Then: In choosing a thesis for her master's degree in arts and teaching at Hastings College, Linda Johnson wanted a topic that would combine education and music.
She decided to research children's choirs. She talked to teachers about what worked and what didn't work when teaching grade school students. As part of her thesis presentation, she taught a small group of children songs to perform for the review board.
College officials were so impressed by the group that they made it a program in residence at Hastings College. Johnson worked with music department chairman Robin Koozer and elementary music teacher Julie Soderquist to found the South Central Nebraska Children's Chorale in 1994.
Now: Johnson continues to be director of the program with help from assistant director Tom Michalek.
On Saturday, the South Central Nebraska Children's Chorale will celebrate 20 years with a reunion concert at 7:30 p.m. in the French Memorial Chapel on the Hastings College campus.
Lisa Carson, president of the board of directors, said they wanted to make the 20th anniversary of the group special. They pulled songs from the past and invited alumni to return to perform at the concert.
In addition to the normal group of children from grades 4-8, Saturday's performance will include alumni performances accompanied by Mary Plock, who served as accompanist for the chorale during the first 10 years. Mindee Rowan has been the accompanist since that time. There also will be a song performed by the chorale and alumni together.