made great grades – all “As” last semester – and when she auditioned for the
music department, they recognized her impressive talent and asked her to join
the Wesleyan Singers, both as a singer and as a piano accompanist.
She’s performed on campus at events for the inauguration of
President Frederick G. Slabach and University College Day, to name two.
It’s been a good year, she says. Returning to school after
years of teaching private lessons has changed her life, and taken her places
she never thought she would go.
Like, for instance, China.
An Incredible Experience
Maples-Davis was one of 28
students and two professors who traveled to Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China,
with the Fort Worth Sister Cities delegation in mid-April. Mayor Li Zaiyong
personally invited the group after hearing them at the official Sister Cities
signing in Fort Worth.
The experience was unforgettable from the moment they
stepped off the plane in Guiyang, Maples-Davis says. “I felt excited for Texas
Wesleyan that we could be ambassadors,” Maples-Davis said.
Local press interviewed her. Dignitaries welcomed the group.
“It was incredible,” Maples-Davis said. “It was unreal.”
The choir performed twice. During the first performance, they
did the “Star-Spangled Banner,” in a unique arrangement created by Jerome
Bierschenk, professor of music.
“There were tears streaming down my face,” Maples-Davis
said. “I felt moved in a way I have never felt about our national anthem – I
felt such pride representing both America and Texas Wesleyan.”
At the evening citywide concert, the Guizhou University
Choir joined the choir to perform Dvorak’s “Going Home.” Once again,
Maples-Davis noticed tears in her eyes.
“To hear them sing in English,” Maples-Davis said. “It
really touched me. It felt like a true meeting of cultures.
“It’s a moment I will never forget. If I hadn’t come back
[to school], I wouldn’t have had this experience.”
A Bridge to All Cultures
Traveling abroad, and seeing the impact of music – a
language that bridges all cultures – was a learning experience that Maples-Davis
treasures. “It helps you acknowledge and understand the respect that all people
are due,” Maples-Davis said.
The students bought gifts for John Fisher, music department
chair, and Bierschenk, to commemorate the trip and the professors' impact on their lives.
Bierschenk’s gift was a wall hanging of the four seasons in China – a reference
to Vivaldi, of course.
“As a returning student, I know where my limits are and I am
excited to see those limits broken down,” Maples-Davis said. “In the first
year, I can already see how I’ve improved academically and musically.”
It’s safe to say the trip – and Texas Wesleyan, have made
quite an impact on Maples-Davis.
"I’m so impressed with the instructors here – I’ve become
the biggest advocate for Texas Wesleyan,” Maples-Davis said. “In the small
classes, you’re treated like a person – even my professors in my other classes
ask me about my performances.”