Elizabeth Gibson, a Reinhardt College sophomore from Tate, Ga., has written the music and lyrics for two gospel songs that have been published by Gospel Heritage Music (GHM). Her song "Talk" was published in the songbook Freedom, and her song "Just Rely on God" will be published this month in the songbook Journey.
Gibson takes inspiration from her life when writing songs.
"For 'Just Rely on God,' I got inspired by my life experiences," she reveals. "Relying on God has helped me through balancing two majors at Reinhardt -- sacred music and biology, working at Tate United Methodist Church as a pianist and part-time organist, and spending time with family and friends.
Music has always played a major part in Gibson's life, as it was introduced to her at an early age.
"My dad is the one that got me started in music," she explains. "At 3 years old, he let me bang on the piano while he played the guitar. He started teaching me how to read music when I was 6."
When she attended the North Georgia School of Gospel Music, housed at Truett-McConnell College, Gibson developed skills in writing her own music. During her three years at the school, she took songwriting classes, and the teacher of the class, a founder of GHM, discovered her strong writing abilities. He encouraged Gibson to present songs to him that he could take before the review board at GHM. "Talk" was her first song to be selected for publication.
Gibson credits the late Judith MacMillan, a Reinhardt professor of music for almost 33 years, as a mentor in musical performance and writing.
"She was always a positive influence," says Gibson. "She was a church musician, so when I took organ from her, she always tried to show me the 'church' way of playing"
Along with MacMillan, Gibson has received encouragement from Susan Naylor, Reinhardt associate professor of music. She took piano lessons with Naylor a year before starting school at Reinhardt, and she has continued to turn to Naylor for help in all things musical.
The music professors are just one of the many reasons that Gibson decided on Reinhardt for her college experience.
"I looked at several colleges, but everyone here was just so nice," she explains. "The campus tour gave me a true sense of what people at Reinhardt are like, friendly and caring, and devoted to making your experience a memorable one."
Where does she hope that her talents will take her? Gibson plans on being a full-time director of music or musician at a church, as well as teaching chemistry in a local high school. Until then, Gibson says she will continue to write music and serve as Reinhardt's Campus Ministry intern and Chapel piano player.
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