Lipscomb University’s annual “Evening of Excellence” will honor three individuals with the presentation of the prestigious Avalon Awards for Creative Excellence at a dinner set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 in Allen Arena on the Lipscomb campus.
Musician Dale Clevenger, writer and editor Bret Lott and singer and songleader Ray Walker will be honored during the event.
Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since February 1966, Dale Clevenger is a versatile musician. In addition to his work with the Chicago Symphony, he is involved in chamber music, jazz, commercial recordings and solos. Prior to coming to Chicago, Clevenger was a member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air directed by Alfred Wallenstein, and was principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic.
Clevenger has appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and has participated in numerous music festivals. He has also worked with the European Community Youth Orchestra and has participated in seven International Horn Society Workshops. In addition, he is the featured soloist on several Chicago Symphony Orchestra recordings. When not performing, Clevenger is on the faculty at Roosevelt University where he is professor of horn.
Writing and editing has been the emphasis of Bret Lott’s career. His first novel, Jewell, published in 1991, is the story of a family raising a Down’s Syndrome child. In 1999, Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club. This work was followed by three novels, two collections of short stories, a book of personal essays, another novel and numerous publications in anthologies and periodicals. Known as a writer whose work is permeated by his faith, one of his latest works of fiction, A Song I Knew By Heart, is a contemporary recounting of the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. It has been chosen by Thomas Nelson as a Women of Faith selection. In July, he released a new collection of short stories, The Difference Between Men and Women. In addition to writing, Lott has taught creative writing at the College of Charleston nearly twenty years. In 2003, he moved to Baton Rouge, La., where he was named editor of the prestigious Southern Review.
Singing has played a very important role in Ray Walker’s life. Walker (’57) came to Lipscomb from Jacksonville, Fla., and soon became the bass singer in a school quartet. Upon graduation, Walker began a career in education. But, a business call to his alma mater would change his life. With that call Walker’s Lipscomb choral director put him in touch with the
Jordanaires, the back-up group for a young singer named Elvis Presley. He soon auditioned for the group and was added as a member on June 1, 1958 (after completing his school year of teaching).
Walker embarked on a career backing up the “King of Rock-n-Roll. As a member of the Jordanaires, Walker performed throughout the world. Throughout his career, Walker has been involved in numerous musical events, youth rallies and appearances of his own. He also served as songleader at Madison (Tenn.) Church of Christ from 1972-78.
Tickets for the dinner are $50 and may be purchased by calling 615.279.6609 or 800.333.4358, ext. 6609.
Patrons may also join the Friends of Avalon, a society that supports the Avalon Awards for Creative Excellence program. Individuals may join for an annual donation of $150. Friends of Avalon membership includes a ticket to the dinner and other special recognition. For more information about becoming a Friend of Avalon, call the numbers listed above.
Since the Avalon Awards were established in 1995, 25 previous recipients have been honored. Last year’s recipients included singer/songwriter Amy Grant, Jerry Henderson and Sylvia Hyman.