The Olivetians will be saying a final farewell this year after the decision to dissolve the group was made in response to budget cuts.
The decision was made by Vice President of Institutional Advancement Dr. Brian Allen to help trim Olivet’s budget, which is being cut by 10 percent in each department. This leaves Olivetians who were planning on returning to the group next year scrambling to find alternatives to replace their ministry scholarship and find another ministry outlet.
“This is the time to be looking for summer jobs, so when you have a plan and it changes, I can understand why that’s difficult,” junior and Olivetians member Alynn Franklin said. “It greatly impacted a lot of us.”
Although it came as a shock to the close-knit singing group, they are cherishing every moment they have left. “Most of us are trying to see it as one door closes, another opens,” junior Paul Davison II said.
Junior Ashley Nogoda, who is a local in Bourbonnais, said that being in the Olivetians was one of her goals. “I feel really blessed to be a part of a group I’ve seen growing up my whole life.”
For Nogoda, the Olivetians has meant being a part of something bigger than herself. She enjoyed being a part of something with people who have the same passion of ministering through music.
After being told about the dissolution of the group, Nogoda said the first weekend traveling was very difficult. “It sucks because we feel like we’re getting the short end of the stick,” she said. “We don’t hate Allen, we’re just a little bitter still.”
Davison added: “It was kind of like being kicked out of a family.”
Although she was not planning on returning for a second year, Franklin is grateful for the connections she has made as an Olivetian, not only with her other group members, but with people in different congregations. “Vocals [are] only a fraction of what the ministry is,” she said.
“It has definitely impacted people in a very powerful way and it is not an easy decision,” said Dr. Don Reddick, Chair of the School of Music and director of the Olivetians, “What I have seen is a lot of mourning. They were really the face of Olivet.”
Olivetians have the opportunity to audition for other ministry teams or apply to be an admissions ambassador. Reddick said that Allen will try to use his influence to get them into these positions.
“As we do with all students, we will work with each member to help them continue their education and graduate from Olivet,” Allen said in an email.
The Olivetians are not a cheap group to keep on the road, and the main purpose for which they were created has changed, Reddick said. That purpose was to perform at summer district assemblies, which have now been moved to the end of April. Last year, Olivetians missed two days of classes the week of finals to perform, which was difficult and stressful for everyone, Reddick said.
The Olivetians are also the largest ministry team in terms of membership, Allen said and do not target younger audiences and have as much impact on enrollment as worship band ministries have.
With the Olivetians gone, there will be more of a reliance on music ambassadors, which are easier to schedule, but the “thing that’s lost is consistency,” Reddick said.
“This decision has nothing to do with the Olivetians themselves. Although I don’t like it, I get it,” Reddick said.
The Olivetians have five performances left, two of which are close to home. They are performing at Manteno Church of the Nazarene April 10, and holding a farewell concert at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene May 1. The last concert will invite back former Olivetians, but current members will carry most of the performance.