly sound, one that gently whispers, calling me home. When that day comes, I’m hopeful to follow it.