More than 30 former Bluefield College music students were back on campus, February 23-24, for a series of reunions and to return to the BC stage to perform a concert directed by onetime music professor Bryant Moxley.
The two-day winter Music Alumni Reunion and Concert provided the former students and their families an opportunity to reconnect and reminisce with other fellow grads. The gathering included a reunion reception, breakfast, campus tours, a formal alumni dinner, and the marquee reunion concert. (Story continued below.)
MUSIC ALUMNI REUNION 2018
Former music students were back on campus for a reunion and concert, led by onetime music professor Bryant Moxley. Photos by Nathalia Lima.
“Even though I still live in the area, coming back on campus to sing with my old friends and colleagues made me feel like I was back in the Bluefield family,” said alumna Elizabeth Decker (’15). “My favorite part of the reunion was reuniting with my old friends whom I haven’t seen in almost three years. We were inseparable in college, and being able to sing with them made the memories come flooding back.”
The weekend also included four rehearsal sessions for the returning music alumni in preparation for the Music Alumni Concert.
“An event like this is great because it allows alumni who share a common love, like music, to reunite, share memories, and hear about the great things going on at Bluefield College,” said event coordinator Joshua Grubb, director of alumni relations.
Directing the alumni choir this year was Moxley, a former assistant professor and chair of the Bluefield College Department of Music from 2002-2014. During his tenure with BC, Moxley directed the school’s select student voice ensemble, Variations, taking that group on tour across the region, on mission abroad, and to the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. A recipient of the college’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2008, his service to the school also included a term as faculty president, and since departing Bluefield he has helped coordinate a number of alumni events, including the first alumni music gathering.
“I was honored to come back to this one,” said Moxley about the 2018 version of the Music Alumni Reunion. “It is just pure joy to see alumni and students come together and work and unite their voices and to sing from their hearts.”
Today, Moxley lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina, with his wife, Lisa, where he serves as a minister of music and worship at Wake Forest Baptist Church. Before and during his 12-year tenure at Bluefield College, he served as a minister of music at six other churches. He is also active in various music organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Teachers National Association, and the Hymn Society of America.
“Just seeing the students means so much to me,” said Moxley about reuniting with his former BC music students, “and I’m just really honored by their presence – that they would choose to give up their weekend and come and be a part of this. It is a privilege I don’t take lightly.”
For alumna Alandra Blume Hinkle (‘14), the Moxleys were the reason she chose to attend Bluefield College and the reason why she and her fellow grads decided to participate in the Music Alumni Reunion.
“Honestly, what I have enjoyed the most is having Mr. Moxley up in front of us conducting again, conducting the music so beautifully, and all the people around me singing with one voice,” said Hinkle (’14). “All of us being moved by the music at once has been a really, really powerful experience, and it has reminded me that this college gave me all of that. It gave me the joy of being in music and being in choir.”
Joining Decker and Hinkle among the 31 total grads who attended the Music Alumni Reunion were Rita Parsons Blevins (’74), Melinda Blume (’12), David Calfee (’93), Allison Deel (’11), Regina Jacobs Filer (‘83), Rodney Hale (‘60), Nicholas Hinkle (‘16), Shawn Howell (‘12), Christopher Keller (‘11), Joshua King (‘13), Amber Koppler (’14), Adam Lowe (’10), Esther Mabe (’16), Alisha Maloyed (’16), Kara Neal (’15), Joseph Newton (’63), Jennifer Rutledge Payne (’95), Tanna Cabaniss Payne (’07), Vanessa Bradshaw Pettinger (’05), Alyson Brown Ridge (’05), Timothy Schuler (’14), Heather Musick Shockley (’97), Amy Montgomery Shockley (’08), Kimbra Nash Stenson (’84), Elizabeth Tinsley (’12), Gina Adkins Vaughan (’07), Marcus Vaughan (’08), Theresa Walters (’17), and Cary Carpenter Wright (’13).
“Many alumni came back this weekend to have the opportunity to perform with the Moxleys again, and they were a major part of the weekend’s success,” said Grubb. “We’re already looking forward to 2020 when we get to welcome music alumni back to perform again.”