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BPC breaks ground for new Hildegard Stanley Music Center

Breaking ground on the Hildegard Stanley Music Center
Brewton-Parker College digs in to the construction of the new Hildegard Stanley Music Center Oct. 19 during the center’s groundbreaking ceremony, which honored Professor Stanley, former chair of the college’s Music Division for 35 years. Shown from left are Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College, Dr. Don Hattaway, chair of BPC’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Glenn Eernisse, chair of BPC’s Music Division; Stanley; Tim Lentile of Lentile Construction; Dr. Ron Melton, provost; Melanie Stokes, member of BPC’s Board of Trustees; and, Jackie White, president of BPC’s National Alumni Board. (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold)

By Kelley M. Arnold

BPC Director of News and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—More than 200 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Brewton-Parker College’s new Hildegard Stanley Music Center on the Mount Vernon campus Oct. 19. The large turnout can very well be attributed to the legacy of the new building’s namesake, and former Brewton-Parker College music professor – Miss Hildegard “Hiddie” Stanley.

Miss Stanley’s influence has long been a cornerstone of Brewton-Parker College’s music education offerings and is continuing to make strides in the college’s image, as she is currently serving as a part-time Consultant to the President for External Relations. Professor Stanley came to Brewton-Parker College in 1966, fresh from Pasadena, Texas, where she served as a public school music teacher. Her academic training included degrees from Georgia Southern University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oklahoma Baptist University. Her former student fan club spans the globe, and each year scores of her students return to campus to visit with her and make plans to have an unofficial “choir reunion” somewhere in Georgia.

Dr. David R. Smith
BPC President Dr. David Smith welcomes the gathered friends, family, former co-workers and fans of Miss Hildegard Stanley at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Hildegard Stanley Music Center on the Mount Vernon campus Oct. 19. (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold)

Professor Stanley took her renowned choirs to places such as Ludowici, Savannah, Germany, Greece, Jordan, and directed their performances at three Southern Baptist Conventions. She served as chairperson of the college’s Division of Music for 35 years, until her retirement in 2001. She is also a past president of the Georgia Baptist Church Music Conference and has also served as an officer of the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference.

The college and its community are fortunate to have the talents and dedication of such an indomitable lady, and this sentiment was evident in the enthusiasm of many speakers throughout Thursday’s ceremony.

“It is with the Lord’s grace and the beneficence of many friends and former students of Miss Hildegard Stanley that we are able to begin this project today,” said Dr. David R. Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College.

Brewton-Parker College Trustee Melanie Stokes, daughter of former BPC president, the late Starr Miller, was emotional as she honored “Hiddie,” as all who meet Professor Stanley eventually call her by. Stokes praised the building’s construction saying, “If Starr Miller was here today, he would have approved. He would approve because we are here for a good purpose, and those who knew him know how he loved the word ‘purpose’.”

“We are here to honor this one whose name so appropriately fits a music center. One who has devoted her life to filling the earth with music. One who has devoted decades to contributing to Christian higher education, especially through Brewton-Parker College,” she said. “All of these are things of which Starr Miller did approve.”

“The Miller family is pleased to be connected to Hildegard Stanley in this way – in addition to all the other connections we’ve had through the decades. Representing the Miller family, and with Fred Gilder here representing the Gilder Recital Hall family, we say, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood, Hiddie!’”

BPC Junior Douglas Pittman, who is studying music education and vocal performance, spoke abou how the music division’s faculty and staff “becomes family” to the many students who walk through the Miller Music Building’s doors over the years. This camaraderie and sense of family is a significant part of Professor Stanley’s legacy.

Doug Pittman
BPC Junior Doug Pittman, who is studying music education and vocal performance, encouraged current and future music students to “fill” the new Hildegard Stanley Music Center with music, laughter and love. (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold)

"If you were to walk the halls of our current building, you would see the close relationship of the entire division. It would seem that the Miller Music Building has become not only a place for higher learning of music, but also a home. Just like a proud parent displays pictures of their children, pictures of the past and present students hang from the walls here,” Pittman said. “The new Hildegard Stanley Music Center isn’t just the expansion of a building on campus; it is the expansion of a home.”

Pittman challenged current and future music students and faculty to “fill” the new Hildegard Stanley Music Center “with music… with laughter, and love. Fill it with learning and fill it with memories. Be grateful for what God has so graciously blessed us with.”

The $1.1 million music center, an annex to the Miller Music Building, will update the college’s Music Division with a music technology lab and dedicated storage space while offering the popular division more classrooms and instrumental rehearsal rooms, as well as space for a future recording studio.

“Right now we only have two classrooms to hold rehearsals in,” said Dr. Glenn Eernisse, chair of the Music Division. “We have classes meeting in professors’ offices and all ensembles must meet in the recital hall for rehearsals. These needs are a sign of a healthy, growing program. Today we bring these together – a fitting acknowledgement of the contributions of a person who means so much not only to this institution but to so many people, and a building that will meet many present and future needs of the program that meant so much to her. This building will be a permanent reminder of her legacy. What a wonderful tribute.”

Speaking on behalf of the city of Mount Vernon, Mayor Joey Fountain welcomed the new center to the campus, saying its construction “is good for Mount Vernon and this entire community.”

Miss Hildegard Stanley, left, and Ann Turner, center
Miss Hildegard Stanley, left, greets friends and former students at the Oct. 19 groundbreaking ceremony of Brewton-Parker College’s new music center named in her honor. Shown congratulating Stanley is Ann C. Turner, center, director of the Fountain-New Library and college archivist. (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold)



Brewton-Parker College News & Information
Brewton-Parker College | Located on U.S. 280 at 201 David-Eliza Fountain Circle, P. O. Box 197, Mount Vernon, GA 30445
with a site in Newnan
912-583-2241, 1-800-342-1087
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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM