Mid-Day Noels

Westminster Presbyterian Church presents Mid-Day Noels – a “Christmas Present” from Westminster to Nacogdoches. Join us for a short concert of seasonal selections in the Sanctuary.

FREE Admission.

December 5, 12:15-12:45 PM
SFA Stone Fort Wind Quintet
Christina Guenther, flute
Abby Held, oboe
Christopher Ayer, clarinet
Lee Goodhew, bassoon
Charles Gavin, horn

December 12, 12:15-12:45 PM
SFA Chamber Singers
Michael Murphy, director
Davidson Reyes, piano

December 19, 12:15-12:45 PM
Belinda Bronaugh Teer, soprano
Shirley Watterston, piano

Following the concert, lunch is served in Westminster Hall for a suggested donation of $7 per person. Lunches are prepared by Presbyterian Women.

Finding 30 minutes to spare in the middle of a December day rushed by the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, may sound like a challenge, but for Nacogdoches visitors, the reward can be a concise, intimate and free musical concert featuring world-class musicians. Westminster Presbyterian Church welcomes the community to celebrate the season with brief and uplifting “Mid-Day Noels.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary season of Mid-Day Noels and the concert series begins Thurs., Dec. 5 at 12:15 p.m. with the SFA Stone Fort Wind Quintet comprised of accomplished performers Christina Guenther, flute; Abby Held, oboe; Christopher Ayer, clarinet; Lee Goodhew, bassoon and Charles Gavin, horn.

Flutist Dr. Christina Guenther joined the SFA School of Music faculty in 2005. She performs actively in the greater East Texas area, throughout the United States, and has also performed in Central and South America. Guenther is a founding member of the Gemini Flute Duo and the Silver Keys Trio and was principal flute of the former regional Orchestra of the Pines (2005-2008). She has performed/presented at the festivals/conferences of the National Flute Association, the Florida Flute Association, the Mid-South Flute Society, the Society of Composers, Inc., the Classical Music Society, the Texas Music Educators Association, and at the Flute Society of Kentucky as winner of the Young Artist and Concerto Competitions. Guenther plays regularly with the Shreveport (LA), Longview (TX), Marshall (TX), and Texarkana (AR) Symphony Orchestras. In the summers, she teaches at Creative Flutist Masterclasses Summer Music Camp in Austin, Texas. Her talented students have been winners in regional competitions, have been accepted into advanced degree music programs, and have gone on to successful music careers in education and arts administration upon graduating from SFA. Guenther is published in Flute Talk magazine.  Guenther holds degrees from Florida State University (D.M., M.M.) and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (B.M.).

Dr. Abby Yeakle Held has served as Adjunct Professor of Oboe at SFA since 2018. She is Associate Principal Oboe of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony, Wyoming Symphony, Lafayette Symphony, the Castleton Festival Orchestra under the baton of the late Maestro Lorin Maazel, and at Red Rocks outdoor amphitheater with DeVotchKa. International performances in Austria and Belgium include a recital at the United States Embassy in Vienna, Austria. Recognized as both a Fulbright Scholar and a recipient of the Presser Foundation Award, Held is distinguished in her field as an academic. She has published articles in English and German in various journal publications. Her Fulbright research surrounded the Viennese oboe: its history, tradition, current status, and cross-application to the modern French conservatory oboe. Held is the first to conduct and publish research of this kind and is the foremost scholar on the topic outside of the instrument’s native community. She regularly tours a lecture-recital on this research to major universities across the country as a special guest artist. Held is in high demand for oboe master classes and clinics in the greater Houston area and across the state of Texas. Prior to her appointment at Stephen F. Austin, she maintained a thriving private studio in Houston of 30+ students. There, she also served as Adjunct Professor of Music at Lone Star College where she taught general music coursework including American Music and Music Appreciation.

Christopher Ayer, a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, is Professor of Music at SFA where he coordinates undergraduate and graduate clarinet study. He has studied with Thomas Martin, Associate Principal Clarinetist with the Boston Symphony, and Ronald de Kant, former Principal Clarinetist of the Vancouver Symphony. Prior to his appointment at SFA, Ayer was the clarinet professor and orchestra conductor at Eastern New Mexico University. He holds graduate performance degrees in clarinet from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ayer is active as a recitalist, often performing with his wife, pianist Kae Hosoda-Ayer, as Duo Karudan. He has performed chamber recitals and presented master classes throughout the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia. Ayer is a Yamaha Performing Artist Clinician. He performed as principal clarinetist with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra in Louisiana and has presented lectures at conferences of the International Clarinet Association, the Midwest Clinic, Texas Music Educators Association, and the Texas Bandmasters Association.

