Joseph Henry Metzger
1903 - 1990
Joseph Metzger, a bass, directed choirs in three Seventh-day Adventist schools. He completed a B.Mus. at Northwestern University while teaching at Broadview College, now Broadview Academy, in the 1920's and early 1930's. He accepted leadership of the choirs at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in 1934 where he taught until 1943.
In his second year at EMC, Metzger worked collaboratively with Oliver Beltz, his former teacher at NWU, in presenting performances of the Messiah and the Elijah, with Beltz conducting and Metzger singing the bass solos in the Messiah. In subsequent years, Metzger conducted annual presentations of the Messiah, a popular Christmas season event as reported in the December 18, 1940, EMC Collegian:
Following the traditional custom established at Emmanuel Missionary College six years ago, Handel's oratorio "The Messiah" was presented by the College Chorus, combined with forty members of the Battle Creek Tabernacle Choir on Saturday evening, December 14, under the able direction of Mr. Joseph H. Metzger. Its effective rendition is attested to by the fact that its presentation each year draws visitors from all parts of southwestern Michigan, northern Indiana, and the Chicago district.
As the members of the chorus took their places on the rostrum, the lights were dimmed, and amid the fitting decoration of pine boughs and candles they sang "Silent Night, Holy Night." Prayer was offered by President Klooster; the orchestra played the overture; and at the signal of the director the beloved story of the love of God manifested in the flesh began to be unfolded. The room was filled with a sacred hush as chorus followed solo, solo followed chorus, reviewing again the provision of God for lost man, until at the first strains of the grand "HaIlelujah" the audience rose to their feet and remained standing until the chorus was finished.
Metzger left EMC in 1943 to accept a position at Southwestern Junior College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where he briefly served as music chair. He then taught at Roosevelt University in Chicago and Syracuse University in New York state. He was living in Caryville, Florida, when he died, at age 87.
Sources: EMC The Student Movement, 21 August 1934, 1; 18 December 1940. Obituaries, Southwestern Union Record, September 1990, 17; Southern Tidings, October 1990; and Atlantic Union Gleaner, 7 February 1991, 19.