news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb Department of Music Hosts Choral Clinic on Oct. 23 for Middle and High School Students

several choir students sing in a practice at Dover Theatre

44th Event Includes 18 Local and Regional Schools

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb Department of Music is preparing to welcome nearly 200 high school and middle school students from the local and regional area to the 44th Gardner-Webb Choral Clinic on Oct. 23.

In addition to three rehearsal sessions, the choristers will break for lunch and participate in a campus tour hosted by the Admissions staff. That evening at 6:30 p.m., the choirs present a free performance for the public in Dover Theatre.

Dr. Aaron Rice, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music explained this program builds connections to educators and students across North and South Carolina. “The Gardner-Webb Choral Clinic provides world-class learning opportunities for the students in our region,” Rice stated. “We seek to empower choral musicians from sixth- through 12th-grade with music making experiences at a high level that will enable them to foster a love for music, learning, and service in our communities.”

Dr. Joshua Cheney, director of Choral Activities at Gardner-Webb, will lead rehearsals and the program for the high schoolers. The students received their music beforehand, and the practice will be to refine the performance, learn from a different instructor, and blend together as a group.

The performance includes “Jenny Jenkins” an arrangement of an American folksong by John Wykoff, “O vos omnes,” a modern composition set to an ancient sacred text by Henry Hinnant, a contemporary setting of the Langston Hughes poem “Hold Fast to Dreams” by Susan LaBarr, an arrangement of the African American spiritual “Hold On,” by Uzee Brown, and a timeless chorus from the Classical period, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Hallelujah” from Christ on the Mount of Olives.

“When choosing repertoire for a festival event, I work to diversify the music in a number of ways,” Cheney described. “I seek music of varied tempos, varied languages, varied styles, some music that is accompanied and some that is a cappella, and musics that represent various kinds of people.” 

Dr. Eric Johnson, Gardner-Webb coordinator of Music Education, will lead the middle school students.  Johnson noted that the younger students did not receive their music ahead of time, and this gives the Gardner-Webb music education students an opportunity to observe teaching methods. The middle school choir will work on the following pieces, but may not present them all in the concert. The songs include “The Adventures of Isabel” by Andrew Ramsey; “Cantate Domino” by Nancy Hill Cobb; “Is the Moon Tired” by Tom Shelton; “Kuwa Furaha” by Jim Papoulis; and “Two Poems of Emily Dickinson” by Nel Ginsburg.

His selections cover many genres. “We have music that is classical in its style, some that are settings of whimsical and lyrical poems, and some in different languages,” Johnson shared. “There are also pieces that will allow the students to perform with more than just piano as some Gardner-Webb students will be playing various instruments with them. All of the them are good teaching pieces and follow the hierarchy of skills that help your singers learn to be independent musicians.”

For the evening performance, the choral groups will be joined by the Gardner-Webb University Concert Choir. The evening program will also include a presentation by the Freedom High School Chamber Singers, under the direction of Robert Summerell.

Participating High Schools:

  • Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, S.C.
  • Crest High School, Shelby, N.C.
  • East Burke High School, Connelly Springs, N.C.
  • First Presbyterian Academy at Shannon Forest, Greenville, S.C.
  • Freedom High School, Morganton, N.C.
  • Gaston Christian School, Gastonia, N.C.
  • Lincolnton High School, Lincolnton, N.C
  • Pisgah High School, Canton, N.C.
  • RJ Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Statesville High School, Statesville, N.C.

Participating Middle Schools:

  • Western Rockingham Middle School, Madison, N.C.
  • Jamestown Middle School, Jamestown, N.C.
  • Southwest Guilford Middle School, High Point, N.C.
  • Mooresville Middle School, Mooresville, N.C.
  • Burns Middle School, Lawndale, N.C.
  • Hudson (N.C.) Middle School
  • Northview Middle School, Hickory, N.C.
  • Piedmont Community Charter School, Gastonia, N.C.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

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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