"The fine and performing arts are central to the tradition of a liberal arts education, which is the cornerstone of our Virginia Wesleyan mission."  VWU President Scott D. Miller
January 2021
COVID-19 can’t stop the Arts at Virginia Wesleyan University! This issue presents a host of free virtual performances and exhibitions.
Faculty Focus
Jason Squinobal, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Ensembles

This month the VWU Concert Series presents Dr. Jason Squinobal’s latest musical adventure in a virtual concert on January 15, 2021, at 8 p.m. via the VWU Digital Broadcasting Network.

“Trio Atomic” features Squinobal on saxophone joined by Will McPeters, bass, and Mike Laubach, percussion. In addition to teaching applied lessons at VWU, McPeters and Laubach are members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but their usual black-tie performance attire will not be part of Trio Atomic’s eclectic fusion of electronic music.

After the premiere on January 15, the concert will be available on YouTube.
Virginia Wesleyan University Concert Series
WHRO-VWU Virtual Chamber Series
Virtual Concert Series
January 10 – February 17

The Virginia Wesleyan University Concert Series joins WHRO-FM to present a Virtual Chamber Music Concert Series broadcast on air and online January 10 through February 17, 2021.

Outstanding regional artists, including three with VWU connections, recorded the concerts live in the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre of the Susan S. Goode Center for the Fine & Performing Arts, supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Broadcast events on 90.3 WHRO-FM include a Sunday morning interview with each artist on Musical Brunch and podcast, premiere of the full performance Wednesday evening on A Local Touch, and video premiere on WHRO’s Facebook page, linked on the Goode Center’s Facebook page (times and links noted at the end of this article).
New Commonwealth Quartet
January 10 (interview at 10 a.m.)
January 11 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
January 13 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

VWU Performing Artist faculty Elizabeth Richards, cello, joins Elizabeth Vonderheide, violin; Jonathan Richards, violin; and Matthew Umlauf, viola, to perform Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 18/3- II. Andante con Moto and Grieg’s String Quartet, No.1 – I. Un poco andante – Allegro molto ed agitato.

Formed in 2015 by members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra family, NCQ presents programs of cutting-edge music through Funhouse Fest, and has developed a popular Sunday chamber series at Norfolk’s East Beach Community Center, as well as recording tracks for Bruce Hornsby’s next album.
Todd Holcomb
January 17 (interview at 10 a.m.)
January 18 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
January 20 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

VWU Performing Artist faculty Todd Holcomb performs Jobim’s Felicidade, arranged by Dyens, and Turina’s Sonata para guitarra, Op. 61. Holcomb’s performances have been described as ‘virtuoso’ and ‘a force of nature.’

As soloist and chamber musician he has earned top prizes in numerous competitions including the East Carolina University International Guitar Competition, the Mississippi International Guitar Competition, and the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition, to name a few. In addition to solo work, he performs with flutist Wayla Chambo as Duo Thalassa, and is also Executive Director of the Tidewater Classical Guitar Society.
Debra Wendells Cross, flute
Barbara Chapman, harp
January 24 (interview at 10 a.m.)
January 25 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
January 27 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

Praised for their lyrical, ethereal sound, the flute and harp duo of Debra Wendells Cross and Barbara Chapman warm the hearts and souls of their audience. They perform Blavet’s Sonata in g, Op. 2/4, Godard’s Berceuse de Jocelyn, Arrigada’s Milong and Danza Venezolana, and Grady’s arrangement of the traditional melodies of Shenandoah and The Water is Wide.

Both are long-time members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Wendells Cross as Principal Flute and Chapman as Principal Harp. They have been featured as part of the Virginia Arts Festival’s Chamber Music Series, on numerous recital series throughout Southeastern Virginia, and broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today.
Lee Jordan-Anders, piano
January 31 (interview at 10 a.m.)
February 1 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
February 3 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

Lee Jordan-Anders is Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music Emerita at Virginia Wesleyan University where she served on the faculty for 29 years, founding the Familiar Faces Concert Series (forerunner of the VWU Concert Series), teaching classes in aesthetics, listening, music theory, chamber music, and applied piano.

