Collaboration leads to a new musical piece
By Casey Spencer ’05
ith 36 years of service touching the lives of more than
students, Dr. Fred Thayer, professor of music and
director of choirs at the College, has shaped roughly a third-cen-
tury of Lycoming’s 200-year history. Since joining the faculty in
he’s kept a full itinerary of teaching and conducting, led
spring break tours and nine overseas trips, and maintained an
active schedule of composing, which has received him numerous
ASCAP Standard Panel Awards and Meet the Composer Grants.
It is fitting then, that in commemoration of the College’s bicen-
tennial, he should be commissioned to compose a new piece, “A
Prayer for Lycoming.”
The concept was President [James] Douthat’s,” said Thayer.
He had realized that other institutions had a prayer that was sort
of a universal language, which could be used at convocations,
baccalaureates and commencements. And, he thought the bicen-
tennial year would be a good time to start the idea.”
The project began last May, following graduation, and the
piece was completed later in the summer. Alumnus Bryan Part-
ner ’09 was asked to craft the text. Partner, a master’s student at
Miami University in Ohio, had previously been involved in writ-
ing two texts for the choir and was a natural choice for the project.
The idea was to incorporate, in as concise an
idea as possible, a blessing on all those involved
with Lycoming College, past, present and
future,” said Partner. “The original draft was
about 125 words, and it was whittled down to
the current 50-word product without losing
any of the meaning or intent, which I was very
I look at what I did with ‘A Prayer for Ly-
coming’ as an opportunity to contribute something
to the school that gave me so much. In
some small way, I feel like I am still
a part of the campus. One day,
maybe at homecoming, maybe
on a random Thursday,
maybe when my own child
graduates from the institu-
tion, perhaps the prayer will
be sung. No matter where I
am in life at that moment,
I’ll remember how I was a
part of something bigger,
something lasting—part of
an institution that blesses
patience, insight, strength
and truth to those who share
in Lycoming’s heritage.”
Upon its August return
to campus, the choir began
learning the prayer,
during Family Weekend. The piece was added to the Tour Choir
repertoire, aptly themed “200 Years of Music,” and was per-
formed during the ensemble’s two weekend tours and 10-day
spring break tour of California in March.
The next public performance of the piece will be during the
baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday, May 5, and, thanks to more
alumni support, it will be accompanied by the Lycoming College
I thought that since the first real ‘public’ usage of it will be
at graduation, it would be great to have it orchestrated so we
could perform it with the band,” said Thayer. That effort came
from recent graduate Linnea Morris ’11. “She really did some
great orchestration as a student, and has done a wonderful job
with this piece.”
Not looking to replace traditions such as the alma mater or
the choral benediction, it is hoped that the piece will be a new
and welcome addition for years to come. “Hopefully, people will
get to know it,” commented Thayer, “the more the better.”
A Prayer for Lycoming
Creator and Preserver of all things,
guide us by your grace this day:
Show truth to those who teach.
Bless insight to those who question.
Lend strength to those who lead.
Grant patience to those who follow.
Embrace all who share Lycoming’s heritage
now and forever more.
Clarke Chapel carillon rings daily
In observance of Lycoming’s bicentennial
celebration, a recording of the alma mater
is played on the 25-bell carillon in Clarke
Chapel each day at 12:39 p.m. The
specific time symbolizes the College’s
founding in 1812 and the chapel’s
dedication in 1939. The melody was
first played Aug. 26 during the New
Student Convocation to help kickoff
the 2011-12 academic year.
Dr. Gary Boerckel, professor and
chair of the College’s Department
of Music, recorded the melody in
July 2011. The words of the alma
mater were written by former
professor Helen B. Weidman
and the music is from J.
Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.
The carillon is a gift of the
Class of 1966.
Dr. Fred Thayer,
professor of music and
director of choirs
LYCOMING COLLEGE 2012 SPRING MAGAZINE