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Campus choir marks 40 years of making ‘joyful noise’

Illinois State offers a multitude of Registered Student Organizations. One option for those seeking a religious outlet is the Interdenominational Youth Choir (IYC), which celebrates anthems, spirituals, contemporary, and gospel music every week during rehearsals and performances.

Founded in 1970, the IYC grew from a weekly Sunday morning spiritual gathering of Illinois State students to become an organization centered on fellowship and music. Since then the choir has evolved to include between 50 and 100 members annually. Students from many different denominations and religious affiliations participate, as IYC accepts members regardless of race, color, or religion.

Auditions are open to all Illinois State students the first two weeks of each semester. The choir stays busy with weekly practices and performances at campus events, local churches, and other universities across the state. In addition the choir holds two large, yearly events of their own.

The IYC hosts a large music workshop each October. University choirs from across the state are invited to Normal to learn new techniques at this all-day event. Several gospel legends have come to this workshop as guest clinicians. Following a day of rehearsal, the 300- to 350-member mass choir gives a performance for the public.

Each April the IYC celebrates its founding. This year’s 40th anniversary marked a milestone for the choir and was celebrated as such. The two-day event held in the spring culminated in a concert at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Bloomington—a church that was instrumental in IYC’s founding. Not only did the current choir members perform, but approximately 150 IYC alumni returned to add their voices to the joyous occasion.

The executive board of the IYC is always working to build on the choir’s connections and relationships with Illinois State and the local community in hopes of spreading the word about the group. Anniversary celebrations are especially significant, as they provide current choir members the opportunity to learn from IYC alumni. Performances and interaction with the alumni and the community allow the choir to grow musically and in membership.

“The choir’s powerful impact has remained over the years,” Assistant Director for Campus and Community Relations Donald Reed said. “IYC is love. For its members, it offers fellowship and a religious outlet. Whenever and wherever the choir sings, it lives up to its theme, which is ‘Make a Joyful Noise.’”

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