For the past 55 years, Dr. Glenn Draper has faithfully served as the Director of Music and the Junaluska Singers at Lake Junaluska. His direction and influence on music at Lake Junaluska over the years has enriched the lives of many. Dr. Draper will retire following the Saturday, December 12th, performance.
1. After 55 years of being the Director of Music at Lake Junaluska and of the Junaluska Singers, how do you feel knowing your last concerts are approaching? I feel great joy, satisfaction, and appreciation that God has led us through all these years at Lake Junaluska. I expect to come back at some points and direct select performances since I will be receiving the title of Director Emeritus of Music.
2. What about Lake Junaluska will you miss the most? I am indebted to Lake Junaluska for hiring me. I’m most appreciative of the many friends Lounelle, my wife, and I have made these years. I have great feelings of satisfaction and we’ll certainly miss the people at Lake Junaluska and the Singers. We plan to come back and visit, and I hope to guest conduct different performances through the years. It’s a tremendous honor to have so many former Junaluska Singers coming back to sing in these final performances. One young lady, Katya Tsvetkova, a former singer, is flying from Moscow, Russia, to sing with us!
3. What are some of your most memorable moments at Lake Junaluska leading the Junaluska Singers? Just of a few memorable moments include the time Vice President Richard Nixon visited Lake Junaluska - he said that the Junaluska Singers was one of the finest choirs he’d ever heard. Working with Billy Graham during his visits to Lake Junaluska was an honor. Billy told me that if anything happened to Cliff Barros, the Music Director of the Billy Graham Crusades, he’d want me to direct! I’ve also had the privilege to take the Junaluska Singers on so many tours. I especially remember singing at the World Methodist Conference in Rio De Janeiro. We’ve traveled to many other places, like Denver, Colorado, and I’ll never forget filming five television specials with the Junaluska Singers that were broadcast throughout the United States.
4. You’ve impacted the lives of thousands of people during your ministry at Lake Junaluska, including hundreds of Junaluska Singers. Who has impacted you most in your career? I would say Billy Graham would be hard to beat. There have been so many people who have influenced my life through the years – including the Junaluska Singers themselves with their God-given talents, like Dr. Kim Cargile, who’s played for us on and off for 20 years, Marty Hamby, and Dusty Turner, another Junaluska Singer accompanist.
5. Do you have plans after you retire as the Director of the Junaluska Singers? I sure do – Next Monday, December 14, I will continue directing and traveling with the Glenn Draper Singers who come from across the country. We will meet in Chattanooga, TN, and we’ll perform at different church venues between North Carolina, Virginia, and New York until December 22. The last performances on the Glenn Draper Singers’ tour will take place in the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC, and Gastonia, NC. Over the next few years, I also plan to take the Glenn Draper Singers to Ireland, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and England. I’ve been on over 55 overseas tours with my different choruses and made a lot of connections, so I feel the Glenn Draper Singers will continue to tour in the United States and overseas. I also plan to continue to help the music programs and Junaluska Singers as Director Emeritus of Music at Lake Junaluska. I am deeply appreciative to the people at Lake Junaluska for organizing and continuing the Junaluska Singers.