The recent release of a book on a 39-year-old Radford murder continues to draw attention to the case, and this week, a Radford native announced plans for a tribute song.
JC Covey was 14 years old at the time of the incident and remembers the search efforts for Hall, creating an emotional and personal connection to the former Radford University student.
“Mainly, I remember the search efforts and actually being on the lookout for Gina’s body, which may have been possibly buried near our own childhood stomping grounds, which included the New River area in West End Radford by my home on West Main Street not too far from the Steven Epperly home on Second Street,” he said.
Covey, who graduated from Radford High School in 1983, describes his genre as acoustic blues when his own style, called “strumcussion,” a term for a percussive rhythm and riff guitar sound that he has developed over the years. His musical career was influenced by his parents and goes deeper with his grandfather, who was a professional Old Time Bluegrass musician and band leader from the 40s with the Virginia Partners and later hosted and played with legendary acts as Bill and Charlie Monroe.
Covey now lives in Henderson, Nevada, where he continues to record and publish music. He hopes to record a second CD in the near future.
He has been fortunate enough to open for national acts including Martha Davis & the Motels, Jim Messina, Pat Travers, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Iron Butterfly and Will Hoge. He has written other tribute songs to family and friends.
Like many other past and present Radford locals who had lived in the town at the time of her death, Covey read Ron Peterson’s best-selling book, ‘Under The Trestle,’ and was inspired by the life of Hall.
“I had reached out to Ron after reading the book to let him know how great a job he did with his writing to paint a really accurate picture of our small town of Radford and its natural surroundings. Shortly afterwards, I decided to write some music simply because I felt there was a possible song there that could speak to the type of person she was and the inspiration she provided to many during her life,” he said.
Covey also felt that it would be a good opportunity to help raise money for a charitable organization, which would give people an opportunity to download a personal MP3 copy of the “Beauty Dances” song by making a minimum $2 (or more) donation at: www.PlayItForward.com/projects/91 with 100 percent of all the donations going to the “Help Save The Next Girl Foundation”.
“I am truly honored to have composed and recorded the song. I believe the emotional connection that all of us from Radford (during that period and beyond) have with Gina is the reason the song came so natural to me,” he said.
The first verse of the tribute called “Beauty Dances,” according to Covey, tries to capture Radford’s natural beauty, specifically the New River: “Quiet sounds fill the air,” with sounds of birds in the trees and fish jumping out of the water.
It closes out the first verse by referring to how the elements actually dance for all to see on their own stage.
The second verse is directly about Gina’s life and her love for dancing. Covey felt it was meant for the two verses to come together with the underlying theme resembling an inspiring performance (a sold-out show) for all to see.
“If you’ve ever been down to the New River in the early morning hours in the spring, summer, or fall, you already know or will soon learn what a truly peaceful and inspiring experience (and show of nature’s beauty) that it can be, which is very much what the people who knew Gina felt during and after her life. Her beauty as a person resonated and was inspiring for all to see. Plus, she absolutely loved to dance,” he said.
Covey used a 12-string guitar to write “Beauty Dances, Beauty Dances for all to see.”
Hall’s sister, Dlama Bodmer, is also publishing a new book entitled “The Miraculous Journey: A Day Made in Heaven.” It is expected hit shelves later this month, and as part of the book’s launch, a candlelight vigil has been announced for June 29 at Bisset Park.
The date marks the 39th year of Hall’s death. Bodmer said what a better way to celebrate an amazing person, her sister, who light is getting ready to shine like a beacon in the new book.
“Join us in remembering my sister at a place some would say is right across the river from she have been put to rest. I would say join us in a place just a few miles from where Angels delivered the message in the miracles for all to see and know,” Bodmer said.
The musical piece can be found at: www.PlayItForward.com/projects/91.