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New School of Music makes first official performance
The Liberty University School of Music presented a Night of Worship Sunday, April 21, in the Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) Sanctuary.
According to Dean Vernon Whaley, the event was the first time the department performed as a united body. The Department of Music and Humanities and the Department of Music and Worship joined together to form the School of Music in September 2012, making it the seventh-largest school of music in the country.
“We are absolutely thrilled to present this tonight as our first official presentation as the School of Music,” Whaley said.
At the event, audience members were greeted with a choir and presented with a performance by Charles Billingsley. Individual students also performed, and the audience was invited to join the choir during certain worship songs.
“I am excited about this event because this is a group of people on this stage that are probably some of the most talented people that you will ever hear from in your entire life all put together in one spot,” Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of TRBC, said.
Kati Bowlin, a sophomore studying worship within the School of Music, performed Sunday evening as a first soprano in the choir.
“The Night of Worship is something that we work on all semester in the (School of Music),” Bowlin said. “It is a chance for all of us to come together as one huge choir and worship. I hope that the people who come out can really just let go and worship freely. Our God is so incredibly worthy of every single ounce of praise that we can muster.
I hope that the entire audience will just engage and worship with us and not just be spectators.”
Bowlin originally came to Liberty as a psychology major. However, she switched to the worship program after she realized that she was running away from what God wanted her to do with her life — sing for his glory.
“My favorite part of the program is how involved the professors are,” Bowlin said. “Every single one of my professors has always made it a point to make sure that all of their students are OK. I always know that I am prayed for.”
According to Bowlin, she hopes to become a recording artist and worship leader in a church after she graduates from the program.
“Singing has been the one thing I have always had a certain measure of confidence in,” Bowlin said. “As I have gotten older, music has been my greatest passion. If I am singing or playing one of my instruments, I am happy. It is my biggest love in life.”
Another member of the choir is junior Timothy Fraser, who is currently studying music and worship with a specialization in worship leadership.
“The Night of Worship is important to me because I get to worship God during this event, but I also get to help lead the whole audience in worship as well,” Frasier said.
Multiple choirs dedicate countless hours of practice time in preparation for the Night of Worship, including Saturday and evening rehearsals from time to time, Frasier said.
In 2005, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. shared with Whaley the dreams he had for the future School of Music.
“Dr. Falwell longed to see the Center for Worship all around us grow because he believed that Liberty University could change the world for Christ,” Whaley said. “I trust that tonight’s performances stand as a testimony for what we believe God is doing in the School of Music.”
As Whaley and School of Music students carried out that mission, Jonathan Falwell shared his appreciation for the students’ hard work and worship.
“We are so blessed to be able to hear from these students,” Falwell said. “We look forward to this event each and every year because it is the culmination of a whole year of this team prepping for this night.
It is good for a church to come together every once in a while and experience a night solely based on worshiping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”
For more information about the School of Music and various programs offered in the department, visit liberty.edu/schoolofmusic.