Hundreds gather to celebrate beloved choir director

Jun 28, 2013

John Sipe in the classroom.
Credit Picture courtesy of the Tecumseh Choir 1956-1982 Facebook page.

More than 300 alumni of Tecumseh High School are converging on New Carlisle near Springfield, Ohio this weekend to honor a beloved music teacher.

John Sipe taught chorus from 1956 to 1982. Some of his former students compare him to Glenn Holland, who's life was legendarily turned into the film Mr. Holland's Opus.

Class of 1970 graduate Tim Kraus followed in Sipe's footsteps becoming a teacher. He rode his bicycle nearly 90 miles from his College Hill home to New Carlisle for this weekend's alumni tribute concert.

"We seem to devalue educators a lot in our society these days," he says. "Whenever there's a chance to honor a great educator I want to be there to do that."

Kraus says he's looking forward to saying 'thank you' and be with, and sing under, Sipe one more time.

"The magic that he has when he's in front of a bunch of people singing is quite amazing so it's going to be an electric experience," says Kraus.

He isn't the only one making a journey. Students are coming in from Japan, Norway, Spain and Germany to sing under the baton of their now 85-year-old mentor. Organizer Greg Cable says at least one person from every graduating class during Sipe's tenure will be performing.

The free concert is Saturday evening at Tecumseh High School.