Orchestra director, professor of music, choir director and church organist are just a few of the hats that Dr. Richard Sowers wears. However, at the end of this school year, he will be removing many of those hats for good.
Since 1984, Sowers has been teaching and conducting music at AU. But when the 2020-21 school year concludes, Sowers plans to close the book on his 37 years in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
After wrapping up his time at AU, Sowers explained that he plans to move to the Chicago area, where two of his three children live. Sowers said that he has long desired to move closer to his children and grandchildren.
“This is something my wife and I have been planning for several years now,” said Sowers.
Despite moving over three hours away, Sowers plans to remain the director of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, a position that he has held for 32 years.
“I’m going to actually keep that job,” said Sowers. “We have about five, six or maybe seven concerts each year, and I’ll just need to come for the weeks that we have concerts.”
Sowers’s musical talent extends beyond the role of director, as he regularly plays organ, occasionally sings and often practices French horn, jokingly referring to himself as a “recovering French horn player.”
As AU’s director of choirs and conductor of chorale, for Sowers, leaving AU means leaving many beloved traditions, including the annual Candles and Carols event.
“I don’t think any of us realized this last Candles and Carols was going to be my last Candles and Carols,” said Sowers, explaining that the Christmas tradition is being canceled this year due to COVID-19.
“Even though this year will be different than any other and full of unexpected challenges,” Sowers said in a Facebook post, “I’m looking forward to working with my amazing students and making some beautiful music.”
Photo by Dale Pickett