Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Was Blogging and Found . . .

Seventh Post in the Series.
I found a very interesting article on the role (or lack thereof) of the organ in many of our churches today.  The sound of an organ leading congregational singing reverberates within my soul! There is nothing like the sound of voices coming together in song, led by an organist who knows their instrument and therefore how to make the music come alive! I often lament about congregational singing and concur with the author of the article "Does the Church Organ Need to Go" (linked below).


Although I do believe some texts and music are not edifying nor appropriate for worship, good congregational singing is not necessarily about the style of music. We worship our Creator through congregational singing, so the music should serve a theologically driven text and if the singing is supported and led by the incomparable tone/character/timbre of an organ, all the better!

Enjoy the article!

Does the Church Organ Need to Go by Mark Harland

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Concert: Haydn's "Te Deum in C Major"

[Please take a moment to look over my blog’s new look and layout.  I have refreshed the look, feel, and functionality of the blog and look forward to offering posts for a 6th year]




Photo of Esterhazá, residence of the Esterházy family

The centerpiece of this year’s Spring Concert is Franz Joseph Haydn’s Te Deum in C Major. The Te Deum text is a standard and well-known text, which has been set to music by countless composers through the centuries, even unto today. Haydn was an Austrian composer who spent most of his career working for a family of Hungarian Princes, the Esterházy family. He was a contemporary of Mozart and once (briefly) gave lessons to Beethoven.  Joseph Haydn was quite a prolific composer of chamber, orchestral and choral works.

Haydn’s Te Deum in C Major is a short work of about eight or nine minutes (depending upon the desired tempo) and is in three, seamless sections or one might say, movements. The exhilarating opening and closing allegro sections surround a slower, contrasting movement, which offers a much needed repose.

It is a challenging piece, with its many interwoven musical lines and overlapping thematic material. All three of Union’s choirs will come together to sing this exciting work.  It will go by quickly, too quickly for my taste considering not only the majestic nature of the work, but also because of all the many hours the choirs will put into learning it!!

The program will also include numerous shorter (octavo in length) works, which will compliment Haydn’s Te Deum.

Please use the following link to view and listen to a recording of this work.  And don’t forget to put 
Tuesday, April 21st on your calendar.  The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. in Conway Boatman Chapel and is free and open to the public.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Choral Program's Christmas Video 2014

It is good to blog again!  After five years of blogging I took a bit of a break, but am happy to share this December post with you.

I am so thankful for our three talented choirs who have worked so hard ALL semester long; I am equally grateful to our faithful audience! The choirs sang beautifully and the audience was so receptive.  It was also nice to recognize Dr. Candy Wood for all she has given to the music program over the past 37+ years!

If you are a current singer, thank you for the joy you bring to my day.  If you don't currently sing with us, but would like to, simply sign up for MUSC 152 (no audition required). You could be singing with us at our next performance -- The Valentine Concert!

Please take a few minutes to enjoy the Choral Program's 2014 Christmas Video.


Merry Christmas!
VGG

PS Instrumentalists -- Mr. Douglas Olenik is our new fulltime Director of Bands! Be sure to sign up for MUSC 181 and be a part of Union's new and exciting Band Program!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Department: Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

THE ARTS @ UNION

Although the new department was announced last fall, today is its"official" first day. We are excited about the possibilities and look forward to departmental collaborations as well as collaborating with colleagues and friends on and off campus! We will continue to offer our students, colleagues and community engaging programs even as we brainstorm and conceptualize new and inventive ways we can serve our students and community!

Members of the Fine, Performing and Communication Arts Department include Dal Macon, Assistant Professor of Art; Christine Marley, Professor of Communications; Virginia Gay Gandy, Associate Professor of Music (Dept. Chair); Kim Yeager, Instructor of Theatre; Joe Martin, Adjunct Instructor of Public Speaking; and Danny Phelps and Kathy Smith, Staff Accompanists.

I will give more information in a future post, but did not want July 1st to pass without "marking" this new beginning for the arts at Union!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Six Weeks and Six Thousand Miles

Rachel, Katie, Lindsay and Nikki.
Not pictured: Dr. Meek, Jennifer and Leanna
 [Prelude: I have neglected my blog during the spring term, but will return to my quasi regular posts come fall]

Although this blog is dedicated to choral music and closely related topics, I have from time to time written an off topic post. With that in mind, I feel compelled to write a follow-up to my last post about the journey I have been on the last several months. Many of you read my previous post and are aware of my diagnosis, surgery and treatments. As it turned out, my oncologist recommended I not have chemotherapy based on the genome test I mentioned in my last post. I agreed with his recommendation and am thankful I don't have to face such an intense and grueling treatment. I am currently undergoing radiation treatments. I require 33 treatments in all (as of Friday I have completed 30!). Once my radiation treatments are finished I will begin adjuvant therapy (in the form of a daily pill) for the next five years.

And now I come to the heart of this post: When one seeks treatment of this nature, one wants a great Radiation Oncologist, the latest equipment, well qualified nurses, therapists, dosimetrists, physicists, etc. It is also essential (for me) that they are carrying and empathetic individuals. I am happy and grateful to say I am blessed with such a team. Dr. Allen Meek, Lindsay, Jennifer, Katie, Rachel, Nikki and Leanna of Provision Radiation Therapy in Knoxville have made me comfortable and confident in the quality of care I am receiving. I hope this doesn't sound like an advertisement, as I hope no reader of this post will ever require their expertise, I simply want to express my gratitude to these lovely, caring people.

