Faith & Service

Recent graduate pursues God first as his talents shine on stage

By Drew Menard, September 28, 2015

In front of a large crowd in a dim Nashville, Tenn., auditorium, blue and purple stage lights painted the stage as Setnick Sene (’15) commanded his rich, smooth voice. The words to “Worthy is the Lamb” resounded throughout the room during a competition at the Gospel Music Association (GMA) Immerse Conference last summer.

“I was nervous and excited at the same time,” he said. “I was blown away by the support of the people in the room. I’m glad I had friends there to celebrate with.”

Sene would ultimately be named Male Vocalist of the Year at the Immerse Conference’s reVIEWyou competition, a chance for aspiring artists to showcase their craft in front of music executives and producers. He also reached the top three in the songwriter category. Two other former Liberty School of Music students, Dwight Hernandez and David Conley, made it to the top 10 — out of over 500 entries — in their chosen categories.

Joining Sene in the winners’ circle was Liberty University graduate Roz Welch (’08), who took home the award for Female Artist/Writer of the Year. Welch studied exercise science at Liberty.

Sene and Welch each received a prize package designed to help them build a career in music, including the opportunity to meet with music publishers and artist managers, a recording session, and more. They were also given tickets to the GMA’s Dove Awards in October.

Each year, more and more Liberty graduates place higher in the annual competition, an indication that the School of Music is succeeding in its goals to send out Champions for Christ.

Setnick embodies his heart for the Lord in the full, rich timbre of his voice,” said Dr. David Hahn, chair of the Department of Commercial Music and one of Sene’s former teachers. “He is respected by his peers at Liberty and at Immerse for his desire to glorify God with his life and his music.”

Sene, who is from Columbia, S.C., graduated from Liberty in May with two graduate degrees from the School of Music: a Master of Arts in Music and Worship and a Master of Arts in Worship Studies. While a student, he was a member of LU Praise, a traveling team representing the Center for Music & Worship, and Captivate, an ensemble team. He served as Captivate’s vocal director for two years.

He said that his time at Liberty, and particularly the mentorship of faculty, was crucial in shaping him into the artist he is today. Though Sene has demonstrated he has the chops to be a rising star — along with many of his former classmates who are finding work in Nashville — he said his heart is truly for worship. His time on the praise teams at Liberty showed him that his desire is to shape and teach other singers as they “learn more about God and how to make Him famous.”

With a number of opportunities before him, Sene is taking his time pursuing God’s calling. He has been recording some cover songs, writing music, collaborating with friends on EPs, and serving with the worship team at his local church in Lynchburg.

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