The John Hamm Performing Arts Seroes at Covenant College

John Hamm Performing Arts Series

The John Hamm Performing Arts Series brings world-renowned musical artists to Covenant’s campus to offer recitals and educational opportunities that serve students as well as the surrounding Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain communities.


Through the performing arts series, each featured artist offers a recital on campus as well as master classes and opportunities for one-on-one voice lessons or coaching in specific repertoire. The recitals and master classes are free and open to the public, thanks to the partnership of generous donors.


The series is named after former Covenant professor Dr. John Hamm and is coordinated by David Tahere, assistant professor of music. Hamm served in the music department at Covenant for more than thirty years. During his tenure at Covenant, Hamm was known for his investment in the Chattanooga music community. In 1985, he founded Choral Arts of Chattanooga, which still provides the city with choral music, thirty years later.


The performing arts series seeks to carry on Hamm’s legacy of engaging with and giving back to the local music community. Recital tickets are available, free of charge, by completing this ticket request form, by emailing, or by calling 706.419.1459.


The John Hamm Performing Arts Series 2017-2018 Season


Alex McDonald

Alex McDonald, piano
October 10, 2017, 7:00 pm


Pianist, teacher and scholar, Alex McDonald has quickly become a well-known name in performance both nationally and abroad. Since his orchestral debut at age 11, Alex has been featured with several major symphonies including the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has been featured on PBS, WRR, NPR, and WQXR and has received countless awards for his performances. As a passionate chamber musician, McDonald is now the Festival Director for the chamber music summer series Basically Beethoven in Dallas, TX; his recent program "Music for Animals" was hailed by Theater Jones as one of its "Concerts of the Year" for 2016.

He brings to each performance a passion for wholistic education and instruction, providing a basis for informed practice and thorough knowledge of the story behind each note performed. He has taught at Texas Woman’s University, Richland College as well as at the Juilliard School, where he also was a Teaching Fellow for both the Literature and Materials and Piano Minor departments. Texas Music Teacher’s Association recently awarded him the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award in teaching. He is a masterful musician devoted to the well-rounded formation of students as he continues to serve both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.


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Bryan Anderson

Bryan Anderson, organ
November 7, 2017, 7:00 pm


Named this year as one of The Diapason's "20 under 30," Bryan Anderson is a rising artist in the field of organ and keyboard. Bryan completed undergraduate degrees in organ and harpsichord at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and is currently working toward a master’s degree at Rice University under Ken Cowan. He is a devoted performer, appearing at venues including the Kennedy Center, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Woolsey Hall at Yale, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Princeton University Chapel, and Spivey Hall. He has been featured in performance at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society Additionally, Bryan is an accomplished continuo artist and collaborative pianist. In the field of historical performance, he has worked with Trevor Pinnock, Julianne Baird, Geoffrey Burgess, and Jeffrey Thomas, among others.

Bryan has served as organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, as well serving as an assistant organist of the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Macy's department store for several years. From 2015-2016, Bryan held the post of Organ Scholar at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England. He is now engaged as associate organist at St. Paul’s UMC in Houston, TX, and makes frequent appearances with local ensembles including the Houston Children's Chorus and Houston Masterworks Chorus.


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Katherine Jolly
Emily Yap Chua

Katherine Jolly, soprano

Emily Yap Chua, piano

January 25, 2018, 7:00 pm


Katherine Jolly

Katherine Jolly has brought her bright and fresh soprano voice to the operatic stage with leading roles at Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Amarillo Opera, Piedmont Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland and others. As a concert artist, she was recently featured as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Evansville Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, and Phoenix Symphony. She was also featured Brundibar with the Phoenix Symphony, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Carmina Burana with Northwest Florida Symphony, and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Sacramento Choral Arts Society. In 2012, she returned as the soprano soloist in the Fauré Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

She debuted with the Houston Grand Opera in 2012, performing as part of their East/ West Chamber Opera series and with Virginia Opera as Yum-Yum in The Mikado. She was a grand finalist in the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition, and in 2010, returned to the Met to workshop An Enchanted Island. She has been given many awards and grants to showcase her talent as an active performance and pedagogue. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.


