Gager Concert Series

The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series features classical music from around the world performed by Sweet Briar College faculty and students, as well as guest artists. The Series aims to engage the Sweet Briar community in celebrating the musical excellence of women and members of historically underrepresented groups.

The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series is made possible by the support of the late Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations.

Alma Ensemble is a classical chamber ensemble that focuses on performing and commissioning works by female composers. Founded by flutist Sarah Wardle Jones, clarinetist Michelle Smith Johnson, and pianist Erica Sipes, Alma Ensemble is dedicated to championing women in music, connecting with audiences, and promoting music education. Born from a desire of the founding members to create music that is empowering and personally resonant, Alma Ensemble regularly performs chamber music by women composers while exploring performance practices outside the traditional classical paradigm. As part of their mission, Alma Ensemble also actively commissions and programs new works by women composers.

All performances in the Gager Concert Series are FREE and open to the public. Just check in at the guard gate and let them know you are here for this event. SBC also offers campuswide FREE parking. 

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The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series is made possible by the support of the late Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. The series features classical music from around the world performed by Sweet Briar College faculty and students, as well as guest artists.

This event is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kay Rooney is a professional violinist whose experience includes performing with several orchestras and ensembles in the most prestigious and historical venues of the world, such as Carnegie Hall in NYC, Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston, Teatro Amazonas in Brazil and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing music from the baroque period to contemporary music with ensembles, singers, and orchestras.

Her musical collaborations include working with intimate chamber ensembles, such as ME2/strings, which advocates for mental health in sharing music, the newly established Roanoke Baroque and Boston Festival Orchestra, to larger symphony orchestras such as the Roanoke and Lynchburg Symphony Orchestras, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Work with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera and Boston University’s Marsh Chapel Collegium led to several recordings of her work. She also enjoyed collaborating with singers to perform with Odyssey Opera, Opera North, Opera Roanoke and Opera on the James.

Based in Lynchburg, Rooney is a member of the adjunct faculty at Sweet Briar College and Randolph College, where she teaches violin and viola. She also welcomes students of all ages into her own private studio. She holds a master’s degree in violin performance and a performance diploma from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. 

All performances in the Gager Concert Series are FREE and open to the public. Just check in at the guard gate and let them know you are here for this event. SBC also offers campuswide FREE parking. 

The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series is made possible by the support of the late Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. The series features classical music from around the world performed by Sweet Briar College faculty and students, as well as guest artists.