Judson dedicates Betty Smith Campbell Vocal Studio
On November 28, 2016, Judson College faculty, administrators, students, and alumnae representatives dedicated the Betty Smith Campbell Voice Studio in Marian Acree Tucker Hall in honor of beloved voice instructor Dr. Betty Smith Campbell.
The ceremony included remarks by Dr. Cindy St. Clair, Head of the Department of Music, student Kaitlyn Garrison, and alumnae representative Dr. Claire Kinnard Keel. Under direction of Dr. Camilla Horne, the Judson Singers performed two choral pieces for the occasion: “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and the hymn “Come Ye Disconsolate”.
St. Clair spoke of the “observations” she’d made in her year of knowing “Dr. Betty,” as Campbell is affectionately known. “Should I mention her exquisite taste and sense of style…or her mischievous behavior that keeps us laughing and on our toes?” St. Clair asked, to murmurs of affirmation from the crowd gathered in the Marian Acree Tucker Gallery space.
Though acknowledging the evening’s purpose to honor Campbell’s contributions as a voice instructor, St. Clair lauded Campbell’s “phenomenal” skill as a pianist. Piano performance had been Campbell’s intended major in college at Louisiana State University until she discovered her love of vocal performance in an elective course.
St. Clair also mentioned Campbell’s post-doctoral experience studying in Paris at Ecole d’Art Americaines, Palais de Fountainbleau under such pedagogues as Nadia Boulanger, French composer, conductor, and teacher noted for producing many of the “finest American composers and musicians in the twentieth century”.
Likening Campbell to Boulanger in her way of finding and drawing out what was unique in each of her students, St. Clair thanked Campbell for the ways she had “poured [her] life into [her] students.” Addressing Campbell, St. Clair continued, “With humility and grace, you have taught us much about loving and caring for our students and embracing what makes each of them unique.”
Kaitlyn Garrison, student president of Judson’s Delta Psi chapter of the Delta Omicron international music fraternity, mentioned the many ways Campbell had promoted the scholarship of her students as advisor of Judson’s Delta Omicron chapter. Garrison spoke of Campbell’s “amazing legacy” and “lasting contributions” to students and the Marion area
through Delta Omicron concerts, conference attendances, and community engagement for many decades. “Without Dr. Betty’s leadership, the Judson chapter of Delta Omicron and music majors and minors like me would not have the enriching experiences of being in this fraternity,” said Garrison.
Dr. Claire Kinnard Keel, Judson College class of ‘81 was a music (piano) major who took voice for a semester at Judson with Campbell at the directive of the late Dr. Bracey Campbell, at the time Head of the Department of Music, to gain exposure to a different musical discipline.
She described Dr. Betty’s “merciful” teaching and mentorship as Keel “survived” that semester, but said that she only realized later what a “privilege” she had enjoyed in studying voice with such an “inspirational and phenomenal voice instructor”. In June of this year, Kinnard began taking voice lessons again with Campbell, and she remarked that upon her first lesson, she realized that “not only is [Dr. Betty] an expert in teaching vocal technique, but also she exudes and inspires the beauty and love of singing.” Turning toward the studio’s open door, Kinnard said, “My prayer is that all who enter this studio will exit with the joy of singing in their hearts.”
David Potts, Judson College President, called Campbell a “rock that has anchored the College and her music program.” Citing her contribution to “expand the horizons” of her students through excellence in teaching and mentoring, arranging opportunities for international choral tours, and her roles in acquiring high-class instruments and physical resources for music students, Potts said, “In [Campbell] we have a person who has cared deeply for her students in the classroom and this studio.”
Potts iterated Campbell’s “extraordinary academic credentials” and mentioned the contributions she made in the roles she has played in the Judson Music department throughout her 40-year tenure, including as director of the Judson Singers from 1989-2000 and as voice instructor for the past 16 years. Campbell was named Distinguished Professor of Music in 2015.
“We enjoy music in so many ways at this College because of the influence of Dr. Betty Campbell,” said Potts.
Potts and Keel unveiled a plaque which will hang in the Betty Smith Campbell Voice Studio. The plaque reads:
In deep appreciation of her steadfast commitment and loyal support of Judson College; Devoting her life to educating students, not only through her musical ability but also by serving as a role model, guide, and mentor to those around her;
To one of the greatest and most beloved educators;
The vocal studio is dedicated in honor of Dr. Betty Smith Campbell, “The Queen”.
Given by alumnae students, community and friends of “Dr. B.”
Campbell responded, “My heart is overwhelmed and overflowing with this honor that has come my way.” In true Dr. Betty fashion, she extended an invitation to “always come to me..for anything I can do to serve you or to help you in any way that I can. I will be deeply grateful.”
She expressed thanks to Potts, whom she named as one of her Judson “sons”, and the “College administration who have been so supportive of this Music Department”, calling the partnership “rare” and “surprising”.
“It’s been a joy,” Campbell continued. “Thank you for letting me be a part of Judson.”