Enquirer Herald

Clover grad brings passion for music to South Africa

Glen Gerald Caldwell enjoyed playing saxophone in the Clover High School bands. His passion for music has since taken him across the globe.

Caldwell, a 1976 graduate of Clover High School, recently conducted a Gospel Goes Classical symphony performance in Johannesburg.

“I thought it was a great opportunity,” said Caldwell, who has worked with the Gospel Goes Classical organization for several years, both as an arranger and more recently as a conductor and principal orchestrator.

“This was our first offer to go overseas and do a concert there,” said Caldwell, 57. “It was quite an experience.”

The Gospel Goes Classical organization uses a full orchestra of at least 60 people with a gospel choir, rhythm section and national or international featured artists, he said.

The South African performance at the 8,000-seat Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg North featured the 64-piece Johannesburg Music Initiative Orchestra and the Tshwane Gospel Choir.

“They sounded seasoned and fantastic,” Caldwell said of the choir, whose members range in age from the late teens to early 30s. Guitarist and singer Jonathan Butler was one of the show’s featured artists, and there were other performers from South Africa, he said.

Caldwell is a professor of music theory and composition at McDaniel College, a small private liberal arts school outside Baltimore.

He said the concert was brought to South Africa by promoters who had heard the organization’s recordings and DVDs.

He said he has done arranging and orchestra subcontractor work for artists including Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan. He also does musical arrangements for bands, “anyone who has an interest in my doing this kind of work.”

Caldwell earned his undergraduate degree in music education at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., and a master’s degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

He worked as a high school band director for two years at Mullins High School in Mullins before he earned a second master’s degree and a doctorate, both in music theory, from Ohio State University.