Maryville College’s Bicentennial celebration included numerous performances presented throughout the year. In addition to Bicentennial-themed concerts and theatre performances presented by the Maryville College Division of Fine Arts, the MC Concert Choir’s 2019 spring choir tour to South Carolina, Georgia and Florida featured favorite selections suggested by alumni, as well as an arrangement of a spiritual by Dr. Harry Harter, former MC choral director and division chair.
Three plays that explore the history of Maryville College and its surrounding community were performed at the Clayton Center for the Arts.
“Voices of the Valley: Black Voices of a Company Town Called Alcoa, Tennessee” was performed Feb. 2-3, 2019. Written by Joyce Williams Leo ’62, the one-act choral play with monologues is based on interviews gathered in in a joint effort by Shirley Carr Clowney '58, Alcoa historian, and Dr. Susan Ambler, MC professor emerita, who documented the lives of African-American men and their families who were recruited from the Deep South to work in the pot rooms of the Aluminum Company of America’s plant in Blount County. Larry Ervin ’97, director of the College’s director of Multicultural Affairs and Voices of Praise gospel choir, created a CD of original music for the play.
“Sturdy as a Rock: Our Bicentennial Story,” written and directed by Lenny Lively ’19 as part of his Senior Study, was performed March 30-31. The musical, inspired by the life of MC founder Isaac Anderson, tells the story of the College at its first campus, which was founded in 1819 as the Southern and Western Theological Seminary in what is now downtown Maryville. The music and lyrics were written by Lindsey Lively ’20.
“To Know You,” presented Nov. 1-2, was written and directed by Nashville playwright Mary Donnet Johnson, who wanted to answer the question “Who was Susan Wiley Walker?” The play about Walker (MC benefactor and architect/first resident of Morningside, which is now known as RT Lodge) featured several characters from Maryville College’s past. Dr. Carl Gombert, MC professor of art, created an original painting of Morningside, which was unveiled during the performance.