JACKSON, Tenn. – May 14, 2003 – Members of the Union family and area residents gathered May 13 at Jackson’s First Baptist Church for “From Death to Life,” a presentation of the Union University Choral Union and Orchestra.
Conducted by Richard Joiner, chair of the Department of Music, and accompanied on organ by Ron Boud, professor of music, the 30 member orchestra and 55 voice choir performed the requiems of Gabriel Fauré and John Rutter. Soloists for the concert were Joshua Hussung, Lauren Ormsby, Jeremy Warner, Stephanie Sandage and Stephanie Wisdom.
Hal Poe, Charles Colson professor of faith and culture, presented “Death: The Great Enemy,” a perspective on the requiem mass between the compositions. While death comes to some individuals slowly and to others suddenly, “when it comes, they cannot escape,” Poe said. Considered the end of all work and movement, for the ancient Hebrews “death was regarded as a prison,” he said.
Even during the Old Testament period, however, the end of death was prophesied. Because those prophesies were fulfilled by Christ, as recorded in the New Testament, God’s followers are no longer subject to the power of death, Poe said. Rather than a prison, it became “a joyous state of relaxation, for death had been defeated by Christ.”
The event was sponsored in part by a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Robert Burton. Dr. Burton retired in 1990 as chairman of the conducting department of the Southwestern Theological Seminary and later served at Union as visiting professor of music. Union president David S. Dockery dedicated the performance to the Burtons and to the victims of the tornado which struck Madison County May 5.