Written by Isabelle Hendrich, Editor-in-Chief
DAYTON, TN – On Feb. 10th, 2023, Grace Thompson performed her senior recital as required for her majors. Thompson is a double major in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. During the evening, she played several beautiful songs on the piano and one on the organ.
“I had to have some selection from each era of music, so like Classical, Romanic, Baroque, and Contemporary . . . I also just found pieces that I liked and asked Dr. Ellis if I could play them like the Brahms piece I mentioned in my recital,” Thompson said on her song choice.
Besides Intermezzo in A major, Thompson especially enjoyed playing Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, commonly known as the “Tempest” By Ludwig van Beethoven. While Thompson was familiar with several of the movements last spring, she started to learn most of her pieces in the fall of 2023, staying up late many, if not most nights, to practice.
Thompson started to play the piano when she was six years old. Being homeschooled, her mom required music as a core subject growing up. While there were times when Thompson found piano boring or too difficult and wanted to give up, she kept pursuing it. She is now a very accomplished pianist and glad she spent many long hours practicing.
While Thompson originally did not want to go to college, after praying and her parents encouraging her to go, Thompson decided to audition for a music scholarship at Bryan College.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways, at the time it seemed completely arbitrary but it turns out that’s where I needed to be but I just didn’t realize it at the time,” Thompson said.
Thompson considered majoring in a different subject, but since she had a music scholarship, she declared it as her major her freshman year and has been happy with her decision to be a part of the music department.
“We’re all going through the same struggles and down there up late practicing, there’s just this comradery in the music department that’s really special, so that’s been super impactful. Just a great group of people,” Thompson said.
Besides the Chorale Tour, Thompson said one of her favorite performances she participated in was last spring’s Cabaret. For the Cabaret, several pieces were performed from several musicals, including Charlie Brown.
“Chorale Tour is definitely the most impactful because you get the opportunity to minister to churches, other believers, and whoever comes to concerts, since they are not all believers. And you get to stay in hosts’ homes, which are normally people from the church we will perform at,” Thompson said.
Part of the Chorale’s performance includes testimonies and sharing the gospel, which is why Thompson and others believe Chorael and the tour is important to have at Bryan.
Among the several professors who have kept in touch with Thompson throughout her time at Bryan and have made an impact on her life is Dr. Whit Jones. Before her recital, he introduced Thompson by reading her biography and praying for her.
“I have literally had only one class with him, which was Intro to Literature freshman year, and he still kept in touch. When I see him, we talk. He has always been so encouraging and a great friend and has wonderful advice,” Thompson said.
After she graduates Bryan College this May, Thompson plans on pursuing a masters degree to become a professional accompanist.
“I love the supportive role of coming alongside other musicians and working with other musicians and the community aspect of that. And just being able to say we are going to make music together that neither of us could do alone,” Thompson said.
Isabelle Hendrich is a senior communication major and history minor at Bryan College. Besides running, Hendrich likes to read and do crafts. She is a triplet whose siblings, Benjamin and Savannah, are also attending Bryan College.