Ray and I had three opportunities to be with people we love this past weekend. We got home last night happy we had decided to do all three. Opportunity One was “Copland to Cash: An American Rhapsody,” performed by ten- to twenty-year-olds who had just spent ten days at the Fine Arts Summer Academy (FASA) at Lipscomb University in Nashville.
My friend Tabitha has told me several times about the wonderful experience her homeschooled daughters have at the camp each July. When she sent me the date for this year’s closing concert, Ray and I got tickets. We were so impressed with the performance that we want to make this an annual event in our lives, even in years when we don’t know any of the performers personally.
On the second day of camp, campers received their scores for the closing concert. For ten days, they worked together while the camp faculty trained them to become the Summer Pops Young Artists Symphony and Chorus.
Last Thursday night, ninety-two string musicians, plus nine musicians playing woodwinds, fourteen playing brass instruments, six playing percussion, and a chorus of fifty-seven filled the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House and joined with the Annie Moses Band to give a performance that almost took our breath away.
We audience members were treated to a history of American music in the twentieth century. Ray and I were, as we say “gobsmacked,” from the first moment as we watched the historic Grand Ole Opry stage come to life with well-trained performers, beautiful musical arrangements, and beautiful costumes.
Every song was a delight, all sixty-one of them. These young people, including many who were homeschooled, entertained us from 7:30 p.m. until 10:20 with one brief intermission.
The Annie Moses Band founded the Fine Arts Summer Academy. Its members serve as its hosts each year. The band works to inspire and train “young artists to excel for the glory of God.” They certainly did that this year.
The story behind the Annie Moses Band is also an inspiring one. The hearts of three homeschooled siblings, Annie, Alex, and Benjamin Wolaver, conceived the idea of the band while they were students at The Juilliard School in New York City. Their parents, Bill and Robin Wolaver, as well as their three younger siblings, Camille, Gretchen, and Jeremiah, who are also musicians, moved from their home near Nashville to a home near New York City while Annie, Alex, and Benjamin studied at Juilliard. Today the family is again based in the Nashville area and the entire family has become part of the band.
The band is named for Robin Wolaver’s grandmother, Annie Moses, for whom the eldest child Annie was named. The Wolaver family’s love of music was inspired by Annie Moses, a hired field worker in Texas cotton patches, who worked hard to nurture the musical talents of her own daughter Jane who became the mother of Robin.
Robin Wolaver is an award-winning songwriter. She was the creative director and producer for “Copland to Cash: A Musical Rhapsody.” Bill Wolaver is a pianist, songwriter, composer, and arranger. He arranged the music for the three-hour concert, which included classical, Broadway, jazz, country, pop, rock, and Motown songs. It was a special treat to have the opportunity to watch the symphony perform his arrangements of songs from movies such as “Star Wars” and “Toy Story,” and from television shows as diverse as “The Flintstones,” “Andy Griffith,” and “Little House on the Prairie.”
Hired field hand Annie Moses inspired her granddaughter Robin, who has continued to inspire her children and now hundreds of other children. She and her family are working to transform the arts of the 21st century. Look at what God did with the seed Annie Moses planted in her daughter’s heart. God will be faithful with the seeds you plant today.
Other seeds fell into the good soil,
and as they grew up and increased,
they yielded a crop and produced thirty,
sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:8, NASB