Katie and Jeniffer take care of me day in and day out. I have come to enjoy their company and our getting to know one another (their love of maxi dresses, my car buying journey, a bit about my work at Union, etc.) They have tremendous responsibilities and are professional and dedicated to providing the very best of care.
Katie and me. Sadly, Jennifer wasn't there
on this day:/ (Btw, I have not shrunk, Katie is just
wonderfully tall!)

Most readers of my blog know of my daily struggle with positional vertigo. Jennifer, Katie and the entire team worked with me to make sure my vertigo was not agitated. They put my mind at ease and insured my quality of life was not going to be put in jeopardy.

To be sure, driving back and forth to Knoxville for 6 and a half weeks (6,000 miles!) wasn't on my agenda for this summer, but by the grace of God I am receiving wonderful care. I will not miss the drive, nor the treatments, but I will miss being greeted with a smile, treated with kindness and professionalism, and knowing I could call upon Dr. Meek (one of the top Radiation Oncologists in the nation) if I had a question or concern (and you know I had more than a few:))

I am looking forward to healing over the next several weeks and then, God willing, going to the office and doing some work (well, a vacation is also in order). I already miss my students and am looking forward to their return.

As I draw this post to its conclusion, instead of coming up with a musical selection (and there are many that would be fitting) I want to end with something I found in the Patient Care binder I was given by Rachel my first day at Provision.

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit

Author unknown


Sola Gratia,
Virginia Gay

Sunday, April 20, 2014

To My Union Family . . .

As I sit down to write this post I am keenly aware I am going out on the proverbial limb and venturing outside of my comfort zone. Nevertheless, I have the strong desire to share with my Union College family (although some know, numerous others do not) the journey I have been on for the last month and a half.

About six weeks ago I was "officially" diagnosed with breast cancer and a little over three weeks ago I had surgery. I won't go into all the details except to say I am so grateful to my Redeemer there is no evidence of disease in my nodes and the margins of the lumpectomy are clean. Radiation is definitely in my future with a decision about chemotherapy "riding" on the results of a genome test . . . a decision will be made in consultation with my oncologist this week.

Okay . . . so far, so good; I haven't erased this post yet.

I want the Union College community to know how humbled I am by the acts of kindness shown to me. There are two people in particular I want to thank: John Taylor and Kathy Smith. In the very early days after the diagnosis (when I was in shock), John "let" me fall apart. Those of you who know him well, know he doesn't try to "fix" how one is feeling . . . he simply accepts.

John has taken me to appointments in Knoxville, kept me company when I was waiting for the results of pathology, scans, etc. and he stayed with me for seven days straight after the surgery! [I was concerned what my neighbors might think, but quickly dismissed this as I have great neighbors who knew I needed help] To be sure, those seven days were a bit stressful for John but he was committed to helping me as I recovered. And to my recollection I only got " grouchy" twice!! This is my reality and I am sticking to it.

Another member of the Union College family who has been such a tremendous blessing to me is Kathy Smith. She is not only a great pianist/accompanist for the Union College Singers and Harmony, she is a wonderful friend. From the beginning, Kathy offered to help in anyway she could . . .and she meant it! She made several trips to Knoxville with me including the day of the surgery when she and John spent a long day keeping me company, praying with me and the surgeon, and waiting, waiting, waiting! Kathy also cooked and brought scrumptious food over once I got home (John already liked Kathy but was now enamored with her). She was also invaluable as she filled in for me with Singers, Harmony, and some voice lessons while I was out. I don't know what I would have done without her; I don't know what I would have done without John. I am grateful two of Union's finest are so selfless.

To be sure John and Kathy are not the only members of the Union family who supported me. If I tried to name everyone (and I really want to! ) I would no doubt unintentionally leave someone out. Nevertheless, my heart is warmed by the support I have felt from members of the administration, faculty, staff and the larger Barbourville community. I am thankful for the kind words, prayers, and the all important hugs I have received. Oh, and my students have been amazing . . . we have the cream of the crop here at Union. I am touched by their sweet gestures of support and patience as some knew. something was bothering me long before I was ready to share.

I am living a "new" reality now and although (thankfully) my prognosis is good, I am learning to live with a measure of uncertainty as it relates to my health. But, I remain grateful (beyond measure) to my Creator that I don't have to carry a heavier burden . . . there are many who are suffering a great deal more than I.

With love and affection to my Union family,
Virginia Gay

PS Although this post is meant to celebrate the Union College community, I can't sign off without thanking my family who loves me unconditionally.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Union Choirs: Third Annual End of the Year Movie Clip

The semester swiftly came to a close but not before Union's Choral Program presented its annual Christmas Festival Concert. I am proud beyond measure of the musicality and devotion to excellence of the Union Singers, Union Harmony, and the Regional Chorus. I am also thankful for (and humbled by) the support of the Union College family and Barbourville community.

For the third consecutive year, I have put together a brief movie clip of the choirs.  The music playing in the background (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming) was recorded by Union Harmony (2012) and the photos were all taken this fall.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the clip!

http://youtu.be/Tv1XR_fMCMY