Soldier's Chorus Reunion
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- On 7 June 2013, a four-year-old dream was realized when 28 alumni of the Soldier’s Chorus traveled from four countries and reunited in Patrick Henry Village to sing together once again in a “Farewell Heidelberg” performance, as the closing of the base coincided with the 50th anniversary of the original Soldier’s Chorus. Earlier in the day the alumni visited the unit’s new facilities on Sembach Kaserne where they saw a performance from the current members of the Soldier’s Chorus. CPT Bryan Ralls, officer in charge, and COL Robert Larsen, brigade commander for NATO (formerly CPT Larsen, officer in charge of the Soldier’s Chorus), shared some of their experiences with the chorus. At the end of the visit the current and former members, with representatives from all five decades, sang together in a grand finale.
The brainchild of Major General William A. Harris, former commander of the 7th Army Support Command, the original chorus began in 1963 and was known as the 7Th Army Support Command Soldier’s Chorus. It later became the 7th Army Soldier’s Chorus and ultimately the USAREUR Soldier’s Chorus. Originally made up of 50 men, the chorus welcomed the first females in 1976 – two of which were able to attend the reunion – and shared stories of how they bought material and sewed their own dresses for their performances. Also in attendance was the original officer in charge, 2LT (later CPT) Dave Klick, who served as one of the main coordinators for the reunion events. The alumni chorus was conducted by CPT John Casey, who was the second conductor of the chorus from 1966-1967. One of the former members had this to say about the farewell performance: “Just before we performed our show at PHV, the DJ at the Village Pavilion played the song, Sentimental Journey. It was a song we sang in our Big Band Package I, in the early 90’s. That is what this reunion and final performance, as well as the Farewell to Heidelberg, meant to us. It was truly a Sentimental Journey.”
A picture of the original Soldier's Chorus from 1963.