UL in History: A Night at the Movies Concert

Dr Clifton W. Potter Jr. ~ UL History Professor

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Dr Clifton W. Potter Jr. ~ UL History Professor

Last week I had the pleasure of being part of the 2019 “A Night at the Movies Concert,The Wonderful World of Walt,” which celebrated the remarkable accomplishments of Walt Disney as well as the “ninetieth birthday” of Mickey Mouse. The University of Lynchburg Wind

Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Choir, and the Community Big Band provided two first-class performances for appreciative audiences—Mother Nature cancelled the Wednesday night concert with her unexpected snow and ice storm. Standing in the glare of a spotlight it is impossible to see who is in the theater, but I was aware that one former faculty member was not there. Dr. Harvey Huiner had died suddenly on Saturday February 16th. He was eighty-one years old, but one of the fittest individuals I have ever known. He looked like a man in his early sixties, and not a great-grandfather! Heart disease is a silent killer that does not spare anyone, neither those in shape nor those who are not.

Arthur Wake transformed the Lynchburg College Choir into one of the most valuable recruiting tools our institution possessed, and Caleb Cushing continued that tradition. By the time Dr. Huiner joined our music faculty in 1975, one choir master had left after a brief period, and another had died tragically of leukemia. In twenty-seven years, Harvey Huiner transformed the choir into a professional quality company that was as comfortable with the

Avant-guard the as with the traditional. When I expressed my hope that someday he might include an Elizabethan madrigal or two in the choir’s repertory—low and behold he did it! He even slipped in modern madrigals that were anything but Elizabethan from time to time. For five years he was the organist at Peakland Baptist Church where my wife and I are members, and often when we passed each other on a Sunday morning he would smile and inform me that the prelude was from my century—the eighteenth. Our organ is an electronic one because of space constraints, but Harvey could make it sound like a cathedral pipe organ.

In 1949 the Alumni Association gave Lynchburg College a swimming pool which was

located on the lower level of Hall Campus Center, and Harvey and I regularly swam there. One year I swam a hundred miles and received a certificate from the Red Cross, but Harvey was far ahead of me. He retired in 2002 because he had accomplished all that he envisioned for the choir, and he had a bucket list waiting to be completed. Every time we attended a musical performance, Harvey and Marjorie Huiner were there. The last time we met was at a concert in Sydnor Performance Hall. The Huiners’ were getting ready to travel to the Southwest United States on a two-week holiday, and we cheerfully exchanged notes on that part of country which is one of our favorite vacation destinations. I was looking forward to hearing about their trip, but that was not meant to be. Another vital link with our past as an institution has been broken, and we are poorer for that.