By Janelle Hamre '11
Music is much more than notes and rhythms. It’s more than mastering technique. True music, to use the proper Italian term, is espressivo (“expressive”). It has heart.
Northwestern College ensembles—Symphonic Band, College Choir, and Orchestra—are continually striving for technical expertise, but more so, they embrace the opportunity to form communities that cultivate performances to bring glory and honor to God.
I have to admit that I am biased. I have played trumpet in the Symphonic Band for my four years at Northwestern and have experienced true Christian community—a result of intentional, biblical focus on the part of our directors, student leaders and ensemble members.
College Choir President Justin Peterson ’11 said, “As an ensemble, we realize that God desires our hearts in every aspect of life. We desire to sing… fully devoted to singing the truth of the text and ultimately singing to worship our Maker and declare His greatness.”
Once a semester, the ensembles take time to retreat to a church or camp away from school. Far from a lazy weekend, the retreats foster deeper growth, both musically and spiritually. Retreats typically involve intensive rehearsals, devotional time and lots of pancakes and community-building activities.
Whether through a musical moment on the Maranatha Hall stage or during post-rehearsal “band dinners,” the ensembles give glory to our Creator. And it makes our music more real and more beautiful—it is an offering to an audience of One.