news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb Concert Choir Invited to Participate in Concert for 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Two members of the concert choir sing in a performance last year in Dover Chapel.

Musicians will Travel to France in June 2024 for Performance in Abbaye-aux-Hommes

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Today, as the world marks the 79th anniversary of D-Day, members of the Gardner-Webb Department of Music will watch the commemoration with special interest, because the Concert Choir and professors have been invited to participate in next year’s 80th anniversary of D-Day. They will join the historic observance in France by performing a memorial concert as a lead ensemble in an international choir.

“We are very excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity our students will have to perform in France for such a momentous occasion,” observed Dr. Aaron M. Rice, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music. “This will likely be one of the final major anniversaries where veterans of the D-Day invasion will be present for the commemoration.”

Scheduled for June 9-18, the experience also includes educational opportunities in Paris and Caen, France. One of the most significant moments will be a visit to the Normandy coast and the beaches where Americans and other allied forces gave their lives for the cause of freedom on D-Day. The trip culminates with a mass choir performance of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen. Participants in this memorial performance will be from the United States, United Kingdom, and many countries across Europe.

The Concert Choir will join a performance with other choirs
in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen, France.

Rice noted the importance of the location, “The Abbaye was built in the 11th Century and is one of the oldest in the region of Normandy. It was not significantly harmed during WWII and it served as a hospital for those wounded during the Allied Invasion.”

Dr. Jamie Meaders, founder of Vox Anima, an organization that arranges international performing opportunities in France and the UK, invited the GWU choir to perform. Meaders and Dr. Joshua Cheney, GWU’s director of Choral Activities, have been professionally connected for years. “Meaders recognized the development and growth in the GWU Concert Choir and wanted the group to be one of the foundational ensembles for the mass choir,” Rice explained.

Rice and Cheney will lead the group of students. Generous donors, including some who gave on Double Dawg Day, have already started raising money to fund the trip. If you would like to learn more about how you can help make this learning opportunity a reality, please contact Nate Evans, vice president for Advancement at [email protected] or make a donation here.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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