news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb Department of Music Hosts Live Webinar in Honor of Women’s History Month

sheet music laying on a keyboard

Program Open to Everyone on Campus; Music Majors and Minors Receive Concert Credit for Attendance

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—In honor of Women’s History Month, the Department of Music at Gardner-Webb University will host a live webinar roundtable discussion and Q&A with four professionals from the fields of music composition, music education, and music performance. The event will be held on March 24 at 5 p.m. in Blanton Auditorium inside Hamrick Hall.

The discussion includes Dr. Crystal Birdsong, Dr. Kayoko Dan, Kirsten Lippart, and Dr. Jennifer Snodgrass, who will share their experiences and advice as professionals in the music field, discuss their paths and lives as women in music. They will also take questions on all aspects of professional music-making in the 21st Century.

Music majors and minors are strongly encouraged to attend; those who do will receive concert credit. They are also asked to bring questions and ideas to discuss with the participants. Additionally, the program is open to all members of the Gardner-Webb community. 

Following are brief biographies for each panelist:

  • Birdsong – A native of Shreveport, La., she is a classically trained pianist who strives to be well versed in all instrumentation through the study of composition. She received her Ph.D. in Music Composition with a minor in Piano Performance under the tutelage of the Boyd Professor of Music, Dr. Dinos Constantinides at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. She attended and received a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition at The Centenary College of Louisiana. Birdsong has also received a Masters of Music in Composition at LSU. Before her graduate studies, Birdsong was an instructor at the Noel Community Arts Program in Shreveport, which helped children in the surrounding neighborhood become more exposed to music and the arts. She is also the current piano faculty at Center Stage Performing Arts Academy in Gonzales, La. She has written and performed for the LSU Chamber Singers, as well as providing her voice for the Red Stiff Riffs vocal jazz ensemble, and various choirs in the area. She is currently the choir director for Liberty Magnet High School.
  • Dan – Serves as the music director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, a position held since 2011. Previously, she served as assistant conductor of the Phoenix Symphony and music director of Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras. She has been awarded the Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, as well as the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institute. Dan has participated in numerous workshops including the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar, International Bartok Festival, Fondazione I Pomeriggi Musicali Conducting Workshop and National Conducting Institute. As a strong advocate of music education, Dan was recently appointed as the Director of Orchestral Studies at Sam Houston State University, and is in demand as a clinician at universities, high schools, youth orchestras, and regional orchestras throughout the country. She has taught at several elementary schools including Thomas J. Pappas school for homeless children in Arizona as an ArtsBridge Scholar. Born in Japan and raised in the United States, music has been an integral part of her life since an early age. She received a Bachelor in Music Education at the University of Texas, and her Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting and Master in Music Education from Arizona State University.
  • Lippart – Mezzo-soprano Lippart, a native of Denmark, Wis., has dazzled audiences of opera, musical theater, and chamber music alike. Most recently, she performed the world premiere of the one-woman musical “Sarah Bernhardt,” presented as part of the Stoughton Chamber Music Festival. As a studio artist with Madison Opera for its 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons, Lippart shared her skills in a variety of roles, ranging from the comical Flora in La Traviata to a frolicking Wood Sprite in Rusalka. She recently made her debut with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra as a Messiah soloist. In 2022, Kirsten returns to Madison Opera in the role of Venus in Orpheus in the Underworld and will make her debut with the Madison Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
  • Snodgrass – Professor of music theory in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory, aural skills, songwriting, and pedagogy. Snodgrass has received several awards in relation to excellence in undergraduate education, including the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award and the SGA Outstanding Professor Award. She was also named an official quarter finalist for the Grammy Foundation Music Educator Award. Snodgrass has published research in numerous journals and has three published textbooks, including “Teaching Music Theory: New Voices and Approaches” (Oxford, 2020); “Contemporary Musicianship” (Oxford, 2016, 2021); and “Fundamentals of Music Theory” (Pearson, 2013, 2019). Snodgrass is the past editor for the “Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy” and the assistant director of the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy.

For more information, contact Director of Choral Activities Dr. Joshua Cheney in the Department of Music at 704-406-3992 or [email protected].

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 six professional schools, 14 academic departments, 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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