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Laura VanderWoude receives 2024 Elementary Education Award

Laura VanderWoude receives 2024 Elementary Education Award

Laura VanderWoude (CU’ 2018), has recently won the Elementary Educator award for 2024 from the Missouri American String Teachers Association. Laura graduated from Calvary University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education: Instrumental, with an emphasis in violin. She received her Master of Music Education in 2022 from Kansas State University.  

Laura grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been involved in orchestra and playing violin since she was seven years old. She chose Calvary as her university so that she could get a biblical education and an accredited degree in music education.  

“Calvary was a great fit for me because I was able to get involved in a community where I grew spiritually and academically.”

From a professional standpoint, Laura’s experiences at Calvary inspired her to connect with more musicians, take up opportunities to get hands-on experience in student teaching, and ultimately become a trained, confident educator.   

Laura’s award was given to her by the Missouri chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. As a six-year member of this professional organization, she often volunteers and is the head chaperone of the all-state orchestra students at their state conference every year.

The Elementary Education Award is usually given to someone who teaches beginner student-musicians. Laura teaches in Independence, Missouri, where she has two hundred students that she teaches every day. She said it has been a privilege to focus on beginners and first year instrument players. When reflecting on how she felt about receiving her award, she said:  

“I was not quite sure how to feel at first because there are so many other amazing string educators that also deserve this award. I am humbled, but also feel honored that people see the hard work I do in my area of expertise. Truly, all the glory goes to the Lord. He has strengthened me and taught me personally about His compassion and patience, and He has shown me how much my students are made in His image.” 

Laura is ultimately grateful to have a positive impact on her students’ lives. She feels privileged to help them excel in their musicianship and develop skills they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.   

 

Duane and Cristina Smith: Faithfully Building up the Body of Christ

Duane and Cristina Smith: Faithfully Building up the Body of Christ

Duane and Cristina, 1993. 

“When you see people apply the Word that you had the joy of teaching them, it is a tremendous blessing.” 

Duane and Cristina Smith grew up in Christian families and came to faith at a young age, meeting at Calvary and marrying soon after. They stayed in the KC area for four years and were highly involved in their local church. Learning how a body of believers functioned would later become integral to them becoming spiritual mentors in their future home church. When the Lord took them to Marshfield, WI, Duane served as the assistant pastor of Calvary Bible Church, where he and Cristina served for over 8 years; during this time, they had all three of their sons. Today, Duane is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Waukon, IA. 

When reflecting on how his educational journey impacted his future career in ministry, Duane stated: “The education I received from Calvary laid a biblical and theological foundation for my life in ministry. As a pastoral studies major, my classes helped me understand the practical side of ministry, and Dr. Raiford shared wisdom with us ‘preacher boys,’ as he called us, that was absolutely invaluable.” He also added that his music training at Calvary helped prepare him for conducting worship in church services for over twenty-five years. Cristina reflects that her double major in Biblical Counseling and Church Music was exactly what she needed: “I am blessed to have been the Worship Coordinator at our church for many years now and use my degree not only in accompanying piano and worship leading, but in planning worship services year-round. As for counseling, I use the knowledge I gained from this degree every day.”

When asked what the most rewarding thing about full-time ministry has been, Duane states that it has been witnessing people grow in their faith: “There are many things that can discourage you in this ministry if you let it, but when you see people apply the Word that you had the joy of teaching them, it is a tremendous blessing.” Cristina adds, “There’s nothing like seeing the chains of sin being broken in people’s lives and watching them live in the freedom of their new identity in Christ.”

Duane sends a special word of counsel to those pursuing pastoral ministry: “Remember to cultivate a close relationship with the Lord now. As a pastor, you will be the one feeding others and discipling them. You must learn to feed yourself spiritually! Don’t just look at the Bible as another textbook. Treat it as the living and active Word of God that you derive your spiritual nourishment from. Serving God as a pastor is a tremendous blessing, but if you are trying to do it in your own strength it will be a disaster.”

Duane and Cristina both look forward to what God has in store for their future as a couple serving God in the church. Duane states that he looks forward to seeing people grow in Christ and use their gifts to serve Him: “There are some young men who are wanting to be discipled in my church, and that process will begin soon. I pray that God uses them in mighty ways!” Cristina adds, “We hope to plan another mission trip soon as they have transformed our church family into thinking globally and strengthened individuals in their personal walks with God.” 

 

 

 

Duane Smith speaking at Calvary’s 2022 Baccalaureate.

Duane and Cristina’s sons, Nathan (CU grad, 23), Michael (21), and Jacob (18).

Willy Wonka: Calvary’s Spring Theatre Production

Willy Wonka: Calvary’s Spring Theatre Production

This spring, Calvary University’s Theatre Department will be exploring a world of pure imagination! Willy Wonka is based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story follows five children who each find a golden ticket and are granted the opportunity to explore the mysterious chocolate factory owned by the infamous candy man himself, Willy Wonka.

Willy Wonka is the first of Roald Dahl’s books to be brought from the silver screen to the stage. While it is often written off as a feel-good and wrongs-righted story, behind all of its whimsical charm, it presents powerful messages. Every child in the story is given the same “golden ticket”, and each is tempted by the desire they crave most. As we already know, each child fails to withstand temptation. This idea plays into themes that can be found within Willy Wonka, as well as some of Roald Dahl’s other writings, including greed, friendship, justice, and the power of the human mind. True to his unique style of writing, Willy Wonka celebrates the quirky personalities of each character and embraces lessons that can be learned from them. 

