Celebrating JoAnn Wich

Over the last few weeks there have been two occasions to celebrate Hopkins' beloved JoAnn Wich, who is retiring as Choral Music Director this June.

Over the last few weeks there have been two occasions to celebrate our beloved JoAnn Wich, who is retiring as Choral Music Director this June.

First on Friday April 25, JoAnn directed a spectacular performance by the Hopkins Concert Choir in her final Spring Choral Concert in Battell Chapel. Alumni/ae joined the choir at times, and between songs JoAnn spoke extemporaneously from the heart as she always does, engendering a sense of family and home. In a surprise gesture of gratitude, the female singers formed a semi-circle around their beloved conductor and sang The Irish Blessing.

A week later, on Saturday, May 3, the Hopkins community celebrated JoAnn's thirty years as Director of Choral Music, as well as the beginning of an exciting new phase in her life, with southern food and drink and a screening of the Kentucky Derby in Heath Commons. Her longtime friend Sara Bloom spoke about JoAnn’s incredible trajectory as a musician and her decision to devote her extraordinary talents to teaching young people. Sara played a recording of JoAnn’s first solo concert as a young soprano over thirty years ago, and the audience wept and jumped to their feet in a standing ovation at the conclusion. JoAnn's sons Scott Wich '89 and Stefan Wich also shared memories of their mom, and how Hopkins became a permanent part of their family over the years.

Head of School Barbara Riley announced that over $200,000 in gifts have been made through the Annual Fund and to endowed funds in honor of JoAnn since the announcement of her retirement. These gifts have been made from current parents, parents of alumni/ae, and alumni/ae spanning from the 1980s to the class of 2013. Throughout JoAnn's Hopkins career, four endowed funds have been created in her honor, collectively totaling over $600,000.

When JoAnn took to the podium, she graciously thanked her friends, family and colleagues for joining her in celebration. She admitted she had been anxious about speaking in front of this crowd, but she came upon the words of Hans Sachs from the opera, Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg, and knew she had found the words to best represent how she felt: "Joy fills your cries; doubt fills my heart, if too much honor be my part. Were so much honor be my due, it's because I'm loved by you. A signal honor came my way, when I was named spokesman for this day. You'll find my speech, if you pay heed, is in itself an honored creed. If you have art so much at heart, then you should learn with pleasure that he who gives his life to art esteemed it past all treasure…"

During both events, we were reminded of the mantra JoAnn instills in every Hopkins singer: “The beauty of the sound comes from the generosity of the heart.”

Please see the attached photo galleries for many photos from both events!
    • photo by Bob Rosiello

    • photo by Bob Rosiello

    • photo by Bob Rosiello

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