Alumni celebrate Cindy Jordan

The several hundred people who attended the Colorado Academy Alumni-Faculty party after Giant Relay Day will long remember the evening for so many unforgettable reasons. On the west lawn of the Welborn House which was bathed in the golden light of sunset, alumni gathered to eat, drink, hug, laugh, and cry as they celebrated and surprised CA’s beloved Vocal Director Cindy Jordan, who was retiring after 43 years—her entire career—at the school.

Who could forget Jonathan Davis ’08, serenading Cindy on the front steps of the Welborn House with “Stand by Me?”

“If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall, or the mountains should crumble to the sea. I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no I won’t shed a tear, just as long as you stand, stand by me.”

Cindy wiped away tears as Davis sang, as did many others at the party. In that moment, it was so apparent that countless CA students through the years felt that Cindy was one person they could count on to “stand by me.” 

A “Rhythm of Life” flash mob

But the surprises were far from over. Seemingly out of nowhere, CA Lower School music teacher Nora Palenchar Golden ’00 led a flash mob of alumni, alumni parents, CA friends, and former and current faculty in performing Cindy’s signature song, “The Rhythm of Life,” from Sweet Charity. To prepare for the moment, music had been mailed to alumni across the country and many had warmed up their rusty vocal chords with lyrics they had never forgotten.

And The Rhythm of Life is a powerful beat,
Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet,
Rhythm in your bedroom,
Rhythm in the street,
Yes, The Rhythm of Life is a powerful beat.

A “Rhythm of Life” book

And still there was one final surprise awaiting Cindy. For months, Alumni Director Sue Burleigh had collected memories, photos, and notes of thanks for Cindy to be included in a one-of-a-kind book. Adam Overett ’96 traveled to the party from New York to present this very personal gift, The Rhythm of Life, to Cindy. Here are just a few excerpts from many remembrances:

Never was there a person that would have come out of your class with anything but good feeling, good will, and a recognition of your heart. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your love, your ability to stop and truly listen, and for sharing the love of music that for me, has never ended. 

I still enjoy singing—in my head, in my car, in the kitchen with my family—and every night to my two boys (8 and 10) as I put them to bed. They won’t let me leave their rooms until I sing a song. And it’s always a favorite part of my day. So, Cindy, 24 years since I last performed in your choir, in any choir, I feel your influence every day!

In celebration of Cindy, more than 200 alumni and their parents, along with current parents and current and former faculty, generously donated more than $350,000 through a challenge issued by the CA Alumni Board. The dollars raised will support the Leach Center for the Performing Arts, the fourth and final project of the school’s multi-year See it Through capital campaign. In recognition of the challenge, the entrance plaza of the Leach Center will be named for Cindy Jordan, and all supporters will be acknowledged on signage at the plaza.

It was a party that no one wanted to end, and yet it finally did—but not before Cindy Jordan felt the love from so many former students who had found rhythm and joy in their lives through her kindness, caring, teaching, mentoring, and humor.

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