Emily Yap Chua

Pianist Emily Yap Chua made her international solo debut at The Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, where she was described by local writers as “remarkably passionate, vividly enchanting, vibrant and graceful,” and praised for “tonal beauty and clarity”. As an active soloist and chamber musician, her collaborations include performances with musicians of orchestras and institutions around the world, including recitals with members of the Cincinnati, San Francisco, Detroit, Nashville, Charlotte, and Virginia Symphony Orchestras. Her CD recording of the piano works of composer Kent Holliday, a project in collaboration with pianist Nicholas Ross, was released by Centaur Records in 2009. Upcoming appearances include recitals in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and New York.

Dr. Chua holds a Bachelor of Arts in music with minors in mathematics and dance from Florida State University and both a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the College–Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. Dr. Chua is Department Chair and Professor of Music at Randolph College, where she has taught since 2002.


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Lysander Piano Trio

Lysander Piano Trio

Itamar Zorman, violin

Liza Stepanova, piano

Michael Katz, cello

February 22, 2018, 7:00 pm


A winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, The Lysander Piano Trio has been praised by the Strad for its “incredible ensemble, passionate playing, articulate and imaginative ideas and wide palette of colours.” These qualities have made the Trio a standout at other competitions and in most every critic’s review of their playing! Comprised of pianist Liza Stepanova, violinist Itamar Zorman, and cellist Michael Katz, the Trio is proactive in commissioning new works and creating programs that mix the music of today with well-loved masterworks.

They have performed in major venues throughout the United States and abroad, including Spivey, Alice Tully, and Carnegie Halls, and the Kennedy Center. Sought after solo and collaborative musicians in their own right, the Trio recently made its concerto debut, performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. The Trio has had an auspicious career since it began in 2009, being selected to represent The Juilliard School at a special concert in Mexico City. The Lysander Piano Trio appears courtesy of Concert Artists Guild.


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Didge Evolution

Didge Evolution

Rob Thomas and Tanya Gerard, didgeridoo

March 20, 2018, 7:00 pm


Didge Evolution is a musical project created by master didgeridoo players Rob Thomas and Tanya Gerard. Didge Evolution takes the audience on a musical journey to the Australian Outback, coastal rainforests and beyond. The didgeridoo, usually a hollow tree trunk, has been played by Aboriginal people for at least 1,500 years and is known for its otherworldly sound. Didge Evolution plays a modern style, mixing fast-paced rhythms with relaxing soundscapes and organic sound effects. Rob & Tanya use a dazzling multimedia display to enhance the experience.

Rob & Tanya are true didgeridoo pioneers in the United States, having played and made didges for more than 20 years. They’ve performed throughout the country, recorded several CDs, and have produced music for numerous films including the IMAX movie Sacred Planet. They are founding members of the legendary tribal-trance project “Inlakesh", and their breakthrough album The Gathering inspired a generation of didgeridoo enthusiasts. They are active performers in theaters, festivals, colleges and K-12 schools throughout the United States and have pioneered a program for K-12 entitled Didgeridoo Down Under, integratrating high-energy music with cross-curricular teaching, comedy, character building, anti-bullying, environmentalism and audience participation. They encourage young people to learn to play didges as part of their outreach.


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Tickets are free but must be reserved via phone at 706.419.1459, email, or visiting this link. Information on the public masterclasses will be announced prior to each event.

Music Competition

Prof. David Tahere and six Covenant music students successfully competed at the Southeastern Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing 2016 auditions, advancing to semifinal and final rounds of competition.
Chorale Conductor Dr. Scott Finch led current and former chorale members in "All for Jesus," as a tribute to Dr. John Hamm's investment in the Covenant College music department.