LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — A free worship service led by the Lake Junaluska Singers and the Lake Junaluska Singers Alumni Association will take place on Saturday, July 7 at 10 a.m. in Memorial Chapel to honor the legacy of former Lake Junaluska Singers Director Glenn Draper. Draper is celebrating his 90th birthday this year.
Draper led the Lake Junaluska Singers, Lake Junaluska’s prestigious residential choir, from 1956 to 2009. During that time, he grew the chorus from a quartet to a 16-voice ensemble that toured extensively across the Southeast and beyond.
Over the years, the Lake Junaluska Singers have produced numerous recordings, as well as performing at the White House for presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.
“Glenn founded the Lake Junaluska Singers and that is a tremendous legacy that has been given to this place,” said Kathy Geyer McNeil, associate director of the Lake Junaluska Singers. “As long as the Singers continue, he will always be remembered as the person who provided beautiful music and inspiration for everyone who comes to the lake.”
Draper’s first visit to Lake Junaluska took place when the chorus he was directing at the time, the Keesler Male Chorus made up of airman stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, was invited to sing at the dedication of Memorial Chapel in the summer of 1954. Lake Junaluska invited the group back for the 1955 Independence Day Celebration, and after that performance Lake Junaluska’s then-superintendent extended a job offer for music director to Draper. He accepted and began what would become a 53-year long career leading the Lake Junaluska Singers.
Music remains an important ministry to Lake Junaluska, with the Lake Junaluska Singers performing several concerts, hymn sings and worship services throughout the summer.
“Music and Lake Junaluska are almost synonymous during the summer,” said McNeil. “So many people come here just for the music. It’s why my family continued to come back to the lake after our first visit, and it has a tremendous effect on everyone who experiences it.”
The worship service to celebrate Draper on July 7 is entitled “When in our Music God is Glorified,” and attendees can expect a celebration of song.
A reception and birthday party for Draper will take place directly after the service at 11 a.m. in the Harrell Center Auditorium.
Both the worship service and the birthday party are free to attend and all are invited.
In lieu of birthday gifts, Draper asks that attendees consider giving to the Glenn Draper Endowment, which directly benefits the Lake Junaluska Singers and ensures the continuation of this music ministry at Lake Junaluska. You can visit www.lakejunaluska.com/support to give or bring gifts on the day of the event.
“He started this whole thing all those years ago and we wouldn’t be here without him,” said current Lake Junaluska Singer Emily Arbour. “It’s amazing what he’s created. We’re excited to show our gratitude.”
To learn more about upcoming Lake Junaluska Singers events, including the worship service and birthday party, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/singers.
Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.