Jordan-Anders was Music Director and Conductor of the Orchestra of the Eastern Shore, 2009-14, and taught at the Governor’s School for the Arts from 2014-18. She continues to perform frequently both as soloist and as collaborating pianist, and in this performance presents Debussy’s Estampes and Danse.
Anna Feucht, soprano
Steve Kolb, piano
February 7 (interview at 10 a.m.)
February 8 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
February 10 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

Anna Feucht has been praised for her ‘exciting coloratura’ and ‘exceptionally beautiful and powerful sound.’ A frequent soloist with Virginia Opera and Tidewater Opera Initiative, she has served as soloist with the Virginia Symphony, Symphonicity, and the Williamsburg Choral Guild, among others.

In this performance she presents Heggi’s Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia and Bellini’s Ah! Non credea mirati . . . Ah! Non giunge (from La Sonnambula), joined by pianist Steve Kolb, known throughout the region for his command of the keyboard in both classical and jazz styles, as well as collaborating pianist. Recognized by the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads for his contributions to the cultural life of the region, he is past chair of the Southern Region of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, and past board president of Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia.
Rebecca Gilmore, cello
Daniel Lau, piano
February 14 (interview at 10 a.m.)
February 15 (video concert at 5 p.m.)
February 17 (A Local Touch at 9 p.m.)

Orchestral and chamber musician Rebecca Gilmore is Assistant Principal Cello with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in her 20th year, having previously served as Principal Cellist with the Greensboro Symphony. Gilmore is co-founder of the Ambrosia String Quartet which performs both the classics and works of contemporary composers.

In this performance of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No 3, Gilmore is joined by pianist Daniel Lau, who has performed world-wide in recital and with orchestras, and is praised for his ‘exemplary artistry’ and ‘beautifully shaped playing.’ Also a violinist and conductor, he has directed performances of Manon, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Merry Widow, and The Magic Flute, among others, and serves as Chair of the Department of Music at Washington Adventist University.
Interviews- 90.3 WHRO-FM: 10 a.m. (Sundays on Musical Brunch)

Podcast: (Anytime)

Video Concert Premieres: WHRO Facebook: 5 p.m. (Mondays)

Concerts: 90.3 WHRO-FM: 9 p.m. (Wednesdays on A Local Touch)
Trio Atomic
Friday, January 15, 2021
8 p.m.

Trio Atomic performs an eclectic fusion of a multitude of musical styles ranging from African inspired grooves to jazz, rock, and electronic music at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021, in a FREE virtual concert recorded live from the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre in the Susan S. Goode Center for the Fine & Performing Arts at Virginia Wesleyan University.

Founded in 2019, Trio Atomic experiments with both natural and effects-driven sounds in live performance. This concert includes all original music composed by Jason Squinobal with a considerable amount of collective improvisation by the full trio which makes every song new and exciting each time it's performed.

Squinobal, playing saxophone in this concert, is Associate Professor of Music at VWU and Director of Instrumental Music. He's joined by VWU Performing Artist faculty Will McPeters, bass, and Mike Laubach, percussion, who are also both members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Technical staff on this video include Alex Takasugi, photography and videography, VWU student Tucker Barco, lighting, and Trey Delpo, Operations Manager and Technical Director of the Goode Center.
Virginia Wesleyan University Art Department
Unity Flag Project: Building Purple Empathy through the Visual Arts
January 20 - March 19, 2021
Neil Britton Art Gallery

The “Unity Flag Project” originated at Belmont University in anticipation of the final 2020 Presidential Debate to build “purple empathy” through the visual arts. When blended, the colors red and blue form purple.

The VWU Department of Art has joined with the University's Robert Nusbaum Center to bring the results of this project to the Neil Britton ArtGallery on campus from January 20-March 19. Dr. Meaghan Nelson, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Fine Arts at Belmont, developed the idea to encourage a safe space for bipartisan discourse.