Lee Goodhew is Associate Professor of Music at SFA, where she coordinates undergraduate and graduate bassoon study and teaches undergraduate music history. Her mentors include Rule Beasley, Wilfred Roberts, Edgar Kirk, and master reed maker, Louis Skinner. Goodhew has studied Baroque bassoon performance with Paul Carroll in London, Michael McCraw, Dominic Teresi and Anna Marsh. Formerly, Goodhew served on the faculties at Western Michigan University and most recently as Professor of Music at Ithaca College. She balances an active performance schedule in solo, chamber and orchestral venues and is highly sought after as a clinician and adjudicator. Goodhew delights in collaborations with living composers, many of which have resulted in several important premieres. She has been a featured performer and regular presenter at the conferences of the International Double Reed Society, The MidWest Clinic, New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), The National Flute Association, and Percussive Arts International Convention. Goodhew played with the faculty woodwind quintets of University of North Texas, Western Michigan University, Ithaca College and now at SFA. She has performed with the Shreveport, Syracuse and Dallas Symphonies, the Rochester Philharmonic, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and Dallas Ballet. As a baroque bassoonist, she has performed recitals, concerts and operas with groups including Les Petites Violons (Cornell University) and Ars Lyrica (Houston). A Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher since 2014, Goodhew has a special interest in Yoga for Musicians. She taught at Sunrise Yoga Center in Ithaca, NY and regularly presented at the Healthy Musician Workshop at Ithaca College. She is a member of the International Double Reed Society, Texas Music Educators Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, American Federation of Musicians​ and Sigma Alpha Iota.

Charles Gavin, Professor of Music, joined the faculty of the SFA School of Music in 1985. Prior to moving to Texas, he taught at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was principal horn with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Associate Principal of the Quad Cities Symphony. Gavin’s students have been noted for their success as performers and teachers. Most notable in the field of music education, four of his former students have had their bands named Honor Bands in the state of Texas. He maintains an active performing schedule and is principal horn with the Orchestra of the Pines. Gavin performs regularly with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and the Longview Symphony. He is also a member of the Pineywoods Brass Quintet. Gavin has been a soloist at the International Horn Symposium and regularly performs at regional horn workshops. He has also presented clinics on horn pedagogy and performance at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the Texas Bandmaster’s Association, The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Mississippi Music Teachers Association, and at regional horn workshops. Gavin served as the horn clinician for the I Compete in Texas on-line video lecture series.  He served two terms as the Editor/Coordinator of the International Horn Society Manuscript Press and is past Texas Area Coordinator for the IHS. Articles and reviews by Gavin have been published in the Horn Call (Journal of the International Horn Society) and the Journal of the National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors. Gavin is a member of the International Horn Society, Texas Music Educators Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Music Teachers National Association.

The SFA Chamber Singers will perform Thurs., Dec. 12 at 12:15 p.m. under the direction of Dr. Michael Murphy. The SFA Chamber Singers is a highly select chamber ensemble comprised of graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from the SFA A Cappella Choir. Murphy is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at SFA where he conducts choral ensembles, teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting, choral literature, choral techniques, and administers the masters in choral conducting program. Murphy serves as an active adjudicator and clinician for workshops, festivals, honor choirs, and clinics and his international conducting experiences include Austria, China, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Germany. In 2016, he was awarded the Confucius Institute Understanding China Fellowship and served as Visiting Scholar to Sun Yat-sen University, South China University of Technology, and Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies. Murphy received degrees in Conducting and Choral Music Education from Florida State University and East Carolina University and has held several state and national leadership positions in professional organizations.

Soprano Belinda Bronaugh Teer and accompanist Shirley Watterston will close out the 25th season with a performance on Thurs., Dec. 19 at 12:15 p.m.

Organizer and Music Director Dr. Deborah Dalton calls the free Mid-Day Noel concerts a “Christmas Present” from Westminster to Nacogdoches.