100 Student Musicians Minister in Southern Oregon
Corban College’s concert band, jazz band, choirs and string ensemble staged a four-day tour last month, taking a collection of sacred and secular music to six schools and churches in southern Oregon.
Nearly 100 Corban students gave six free concerts in Jacksonville, Ashland, Klamath Falls, Medford and Roseburg. Some musicians also accepted spur-of-the-moment invitations to play with Oregon Institute of Technology’s pep band and sing at a retirement home.
“A tour is a chance for us to grow, and it lets us communicate the spirit of what God is doing at Corban,” said band director Dan Shuholm.
The tour – one of the largest in Corban’s history – was organized by students. Students Ben King and Karen Wright were charged with organizing trip, and many others helped. Corban music professors purposefully gave student leaders the baton, as many of them will soon be worship leaders or music teachers.
“We’re talking about life skills,” Shuholm said. “This gives us the opportunity to help them grow and refine their leadership skills.”
For Wright, who says she’s not a naturally gifted leader, the tour was a perfect platform for learning to trust God.
“It seemed that the days in which things were not coming together and I felt most inadequate were the days that God showed his faithfulness by bringing things together in the perfect way only He can,” she said.
King added, “The most important aspect of leadership is the example that you set and recognizing that other people are better at some things than yourself. Understanding a person's strengths is key to having a good leadership team.”
The students’ performances ranged from Bach by the string ensemble to Eastern European pieces by the chamber choir. At Hosanna Christian School in Klamath Falls, choir members pulled elementary school children onto the floor to dance with tunes played by the jazz band. The response at each venue was enthusiastic.
“We don’t often get opportunities to listen to groups like yours here, and it was nice to be surrounded by such fine musicians,” OIT pep band president Eric Leaming wrote in a thank-you letter.
“The department's musical strengths were showcased impressively, but more importantly, we as a flock became endeared to these young people and how God is using them in this stage of their lives,” wrote Randy Williams, teaching pastor at First Baptist Church in Medford.
Wright added, “I loved the way we were received and the way God allowed us to minister to other people. Sometimes we had small audiences, but I felt that even for the smallest audiences we were where we were supposed to be and the people there were really ministered to by our music.”