Gardner-Webb’s Presentation of Messiah Features Four Sets of Mothers and Daughters

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Singers Include Community Members and Alumni

Roxanne Bridges, 1981 GWU alumna, center, and her daughters, Rebekah Bridges (left), a senior, and Elizabeth Galloway (right), a 2011 alumna are singing in this year’s Messiah concert. Photos by Lisa Martinat/GWU Photo Staff
Sherri Greene, center, and her two daughters, Anne Marie (left) and Hannah (right), are Boiling Springs residents who regularly participate when community members are invited to sing in GWU spring concerts.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Department of Music has a tradition of presenting G.F. Handel’s Messiah every four years. Dr. Paul Etter continued the practice when he came to GWU in 2003. This year’s performance is unique, because the concert features four sets of mothers and daughters.

In addition, three of the mothers and one student’s sister are GWU alumnae. “It’s an unusual situation,” observed Etter, chair of the department and director of the GWU Concert Choir. “Every year, whether it’s Messiah or another major work, I invite the faculty, staff and community to come and sing with us.“

The concert will be on April 28 at 3 p.m. in Dover Theatre, in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center. The Charlotte Civic Orchestra will provide accompaniment for the presentation, which is free and open to the public. Dr. Morgan Soja, assistant professor of music, has been preparing the GWU Chorale for its participation in the performance.

For two of the mothers, Amy Covington and Roxanne Bridges, this is their first time to sing with the GWU Choral Union. Amy, a 1984 alumna, sang Messiah when she was a student and didn’t want to pass up the chance to sing it again with her daughter, Sarah, a senior, who is not in the GWU Choir or Chorale this semester. “I wanted to experience singing Messiah, and when I found out my mom could come that made it extra special,” Sarah offered.

Roxanne, who graduated from Gardner-Webb in 1981, is singing with her daughter, Rebekah, a senior, and her other daughter, Elizabeth Galloway, a 2011 GWU alumna. Elizabeth said the three of them sing together at church and thought it would be exciting to perform a major choral work together.

Anne Bame, a 1991 GWU alumna, also liked the idea of singing Messiah with her daughter, Madeline, a sophomore. Anne sang last year when the Choral Union presented its major work. “I am an unashamed choir nerd,” Anne asserted. “I love my alma mater, and I believe it is a wonderful privilege to sing together with Madeline in this choir. As an elementary music teacher, I work in music every day, but I miss the challenge of singing at my own level of personal satisfaction.”

The last mother-daughter trio is mom, Sherri Greene, and her daughters, Hannah and Anne Marie. They live in Boiling Springs and regularly participate in the spring concerts, Etter said.

Messiah has three sections, which focus on Christmas, Easter, and rejoicing in redemption. The words are taken from scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments. For the concert program, Etter selects movements from all the sections. “The oratorio was not meant to be merely a Christmas or Easter piece, but rather a story about people’s need for a messiah,” Etter described. “As was done during Handel’s time, presenting the work around the Easter season is common since the composition includes the suffering and triumph of resurrection of the Christ.”

A photo of Anne and Madeline Bame
Anne Bame, a 1991 GWU alumna, is singing in Messiah with her daughter, Madeline, a sophomore.
Mother, Amy Covington, a 1984 GWU alumna, is singing in Messiah with her daughter, Sarah, a GWU senior.














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