This project started in 2014, the year that Margery Mayer Steen Voutsas passed away. The widow of
Wagner’s legendary choral conductor Sigvart Steen, she was herself a teacher of music at Wagner who influenced many students both during her husband’s tenure as choral conductor and for many years afterward. She died on May 12, 2014, at age 96, and Wagner Magazine ran her obituary in the fall 2014 issue. One former student and chorister, Vicki Heins-Shaw ’71, wrote a letter about how much Margery and Sigvart Steen had meant to her, which ran in the summer 2015 issue of Wagner Magazine. We placed a note next to Mrs. Heins-Shaw’s letter, asking for more alumni to send their remembrances of the choir.
In the meantime, my colleague Lee Manchester, Wagner’s director of media relations and unofficial historian, had acquired three vinyl LP recordings of the Wagner College Choir under Steen’s direction. He digitized them and posted them on the Wagner website in October 2015.
After receiving a number of letters from alumni, prompting others to write additional ones, conducting many interviews, reading and organizing the information contained in many folders of press releases, clippings, programs, and photos held in the Wagner College archives and in the music department, I composed a story about the history of the Wagner College Choir, “We Found Our Voice,” for the fall 2016 issue of Wagner Magazine. Its 8 pages contained only a fraction of the information I had gathered and beautiful reminiscences that would be sure to touch and interest the many Wagner College choir alumni. This small book is the extended version of my research and includes all of the contributions by Wagner College choir alumni.
— Laura Barlament, Director of Communications and Marketing for Wagner College and Editor, Wagner Magazine