You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Choir reunion draws hundreds

“They just want to come back and sing with Mr. Sipe and he wants to sing with them.”

That’s the way organizing committee member Jane Stamper describes the event that will take place Saturday evening at Tecumseh High School.

All the Tecumseh Choir members who were students of John Sipe during his career at the school from 1956 to 1982 have been invited to participate. At least 314 have registered, with people coming from around the United States, plus Norway, Spain, Germany and Japan.

It all started when some of the people from the classes of 1971-72 and 1981-82 got together to see the presentation of the musical “The Boyfriend” at the school last year. Mr. and Mrs. Sipe went with them and talk about a reunion of choir members led to planning for the event over the past 14 months.

The event has grown so large, it has been moved from the high school’s auditorium to the gymnasium.

Sipe says he’s not aware of a previous reunion like this.

“I’m looking forward to renewing past relationships and making good music,” he said.

He modestly stresses he wants the event to be primarily about the choir members.

But Greg Cable, who has been chairing the committee organizing the reunion, said he told Sipe, “it’s also going to be about you.”

Cable called Sipe an exceptional teacher with high standards.

Stamper, who went on to become a music teacher as well, echoed those sentiments, recalling how the choir always performed significant material.

“Choir was always special to all of us,” Stamper said. “We knew we were doing quality literature.”

Both also mentioned the impact Sipe had on them and on many other students.

“He created the environment,” Stamper said. “Music enriched our lives and stayed with us no matter what direction we chose in life.

We are coming together this weekend to sing together and celebrate the joy of … music which we discovered many years ago at Tecumseh High School,” Stamper said. “It is a testament to the power of arts in education.”

Cable said Sipe’s influence touched many people and helped them go on to greater things and success.

Both Stamper and Cable told the story of a student with behavioral and even legal troubles who auditioned and joined the choir, but then quit. They related how Sipe encouraged him to return and stick with it.

That young man later earned a graduate degree and became a music teacher. He was one of the first to sign up to come to the reunion, but may not be able to due a medical condition.

Looking back on his long tenure, Sipe says he was very fortunate. “Teaching music, you have everything going for you. The students come to you because they want to be there.”

Stamper believes Sipe’s students were also very fortunate.

“He was very talented and was interested and cared about each of his students,” Stamper said.

The weekend will include rehearsals Friday evening, Saturday morning and afternoon, leading up to the 7 p.m. concert.

It’s free and everyone is invited to attend. Sipe will direct the choir, and will also serve as master of ceremonies, sharing stories about his former students and his career.

He pointed out the event has received “marvelous financial support that has been amazing to me.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Highs in the mid-80s today, storms tomorrow

Quiet and cool morning on Wednesday. Sunshine returns through the day.  Wednesday will likely be the warmest day of the year so far  Showers and storms early Thursday  More storms through weekend TODAY: Highs will soar into the middle 80s which is more than 15 degrees above normal. The warmest we have been this year was 82 degrees...
Swarms of cicadas expected soon in Southeast
Swarms of cicadas expected soon in Southeast

Southerners with a keen sense of sound and a watchful eye for insects are in for a surprise as swarms of cicadas and their overpowering hums make their way to the Southeast any day now. These insects, also called “17-year locusts,” are notorious for disappearing for several years (in this case, 17) and reappearing “at force&rdquo...
Firefighters teach honest 5-year-old an important lesson in good karma
Firefighters teach honest 5-year-old an important lesson in good karma

A fire department is teaching a 5-year-old boy that good things happen to people who do the right thing. Earlier this year, Dave Starzec lost his wallet. He was finishing a trip to a Lowe's hardware store in Greer, S.C., when he set his alligator-skin wallet down on the bumper of his car. Inside the wallet was $2,000. “I was carrying my...
Teacher allegedly had sex with 4 students, including 2 at same time
Teacher allegedly had sex with 4 students, including 2 at same time

A Texas educator is unlikely to see a classroom any time soon after she reportedly admitted to having sex with four students. According to KTRE, Heather Lee Robertson, 38, was arrested Saturday and charged with four counts of “improper relationship between educator and student.” An affidavit shows that the investigation began on April...
FaceApp transforms selfies via neural network
FaceApp transforms selfies via neural network

For better or for worse, a lot of us have gotten used to selfie face filters in apps such as Snapchat and Facebook Messenger that can add silly extremes to our photos and videos, such as sticking a unicorn horn on our head or turning us into superheroes. But FaceApp, an increasingly popular app that debuted in February for iOS and Android, is...
More Stories