The Blog @
Southern Virginia University
  1. Graduate Creates New Arrangement of ‘Praise to the Man’

    May 20, 2015

    The Concert Chorale recently had the opportunity to perform an arrangement of the hymn, “Praise to the Man,” which blended the fast-paced, jubilant melody sung today with the original dirge written in honor of the life and death of the Latter-day Saint Prophet Joseph Smith. The piece was arranged by Glenn Williams, who received his degree in philosophy this month. Williams, who is currently staying in Buena Vista to play Inspector Barnes in the upcoming summer musical, “Bells Are Ringing,” hopes to go on to graduate school and to someday teach art history and cultural anthropology.

    “I could never have arranged that piece if it wasn’t for Southern Virginia,” said Williams. “Nowhere else would I have had the confidence to write something like that, let alone believe that it would be performed and recorded. … And my only hope with it is to share my testimony of Joseph Smith and help others feel something. If I touch one person, or help them, then I have done my job.”

    The piece was originally performed as part of the spring choral concert. For more information about and photos of the concert, check out the blog post.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Video by John Worthington ’13.)

  2. Photos: 147th Commencement

    May 15, 2015

    Last Thursday, May 7, we acknowledged and celebrated the achievements of Southern Virginia’s Class of 2015 and had the privilege of hearing from three graduating seniors, including the valedictorian and salutatorian, as well as founder and former Chairman Glade Knight.

    The event also included the traditional performance of “Shenandoah” by both former and current members of the Concert Chorale, which never fails to remind everyone just why we love it here in the midst of so much natural beauty and to be here among friends.

    For more details about the day, check out the recent news article. You may also watch the recording of the live stream. Photos of the graduates will be emailed to them along with a link to download other high-resolution Commencement photos.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16 and Eva Sorensen ’18.)

  3. Knight Run 2015

    May 12, 2015

    The torrential rain took a breather and the clouds parted just in time for our annual Knight Run, much to the relief and happiness of the approximately 200 students, faculty, staff, and community members who ran or walked the 5K. I don’t know about you, but running a 5K sounds about as possible to me as taking flight, yet those who ran this year’s race made it look almost easy.

    So, without further ado, Southern Virginia’s speediest men of 2015 are:

    • Jefferson Chandler – 18:17.0
    • Kevin Prince – 18:34.0
    • Jesse Houchens – 19:14.0

    And Southern Virginia’s speediest women of 2015 are:

    • Leah Huber – 21:16.0
    • Kadie Hair – 22:33.0
    • Hannah Craft – 24:47.0

    For more information, check out the full results online.

    Following the race, everyone gathered for a traditional Polynesian luau to enjoy a hearty, warm meal and fantastic performances by dancers, a fire-dancer, and a jovial MC. The luau was coordinated by the university’s Multicultural Club and facilitated by the dedication of time and energy by Southern Virginia students as well as a number of volunteers from all over the country. Overall, it was an afternoon and evening of achievement, community, and entertainment.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  4. Spring Choral Concert

    May 4, 2015

    The Flute Choir, Bella Voce and Concert Chorale ended their performance seasons with a beautiful and perhaps unusual combined concert. Both the Flute Choir and Bella Voce performed a variety of spiritual, sacred, American folk and romantic music. Concert Chorale offered less variety but more depth than usual, as they performed a new arrangement of the Latter-day Saint hymn “Praise to the Man,” along with Faure’s “Requiem.”

    The requiem especially took this concert deep into what the Old Testament calls “the valley of the shadow of death.” This concert was more reserved, more reverent, more somber than usual. Ultimately, the reserve and the depth of the requiem led to a greater feeling of triumph. That alone made this performance meaningful to me. I hope that others, both in the audience and on the stage, got to feel what I felt.


    (Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  5. Flute Choir Finale

    May 1, 2015

    The Southern Virginia University Flute Choir performed its “Finale Concert” this semester.

    Begun in 2005 by Professor Launa Whitehead, the flute choir has been a fixture at Southern Virginia for ten years. It’s always remained a quaint ensemble of piccolo, alto, bass and C flutes, never including more than ten members. Whitehead said that she hoped the presence of a flute choir provided Southern Virginia with “the opportunity to appreciate small ensembles.”

    “I know that large ensembles are very important to a university, and there’s excellence in there, but I think in some ways that [the flute choir has] shined a bit of a light on excellence in small ensembles,” she said.

    And though the choir certainly has left its mark on the university, it has particularly done so on the students involved. Christina Seegmiller, Southern Virginia’s events and operations coordinator, first became involved in the flute choir in 2007 and has been playing the flute since the sixth grade.

    Whitehead said that as she prepared for the final concert, she “picked pieces that would show [the ensemble] at [its] best.” She chose a number of diverse pieces, including Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides Overture” and Burnette’s “Three Crotchety Cats,” which was narrated by Dr. Clayne Robison. Seegmiller listed “Hebrides” as her favorite piece.

    “I’ve done it before with Launa [Whitehead],” Seegmiller said. “I was actually the one who pushed her to do it this year. I love the musicality of that piece, the pianos the fortes, the strength that it has just with flutes. It shows [everything] that flutes can do.”

    Whitehead discussed her desire to not only show off the choir at its best, but also to please the audience. At her husband’s advice, she said she tries “to play at least one number that everyone will know and can go out whistling.”

    With decades of experience, Whitehead has taught at Dixie State University in St. George and has performed with the Southwest Symphony Orchestra as part of the Temple Square Concert Series and with the Rockbridge Symphony, among others. Despite her extensive experience, she said that working at Southern Virginia has been exceptional.

    “It’s the caliber of students, the caliber of the kind of people they are,” Whitehead said. “It’s the wanting, the desire for excellence, and wanting to do their best that really has been a main factor [of my enjoyment here].”

    And, according to Seegmiller, Whitehead has proven herself to be a professor of high caliber.

    “She’s amazing, she’s wonderful – she’s a great friend to all the girls,” said Seegmiller. “She’s always willing to help you through whatever you’re going through. She always has advice on guys, and she’s always curious about what’s going on in your lives. She’s not just a teacher. She’s a friend.”

    Ultimately, it seems that the flute choir’s legacy is not only one of outstanding musicianship and dedication but one of comradery and friendship. Small ensembles, intimate friendships, great experiences. It’s the genius of small.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen ’18.)