School of Music presents Belshaw and Friends

September 27, 2013

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University’s School of Music will host Belshaw and Friends at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Wayland’s Harral Auditorium. The concert is a celebration of the completion of Phases I, II and III of the All-Steinway Initiative. With only one phase remaining, Wayland is in the process of earning the coveted All-Steinway designation.

With the completion of Phase III this summer, Wayland music students now have Steinway, Boston or Essex model pianos on which to perform and practice throughout the School of Music. The remaining phase of the project will secure funding to replace pianos in other areas of campus with Steinway produced instruments.

Tuesday’s concert will be a showcase of talent celebrating the huge accomplishment for the School of Music. The Friends of Music organization will host a reception for anyone who donated to the initiative in the recital hall immediately following the concert. Belshaw and Friends is an annual concert, coordinated by Dr. Gary Belshaw, Professor of Music Composition at Wayland.

“I was so excited to think about using this year’s “Gary Belshaw & Friends” to celebrate the completion of the third phase of our All-Steinway Initiative. And there’s a lot to celebrate. Not only do we have all new pianos in our building, but they were gifts – hugely generous gifts from people who believe in music education, and most especially, music education in ‘an academically challenging, learning focused and distinctively Christian environment,’” Belshaw said.

As is the tradition, Belshaw has invited friends to perform with him. This year his list of friends includes a number of community piano students. The featured performers are Aaron Chavez, Annabeth Allison, Brooklyn Golden, Laura Summers, Brittany Wren, Abbie Drake, and Carrie Huang. These students are taught by Jeannine Greene, Polly Morgan and Julia Franklin. They will each perform solos on a Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano.

WBU assistant band director Anthony King will perform some selections arranged for the marimba, and Brian Elmore, Director of Institutional Sales for Steinway Hall in Dallas, will sing "To God Be The Glory" and "His Eye is on the Sparrow" in the Southern Gospel style of Lillie Knauls as she performed it on the Billy Graham Homecoming video from Bill and Gloria Gaither. Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes will share some thoughts and Belshaw will “improvise some new music.”

Belshaw and fellow faculty member Dr. Richard Fountain will “rock the house” as they use a pair of Steinway grand pianos to perform “one of the most exciting, impassioned, and moving symphony ever written.”

Belshaw said his biggest joy in putting on the concert is that he gets to play music on such quality instruments.

“And these pianos are the evidence of something unseen: that we have among us many, many friends, people who want us to keep pressing on, keep building, and keep inspiring the next generation of music professionals,” Belshaw said. “That’s amazing. That’s humbling. That makes you want to weep for joy.”