Wayland to premiere Centennial anthem

PLAINVIEW – The Wayland Baptist University School of Music will take center stage on Thursday, Oct. 23, as it unveils the Centennial composition commissioned by Wayland in celebration of its 100-year history. The Fall Choral Festival concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Harral Memorial Auditorium.

The special composition, entitled “Dreams and Realities,” was composed by Wayland Associate Professor of Music and Director of Piano Pedagogy and Composition, Dr. Gary Belshaw. Those interested in the process of composition are invited to a special “Meet the Composer” event at 6:30 on Thursday in the atrium of the Mabee Learning Resources Center on the Wayland Campus. Dr. Belshaw will discuss the inspiration for the work and the compositional process. Light refreshments will be served. The gathering will adjourn at 7:10 in preparation for the concert.

The Festival will feature performances by the International Choir, conducted by Dr. Scott Herrington, and the Wayland Singers, conducted by Mr. Robert Black and Dr. Sarah Herrington. The choirs will combine to perform the Centennial composition.

Dr. Belshaw drew inspiration for the piece from Wayland’s storied past, working the composition into seven “anthems” that make up the total work.

“I knew from the start that it would be impossible to deal with the topic of dreams in a single song,” Belshaw said. “Four of the anthems are rather famous poems set to music, two with sacred texts and two non-sacred, each of which deals eloquently with a specific facet of dreams. I wrote original texts for three of the anthems.”

Dr. Belshaw said he learned from Wayland historian Dr. Estelle Owens that many of Wayland’s leaders throughout the years have focused on dreams. He said some of the lyrics for the anthems were taken directly from quotes from Wayland’s past presidents.

Thursday’s performance is the culmination of nearly two years of work by Dr. Belshaw – time that was well-spent according to Dean of the School of Music Dr. Ann Stutes.

“Dr. Belshaw’s ‘Dreams and Realities’ is energizing and inspiring,” Stutes said. “The music and the message have been both challenging and stirring for our students.”

She said specific anthems such as “No Small Dreams,” with its challenge to “dream big dreams that inspire the souls of men,” and “A Psalm of Life,” with its appeal to take responsibility for bringing those dreams to reality, have confronted the students motivated them to work even harder to realize their potential. Stutes hopes the music will have a similar effect on those who hear it.

“Everyone who attends will be inspired by the message and the music,” she said.