Everence sponsors national broadcast of 'A Prairie Home Companion'

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May 2 show featured Goshen’s voices

Garrison Keillor and Ken Hochstetler

Garrison Keillor broadcast “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show live from Goshen (Indiana) College on Saturday, May 2. A sold-out audience of more than 900 people laughed with the show’s humor and participated by singing hymns – much to Keillor’s delight.

Everence sponsored the Goshen broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio variety show created and hosted by Keillor, a renowned author, storyteller, humorist and radio personality. Keillor personalized the Goshen broadcast and wove in bits of Mennonite history and culture, such as the history of persecution that led to hymn singing as a way to cope.

“If you’re not Mennonite, then you’ve at least learned to imitate one,” Keillor quipped to the Goshen crowd.

He featured the Goshen College Chamber Choir and the current (and youngest) national mandolin champion, Ethan Setiawan of Middlebury, Indiana. Sisters Lily and Madeleine from Indianapolis were also featured musical guests.

Throughout the broadcast, Keillor declared his appreciation for the four-part harmony that Mennonites are known for.

He and the choir led the audience in several traditional Mennonite hymns, including “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.” Keillor also rewrote the lyrics of traditional hymns, such as a hymn about college choir students now free from the rebellious years of adolescence to the tune of “Shenandoah.”

Everence sponsored both the live broadcast in Sauder Concert Hall and a video simulcast in a tent outside. After the show, Keillor visited the tent event, singing with the crowd for about an hour.

“A Prairie Home Companion” is known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, tongue-in-cheek radio drama, and Keillor’s storytelling segment, “News from Lake Wobegon.” The 40-year-old show is typically broadcast live from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Keillor’s interest in Goshen and Mennonites stemmed from a solo show he performed in October 2013 as part of the Goshen College Performing Arts Series.

The Everence sponsorship of “A Prairie Home Companion” is part of a larger underwriting sponsorship for the area’s local National Public Radio Station, WVPE. This is the fifth year that Everence is an underwriting sponsor.

About Everence

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.

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