Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Oh, to Be a Fly on the Wall This Evening!

As you read this, Larry and I will be driving together to a conference in Atlanta. You will be led in rehearsal this evening by two of the finest musicians I have ever known: Dawn Driggers and Dr. Charles Gaines.

Dr. Gaines is professor emeritus of music at Presbyterian College. He holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and the Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary. He is the founder and former conductor of the Laurens County Chorale, and is the founder and conductor of the Greenwood Festival Chorale. Since Dawn began accompanying the Laurens County Chorale, and a couple of years later, the Greenwood Festival Chorale, Chuck and his wife Jean have become dear, dear friends of ours; but it took me a couple of years before I was comfortable calling him “Chuck” instead of “Dr. Gaines.”

Dawn holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree (cum laude) from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Music Ed was typically a 5-year degree program at Samford, but Dawn finished it in 4 (and added 16 hours of foreign language). Although she is best known locally as a pianist and accompanist, her undergraduate degree was not in piano but in voice.

At Samford there were three ways to cover the requirement of a senior vocal recital:
  1. Studio Recital (performed before faculty and invited guests)
  2. Degree with Recital (aka DWR – a 30-minute public Senior Recital)
  3. Samford Performing Arts Program (aka SPAP – a 30-minute public Junior Recital and a 60-minute public Senior Recital)
Only the best vocal students were allowed to do DWR or SPAP. I hated the way I sang in college (and so did most of the voice faculty), so I just did a studio recital. Dawn, on the other hand, was a SPAP student. Looking back, she sometimes wonders if she had been in her right mind to try to do all that she did. The fact that she also fell in love with and agreed to marry me confirms that she was … indeed … crazy. In addition to accompanying the Laurens County Choral and the Greenwood Festival Chorale, Dawn also teaches piano and voice privately in our home, and accompanies and teaches voice to music minors and secondaries at Newberry College.

So why would I like to be a fly on the wall this evening? The shoe is on the other foot. Dawn is conducting … with Chuck accompanying. You’re in for an interesting (and productive) rehearsal.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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