Last week, Salt Lake Community College bid farewell to a longtime faculty member, Dr. Lyle Archibald.
Students, friends, family, and alumni gathered and performed to honor and celebrate the 25 years Archibald spent at SLCC. The evening was marked and planned as a normal concert, but had a surprise commemoration for the recently retired professor.
Tears flowed freely as touching words and songs were performed, dedicated to honoring his achievements and the connections he made while teaching at SLCC.
According to adjunct voice professor Kathryn Thompson, Archibald had taken a medical leave of absence, and she was asked to fill in and direct the choirs while he was gone. After a few months, it was learned that Archibald would not be coming back to school and his retirement was announced.
Thompson felt it was unceremonious to let Archibald leave without having the chance for he and his students to say goodbye. There was already a concert planned, so she conspired with his family to ensure that he would be there.
Archibald’s daughters performed as special guests and sang an emotional song about fathers and daughters. Thompson contacted alumni in secret and prepared them to perform several songs dedicated to the man of the evening.
In addition to the musical tributes, a video presentation was set to Archibald’s favorite song and featured his accomplishments and a few video messages from students. Students explained the impact Archibald had in their lives, including career choices and life lessons they will pass on to their own children.
One video message shared by alumni Erin (Merrill) Kirby, who was a member of Chamber Singers and Concert Choir from Fall 2003 to Spring 2006, was particularly poignant.
“Lyle – You are such an inspiration! I decided to major in music because of all the wonderful experiences that I had in choir. You made learning fun!
“Your choirs and the camaraderie that we all felt made the transition from high school a very smooth one for me. I made many lasting memories and friendships. For these things I will be forever grateful to you! Best of luck to you in your retirement!”
Photos by Tamara Estey