Gus Marjenhoff CELEBRATES his 50th year in the St. Michael’s Choir! Please join us Easter morning to glorify God and to honor Gus Marhenhoff with selections from Handel’s Messiah with the St. Michael’s Choir and orchestra. This presentation will begin 30 minutes
before each service. It has been an honor and a privilege to know this wonderful gentlemen. We love you Gus!
~ Jeannie Martin and the
St. Michael’s Choir
I began singing at home after supper with my sister Emee playing piano, sometimes with the latest sheet music from Seigling’s Music House.
One day a friend of my mother’s Mrs. Gwynette called and said the Rev. William Lumpkin was organizing a boy’s choir at The Church of the Holy Communion and I was invited to join. We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays, played basketball in the churchyard or baseball on Porter’s field (now MUSC), practiced music, then sat at a long table with Mr. Lumpkin at the head. Mrs. Wilkinson served us salmon and hominy, and Mr. Lumpkin insisted we have good table manners. At times, Mr. Lumpkin read to us or told us stories with photographs of his boyhood at his father’s church in Alaska. During Easter vacations, we sang concerts of sacred music at churches throughout the diocese. President of The Citadel General Summerall attended the church, and in 1940 Mr. Lumpkin established cadet parish St. Albans at The Citadel.
I joined the Navy in March 1944 and was assigned to classes at Burdett Business College in Boston. Quartered just around the corner from Copley Square, on Sunday I attended Trinity Church where Mr. Lumpkin had served as assistant rector. The boys choir looked very much like ours in Charleston. On leaving, I met Mrs. Russell Codman whose father was in the group that established MIT. A son Gen. Charlie Codman fought with Gen Patton in Europe.
In the South Pacific theater, I served aboard USS CHAFFEE DE-230, built in the Charleston Naval Shipyard. At the same time, Captain Lumpkin served as a Navy chaplain in the South Pacific.
After the war, in my senior year, I served as treasurer and sang occasionally in the Duke chapel choir. After graduation, while an auditor with Price Waterhouse & Co. I traveled too often to join a choir, but I learned more about the organ. On the audit of Link Aviation in Binghamton, New York, I verified existence of the original Link trainer that Ed Link developed from parts at his father’s parlor organ factory. Ed showed me a photo of his first graduating class at the airport. There soon followed a contract for Link trainers for pilot training from the U. S. Army Air Corps.
In 1962, on my return to The Citadel faculty from graduate study at UNC, Chapel Hill, Mrs. Susanne Wall, wife of a colleague and member of St. Michael’s Church choir, suggested I join. Mrs. Eulalie Davis, a friend of my cousin Elizabeth, was organist and choir director. Misses Margaret and Libby Williams were among choir members then. Eulalie’s recipe for apple cake served between Easter services is in the St. Michael’s cook book.
Organist and choir director Lee Kohlenberg had been at St. James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago. In the course of his 17 ½ years at St. Michael’s, Lee added much to the choir’s music library, published a book of spiritual songs, and conducted the choir with orchestra in concerts of many of the great sacred oratorios, especially, Handel’s Messiah. The tradition of standing at the Hallelujah Chorus comes from the belief that during the London premiere on 23 March 1743, King George II, in whose reign St. Michael’s Church was built, stood at the Hallelujah Chorus realizing he was reigning under the King of Heaven.
Organist and choir director Edward Norman came to St. Michael’s from St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In the course of his two years at St. Michael’s, he introduced us to the music of his contemporary John Rutter which we enjoy singing. Edward and his wife Susan returned to Canada, to Vancouver.
Presently, the very talented Jeannie Martin choir director and Jo Vroon organist have continued the rich sacred music tradition at St. Michael’s. Also, in the Christmas season, the choir sang lessons and carols at colonial St. Thomas and St. Denis Church in the forest. And, at St. Michael’s Church during the 2012 Spoleto Festival, the choir is scheduled to present John Rutter’s Requiem.
With thanksgiving for the privilege of singing in St. Michael’s Church choir for many years,
~ Gus Marjenhoff