Affection For Connection

Founders Chori singers with voices raised in song.


Most of us remember Founders Chapel as it appeared from the pews and can still smell lemony polish on hand-carved wood. Homilies focused on love and peace echo, even years later. The sense of history resonates, as we realize that for decades, thousands of Toreros bowed their heads in prayer, just as we did week after week.

But a small number of Toreros remember their time in Founders Chapel differently — as experienced from the sanctuary. They were the voices that offered up ethereal melodies and harmonies, joyfully and gracefully leading the community in prayer and song each Sunday evening and for important liturgical celebrations such as Candlelight Mass. 

The experience of being part of the group has been profoundly moving. When asked what being a part of Founders Chapel Choir meant to them, the response from alumni was heartwarming. More than 350 alumni were a part of Founders Chapel Choir during their time at Alcalá Park.

This group connected through community, faith, and friendship that blossomed organically, the result of those countless practices and performances. When asked why the choir is still important to him, Adan Cortez ‘15 says, “This amazing group of people became a family that helped me through both the best and worst of times.”

“Founders Chapel Choir was my home at USD, and I miss it every day,” says Sean McManus ’11.

A prime example of the impact a student organization can have on the lives of its members, the group is led by longtime University Ministry Director Annette Welsh ’79 alongside group organizer Tracy (Zetts) Telliard ’12, ’16 MA.

“It’s about helping to strengthen a community that’s already bound together by love and friendship,” explains Telliard.

The growing Founders Chapel Choir Alumni group officially launches during Homecoming and Family Weekend, scheduled for Oct. 6-9, 2016. The group aims to provide its hundreds of alumni with a means to continue to engage with the university in meaningful ways, including through specialized communications, social media platforms, and opportunities to sing together. Also important to the group is taking the time to share their experiences, provide support to one another during life transitions and even offer advice to current members of the choir.

“I am my best self in that community,” says Amanda Leger ’10 of her time in Founders Chapel Choir. That sort of sentiment has a familiar ring to it, much like beloved hymns, echoing in our memories from across the years.

Of course, these are just a few examples of stories shared by alumni as they look back on their time in student organizations, participating in sports teams or dedicating themselves to individual leadership experiences while on campus. The unique experiences they shared as students build relationships and foster a distinct connection to the university.

Affinity groups such as the Founders Chapel Choir Alumni group provide profound connections that the Alumni Association supports in concrete ways. At USD,  an affinity group is any collection of Torero alumni who actively engage in communicating or gathering around a central unifying purpose, mission or background. Recently, USD’s Alumni Association has seen a growth in its affinity group program, which is attributed to the expansion in alumni connectedness. — Kara Marsh Proffitt ’04

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