5/24/2011 - Judson College Music Professor's Influence Spans Two Generations
Judson College Music Professor's Influence Spans Two Generations
Two Judson College music students had starring roles in the college's recent "Hansel and Gretel" musical. Both are students of vocal professor Dr. Betty Campbell, and both of their mothers were Campbell's students 25 years ago.
Senior Laura Noble of Huntsville played the role of Hansel in the opera written by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1893. She is a 2007 graduate of Grissom High School and will graduate from Judson in June with a history major and music minor.
"Dr. Betty [as she's affectionately known to her students] is a great teacher," Noble said. "I've gained a lot of confidence. She knows how to calm our nerves, get us to relax and to sing to the best of our ability."
Laura Noble's mother, Rose, graduated from Judson in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and a minor in religion. She's employed as a teller supervisor at Branching Banking and Trust in Huntsville, and continues to play piano, sing and write music.
"I had a modest background in music and I had no confidence when I came to Judson," she said. "Dr. Betty and her late husband, Bracey, taught me to see that proper confidence is the biggest advantage a musician can have. They not only expressed confidence in me but taught me how to begin having confidence in myself."
As a student, Rose Noble worked as music assistant for the Campbells for three years, pulling and sorting music and organizing arrangements for performances.
"I'll be forever grateful for both Campbells for their influence, guidance, support, leadership and friendship," she said.
Judson senior Sarah Jean Watters is a 2007 graduate of Morgan Academy in Selma. She is double-majoring in music and psychology and plans to go to graduate school to study educational psychology.
"Dr. Betty makes learning and performing fun," Watters said. "She knows how to lower the nervous anxiety we feel in preparing for performances, and she's taken me to a level of performance I didn't think I could reach."
Beth Watters, Sarah Jean's mother, graduated from Judson in 1981. She is a music teacher in the Selma City School system and has been music minister at the Pine Flat Baptist Church in Suttle for more than 25 years.
"Dr. Betty is superlative in every way," she said. "It was fun to be in the choir and she helped make us better singers and better people."
Campbell noted the similarities in the elder Noble and Watters when they were her students 25 years ago.
"Both Rose and Beth were altos and both were in the hand bell choir, too," she said. "Rose went with us when we made our first trip to England, Scotland and Wales to sing. Beth planned to go and she participated in all the fund-raising activities we did, but she withdrew at the last minute to allow her sister to attend instead."
Campbell grew up as Betty Smith in Laurel, Miss.-the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister. After high school, she earned degrees from Louisiana State University, Northwestern University and Columbia University.
It was at LSU that she discovered voice as her major focus in teaching.
She and her husband, Bracey, moved to Marion in 1976 to teach music and work with the college choir. Dr. Bracey Campbell directed "The Judson Singers" until his death in 1989, and then Dr. Betty Campbell took the helm.
Campbell gave up directorship of "The Judson Singers" in 2000, but remains active teaching voice at the college and traveling with the choir whenever she can.
"It's satisfying to look back at my career and see the wonderful students I've had," she said.
"These four are among the best."