By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Steve McCollum introduces the PHC Chorale
“Even though this track is linked with the Classical Liberal Arts (teaching pedagogy) degree, being a CLA major is not a requirement in order to take these courses,” he explains. “These courses are open to all PHC students who wish to build on their previous music study.”
Courses will provide formal training in music theory, conducting, music pedagogy, applied music, arts and worship in the church, and more. Admittance to the track requires an audition, but any student can take an individual class as an open elective.
“We believe that any musician is both a teacher and a leader who must therefore model robust musical skills,” Dr. McCollum adds, “enabling him to serve in a variety of musical contexts, make valid musical decisions autonomously, and possess communication skills that empower him to become an inspirational leader in the musical enterprise. Our mission is to develop and exercise the musical gifts and talents of PHC students in a way that honors the Lord, represents the College with distinction, and prepares and motivates them toward life-long service.”
In addition, in Fall of 2009 PHC will be offering a four-year “J.S. Bach Musical Scholarship” of up to $2,500 to four qualified students who show potential to become musical leaders on campus. These candidates will have participated in one of PHC’s many music opportunities during their time at PHC—such as the PHC Chorale (mixed-voice choir), the Chapel Music Guild, the chamber music ensemble, or the PHC Youth Music Academy (musical training for choirs and ensembles of local homeschoolers).
Graduate Laurie Krmpotich, a talented violinist, had dreamed as a child of performing with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Since she could not formally pursue her interest in violin during her years at PHC, she joined the PHC Chorale instead.
Sharing what she learned musically at Patrick Henry College, Krmpotich notes a particular experience during the 2006-2007 school year, “… when [Dr. McCollum] taught us how to sing spirituals, hymn arrangements, and even a Bach Cantata!” She recalls, “Out of all the music that we learned that year, I think the Bach Cantata prepared me the most for continuing singing. Not only was I singing in another language for the first time, but it was also the longest piece of music I had ever sung.”
Returning home to Milwaukee after graduation, Krmpotich started taking voice lessons. After a few months, she tried out for the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. To her delight, she was accepted. The weekend of October 3-4, 2008, the Chorus took the stage with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, with a new, excited young vocalist on the roster.
Krmpotich marvels at the workings of God: “My childhood dream has come true—I am performing with the Symphony—but as a singer, not as a violinist. Without the training I received under Dr. McCollum I know that I would never have had the interest or training to join the MSC. He showed me what can be done with the voice, and I am so grateful for his guidance, encouragement, and training.”
Whether serving with youth, leading chapel worship, performing for audiences, or learning formal theory in a classroom, students will continue to find more ways to develop their musical souls at Patrick Henry College.