On Jan. 15, the Chamber Singers and alumni sang “O Day Full of Grace” at David Holdhusen’s mother’s funeral in Sioux Falls.
Holdhusen, the USD director of the choral activities, said he chose to include the Chamber Singers and alumni in the funeral because they were a huge part of his life and that it made him feel better to have them there to be a part of it.
“My mom was my greatest champion, and whatever she or whatever I was doing, she was 100% supportive,” said Holdhusen. “Like I said at the funeral, if you were in the room, my mom loved you. So I know that she would have wanted that group to be a part of the funeral. And honestly, it made me feel better to have them there and be a part of it. It was just a very nurturing thing for me as well.”
Holdhusen said he chose the song they sang because it was a spiritual song for the funeral.
“I think it’s a very spiritual song for the funeral because it talks about finding the light and moving out of the darkness into the light,” said Holdhusen. “And there’s a moment in that song where I call it the gates of heaven chord because I really feel like it signifies the opening of the pearly gates and the walking in ushering in and so I wanted to use that in the funeral.”
Shelby Wright, a student involved in Chamber Singers, said she was humbled and honored to be able to participate in the funeral and for him to share that sort of vulnerability with his students. Wright said she enjoys how compassionate and kind he is and isn’t afraid to hide certain parts of his life from his students.
“When he asked who would be willing to do it, so many hands were raised because everybody was just like yes, we would like to do that for you because he’s given so much to the choir that the reaction was sort of that we want to do anything that we can to help because he does so much for us,” Wright said.
Colby Stoos, a member of Chamber Singers, said it was emotional for a lot of people Stoos said he wanted to help give some of that emotional support back to Holdhusen and help him during the tough time.
“I think that when we sang the song during the funeral, it really showed the Chamber family,” said Stoos. “He’s told us every year, if you’re a Chamber Singer, you’re part of a Chamber Singer family. And I think this was the biggest proof that what he says has always been true because we all came together to support the head of our family.”
Holdhusen said he was very grateful for the students and alumni that joined and came to the funeral to sing.