According to Nelson, “'Purple empathy’ is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another’s political views, experiences, opinions, understandings, intentions, and decisions.”

Colleges, universities, and civic organizations from each state were invited to design an American flag using images and ideas appropriate to the organization. The Robert Nusbaum Center was selected to represent Virginia. The collaboration between Dr. Craig Wansink, the Joan and Macon Brock Director of the Nusbaum Center, Christine Hall, VWU Branding and Design Manager, and Kelly Jackson, Associate Director of the Nusbaum Center, includes a lighthouse representing the campus location along with its universal symbolism as a sign of hope illuminating the darkness. The images of hearts allude to Virginia’s motto “Virginia is for Lovers.”

According to John Rudel, VWU Professor of Art, at least a dozen new flags will be added to the exhibition while at VWU. Anyone interested in creating a flag is encouraged to contact Professor Rudel at jrudel@vwu.edu.

Wesleyan Sacred Music Institute
Wesleyan Sacred Music Institute Webinar Series

As the pandemic unfolded and online events became the only events, the Wesleyan Sacred Music Institute transitioned its annual Sound & Symbol Lecture Series into a webinar series, and created a new series geared to church musicians attempting to meet the needs of their choirs and congregations in challenging times.

Eight webinars, hosted by Dr. Sandra Billy, WSMI Executive Director, were presented throughout the fall, reaching well over 9,000 persons in the Zoom premieres and later views on Facebook. All remain available on the Unversity’s website and continue to be quite popular.

The lecture series “Infecting Faith & Art” featured VWU faculty Dr. Joyce Howell, Professor of Art History, and Dr. Terry Lindvall, C. S. Lewis Chair of Communication and Christian Thought and Professor of Communication, as well as Mary Charlotte Elia, VWU ’03, Dr. Bianca Hall (Old Dominion University), and Douglas Brown (Union Presbyterian Seminary).

The “Church Music in Covid-Time” series covered a wide range of topics from creative music-making in worship when no singing is allowed to long-distance musical collaborations. It featured VWU Performing Artist faculty members Deborah Carr and Billye Brown Youmans, along with Geoffrey Bell, VWU’09 (Hidenwood Presbyterian-Newport News), Dr. Roy Belfield (Hampton Baptist), Jessica Irish (Messiah UMC-Springfield), Dr. Cristen Mitchell (Blacksburg UMC), Emily Floyd (Shallowford Presbyterian-Atlanta), Rob Passow (St. Clement’s Episcopal-Alexandria), Ryan-Michael Blake (First Lutheran-Norfolk), Sylvia Chapa (Church of the Holy Family-Virginia Beach), and Kevin Kwan (Christ & St Luke’s Episcopal, Norfolk).
Sacred Music Summer Conference
July 26-31, 2021

Wesleyan Sacred Music Institute’s annual Sacred Music Summer Conference will feature some 48 workshop sessions led by a host of nationally recognized clinicians including Dr. Kevin Fenton (choral artistry & conducting), Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bringle (hymn-writing and engaging multiple intelligences through song), Victor Johnson (diversity and inclusion activities, developing choral sound), Emily Shackleford (building music ministry), Dr. Wayne Wold (organ, hymn festivals), Alan Reese (handbells), Rev. Janet James (Celtic & Jazz services), Rev. Casey Wait (storytelling), Claudia Moorad (pre-school music), Amanda Page Smith (children’s music), Dr. Eric Bermani (working with the liturgical year), and VWU professors Dr. Craig Wansink (inspired preaching), and Dr. Terry Lindvall (hymns in the movies), and more!

Evening events will include an opening chapel Christian Celtic service led by Rev. Janet James, a midweek Festival Worship with the Wesleyan Worship Choir directed by Victor Johnson, and handbell choirs from area churches led by Al Reese, a hymn festival designed and led by Dr. Wayne Wold, and the traditional finale featuring the Wesleyan Festival chorus conducted by Dr. Kevin Fenton with the Wesleyan Brass led by Lawrence Clemens.

Stay tuned for details on in-person or online sessions.