By A. Ember Boyer
It is a cold, gray Sunday afternoon as sparse crowd of music lovers converge upon a solely sunlit chapel. For a small group of people space themselves sparsely among the pews, Anna Billias Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Bill Kershner, and I are the only Sweet Briar attendees. The Gager Community Concert Series is produced through the generous donations of Mr. Gager in honor of his late wife. He too is in attendance. The two performers are Mr. Sean Beavers and Ms. Alycia Hugo. Beavers is the Associate Dean of Music and Performing Arts at Liberty University School of Music:
He has performed in Europe as well as North and South America. His performances have been featured on West Virginia Public Radio, Classics Radio in Virginia, and Bolivian television. He has appeared as a guest artist at the Alexandria Guitar Festival near Washington, D.C. And the Asolo Song Festival in Italy. He has also performed as a concerto soloist with the Liberty University Symphony Orchestra.
Alyicia Hugo, formerly the principal flutist with the Rome and Wintergreen Festival Orchestras, currently is working as the principal flutist with the Roanoke and Lynchburg Symphony Orchestras:
She is a four-time winner of the National Flute Association Convention Performers Professional Flutist Competition, achieving special recognition for her skills as a performer of twentieth century music, and is a two-time winner of the Professional Flute Choir Competition. Most recently, Alycia and her husband, John, performed as a flute/tenor duo at the 2014 Chicago NFA conference.
As the bell tower chimes three the performers come forward, Beavers, dressed in a black suit with a polka-dot tie, acoustic guitar in hand and Hugo in a simple red dress with gold accents and golden flute. They begin with a duet of “Sonate a-Moll, op. 1, Nr. 1” by Jean Baptist Loeillet de Gant, and continue with songs of European influence. Most of songs bring to mind an image of standing in a meadow surrounded by trees somewhere in Europe as a minstrel plucks on their string instrument and a piper plays sweet music that belongs to the trees. Near the end, the two play a beautiful duet “Haru No Umi” (The sea in Springtime) by Japanese composer Michio Miyagi. The cadences were familiar and friendly to any lover of japanese music, though arranged for non-traditional instruments. After each installment, the audience applauds politely. At the end of their performance, the bell tower strikes four and the performers thank the audience for taking the time to come out on Superbowl Sunday. This was another beautiful installment in the Gager Community Concert Series. These selections are truly a wonderful opportunity to hear live music performed by amazingly accomplished musicians right here on campus.