Dr. Charles Gildersleeve Vardell Jr. was born on this day in 1893, in Salisbury, to Dr. Charles G. and Linda Rumple Vardell Sr.
His early musical education came from his mother, and he continued his musical studies at Princeton University. He was a student organist there for three years, prior to his graduation in 1914. He also studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York City and earned graduate artists’ and teachers’ diplomas from that institution in 1915.
He completed requirements for master’s and doctor’s degrees at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
He married Eleanor Ferrill in 1920.
Dr. Vardell served as dean of the Flora Macdonald Conservatory before coming to Salem College, where he taught music beginning in 1923. He was dean of the Salem College School of Music from 1928 to 1951, and was acting president of the college during the absence of the president Bishop Howard Rondthaler.
He left Salem in 1951 to become dean of the Conservatory of Music at Flora Macdonald College at Red Springs, and became acting president in 1960. When Flora Macdonald College merged with Presbyterian Junior College, and became St. Andrews Presbyterian College, he moved to the new Laurinburg campus and was dean of its conservatory of music.
He wrote many musical compositions while he was at Salem, including his best known symphony, “Carolinian,” which was based on folk songs of the Appalachian Mountains.
Dr. Vardell passed away in 1962.
Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.