Last Thursday was a pretty normal afternoon in the Jack H. Miller Center for the Musical Arts lobby.  Students were doing homework, heading to practice, laughing and enjoying conversation. Everyone was a little tired from the busy few days behind and anticipating an even busier next couple. Musical Showcase was coming up, and the vibe of the music community inside the Jack H. Miller Center reflected it. 

Later that day in my biology class, I forgot all about it, though.  As I learned more than you could ever imagine about phylogenetic tree (I major in biology and play the oboe), the Musical Showcase concert was off my mind.  But that didn’t last long. Within a few hours I was preparing, practicing, and waiting excitedly for the lights to go on at 8:00 p.m..  The dress rehearsal was long, but well worth the effort. 

Musical Showcase concert features almost every single area of the music department at Hope.  Some students participate in ensembles, others with solos. Many of us feel a bit nervous, since it’s the biggest concert of the year.  Most of that vanishes, however, when we greet a good friend with a smile.  “Hi!  I can’t wait to hear you tonight!”  “You got this girl, it’s going to be amazing!”  The supportive community here is what motivates me to make the best music possible.  When we’re on stage, each of us brings our best selves, which together creates a spectacle that is great to see and hear.

To me, that is the essence of music: a reflection of the soul through sound.

At Hope, we not only strive for excellent technical musical execution, but also the creation of beautiful, authentic music.  With the help of our professors and peers, the sound that comes from our instrument or voice is a reflection of what’s inside our soul.  To me, that is the essence of music: a reflection of the soul through sound.

Last week at Musical Showcase, when the hall was filled with awaiting audience members, I thought of my musical community, which brought me through every hardship and celebration.  When the spotlight turned to me and others, the audience witnessed just how incredible it is when musicians come together to create something unique.

Photographs by Tom Renner

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