WHEN RIDER HIGH SCHOOL OPENED IN 1961 DONALD COWAN WAS THERE TO ORGANIZE AND LEAD ITS FIRST CHOIR.
HE WAS STILL THERE THREE DECADES LATER....AND NOW, 17 YEARS AFTER HE RETIRED, HE IS STILL LEADING FORMER STUDENTS IN REHEARSALS.
AND WHETHER IN THE NEW CHOIR OR NOT, ALL HIS THOUSANDS OF FORMER STUDENTS ARE SINGING HIS PRAISE..... AND THAT'S WHY DONALD COWAN IS THIS MONTH'S SPIRIT OF TEXOMA AWARD WINNER.
THE VOICES OF MISTER COWAN'S A CAPELLA CHOIRS COULD BE HEARD FROM THE ALAMO IN SAN ANTONIO...TO THE NATION'S CAPITAL...EVEN HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD.
Taking them on tours to Europe. I've gone 11 times to Europe with kids, just seeing their faces when they see the Eifel Tower or something, it is just great.
AND ON THOSE TRIPS OVERSEAS THE VOICES FROM RIDER GRACED MANY CATHEDRALS UNDER COWAN'S DIRECTION...AND LEADING HIS KIDS IN SONG IS SOMETHING HE TRULY MISSED AFTER HIS RETIREMENT IN 1993.
I said you know what would be fun to get all these kids who I have had before together and get all these adult voices now. You know with all the real low basses and high sapranos and direct them in a concert and they just jumped on it.
MORE THAN 100 RIDER GRADUATES SHOWED UP AT THE FIRST REHEARSAL FOR THE DONALD B. COWAN LEGACY CHOIR.
We've got kids from 1961 to 93. I've got 65 year old kids. What year were you in 61, how old are you 65. Oh I must have started teaching when I was four.
I see their faces and they were just high school kids, but they look the same maybe some grey hair a few wrinkles you know, but they look the same. I can pick them right out.
HE CAN EVEN TELL YOU EXACTLY WHERE EACH SAT IN THE CHOIR.
AND IN JUST OVER A YEAR... THESE STUDENTS WILL JOIN VOICES AGAIN FOR A FULL-LENGTH A CAPPELLA CONCERT.
It's my last hooray I think. I don't know if I will be able to direct or get one together again.
JUST LIKE THEY DID ALL THOSE YEARS, MISTER COWAN'S KIDS WILL ONCE AGAIN BE SINGING BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR...SOMETHING THEY DID EACH AND EVERY FRIDAY IN CHOIR ALL THOSE YEARS.
THEY WILL ALSO SING THE RIDER ALMA MATER...A SONG MISTER COWAN WROTE.
It is going to be huge to sing Beautiful Savior with all those people. There will be a few tears, me included.
YEARS AGO THEY WERE RINGING OUT IN PLACES ALL OVER THE WORLD...SOON THOSE VOICES OF THE PAST WILL BE HEARD...THANKS TO THE EFFORTS OF MISTER COWAN.
SOMEONE WHO CELEBRATES THE SPIRIT OF TEXOMA THROUGH THE SPIRIT OF SONG.
THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR THE LEGACY CHOIR IS APPROACHING QUICKLY...IT IS MAY THIRD.
THE LEGACY CHOIR'S PERFORMANCE IS SET FOR JUNE 25-TH 2011.
FORMER RIDER CHOIR MEMBERS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD CAN JOIN THE REHEARSALS VIA THE INTERNET.
THE MONEY RAISED THROUGH THE CONCERT WILL BE DONATED TO ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AND HOSPICE OF WICHITA FALLS.
OWENS AND BRUMLEY FUNERAL HOMES CONGRATULATE MISTER COWAN.
AND IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO TRULY SHOWS THE SPIRIT OF TEXOMA PLEASE NOMINATE THEM NOW.