Join the colorful characters of Willy Wonka as they venture into a candy dream, traveling through fantastic rooms filled with absurdities, from lickable wallpaper and nut-sorting squirrels to Oompa Loompas and everlasting gobstoppers. Reserve your tickets to this adventure today! 

 

 

Jeremy Schell: His Years of Service at Calvary

Jeremy Schell: His Years of Service at Calvary

“I have loved being inspired by my students.”

“I met Jesus in 1991 in my parents’ living room,” Jeremy states, remembering his first authentic encounter with God. Although Jeremy had been attending church for years, his beliefs were centered on his parents’ instead of his own. But, on an August evening of that year, Jeremy surrendered his life to Jesus, inspiring him to glorify God with his gifts in music and leadership ever since. “It started with me just serving at my church in a simple way, like playing the piano during Sunday services; but this eventually expanded into me receiving leadership roles. I served as the director of our orchestra, children’s choir, choir, and led worship, and then became a staff member.” Jeremy was hired at what was then Kansas City Baptist Temple in 2004; when God opened the door to become full-time in 2006, Jeremy was hired as the worship director, and then moved into pastoral ministry.

“When I was approached about joining Calvary’s teaching staff, I was excited to instruct students in their paths to future careers in ministry and music.” When thinking about his favorite memories at Calvary, he states: “My favorite memory teaching culminated the year we performed John Rutter’s Requiem at St Paul’s Episcopal church. We delivered our concert to standing-room only and the audience felt alive as we performed beautiful melodies and lyrics of this gorgeous work. Beyond that, I have fond memories of multiple chorale tours and countless evenings spending time with my students, talking about life with them until the early hours of the morning.” He adds, “I have loved being inspired by my students. This has happened in two ways: the first being when a student goes on to bigger and greater things in their career; this makes me feel privileged to have played a part in their training. Second, when I have witnessed “light-bulb moments” in my classroom. I have so much enjoyed watching the very moment my students catch a concept! These have been some of the most rewarding moments in my years of teaching.”

In the near future, Jeremy looks forward to continuing pastoring and leading teams at Graceway Church while also having more quality time to spend with his family: “As our children get into advanced sports, I’ll get to see a lot of volleyball, baseball, and basketball games in my future, and I am looking forward to being there during those special moments!” Jeremy is grateful for the opportunity and honor he has had to teach at Calvary for the past nine years, serving students and sharing with them what God has taught him: “It has been a special honor to conduct the Calvary Chorale, lead Calvary’s praise band, and teach in classrooms and studios with men and women of God who are excited about what God is going to do with their lives, gifts, and talents.”

 

Calvary Proudly Hosts Sam Rotman Piano Concert

Calvary Proudly Hosts Sam Rotman Piano Concert

Calvary University is proud to host seasoned concert pianist, Mr. Sam Rotman, and his performance, Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary Concert.

Mr. Rotman received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School in N.Y.C. His most prestigious award was being a Laureate Winner at the 4th International Beethoven Competition in Vienna, Austria in 1973. In 1978, Mr. Rotman participated in the 6th International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, Russia. Mr. Rotman has given over 3,100 performances in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Southeast Asia, South Africa, India, China, and Russia, totaling 61 countries.

Mr. Rotman has devoted a specific area of his musical life to the study and performance of the works of Beethoven. Beginning with a series of all Beethoven concerts in 1970 (the Beethoven bi‑centennial), he was presented on Public Broadcast System in a special Beethoven concert. He has also released an all-Beethoven CD, featuring five major works of the composer. For the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, Mr. Rotman will be performing an all-Beethoven program.

The concert at Calvary will be an All-Beethoven program in celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Beethoven.

In May 2016, Mr. Rotman was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from The Master’s University.  He is the only recipient of such an Honorary Doctorate in the school’s history.

Mr. Rotman’s recordings include:

  • Impressions: Piano Portraits of Claude Debussy;
  • Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Piano Works by Rachmaninoff, and
  • Piano Music of Beethoven.

Reviewers in the United States, and France have noted the following about Mr. Rotman’s performances:

“Mr. Rotman is a pianist of no small talent. He possesses a thoroughly prepared technique. He is a mature and thoughtful interpreter and his playing is convincing and alive, He enjoys his work and is able to communicate his ideas and his enthusiasm to his audience. His playing was profound, expressive, dynamic, and exciting.”

“Mr. Rotman’s interpretation of the Beethoven “Pathetique” Sonata left you with nothing more to wish for as far as getting close to the composer’s dramatic way of gaining his listeners. All of the many details of this music were being expressed. Every piece was played with the same brilliance.”

In addition to his concert, Mr. Rotman will give his Christian testimony.

The performance will be held on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM in Calvary University’s Liberty Chapel on 1570 Elmwood Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. All are welcome to attend, free of charge. 

 

Kathryn Phillips: a music department graduate assistant

Kathryn Phillips: a music department graduate assistant

Phillips presented a fingerstyle guitar piece in General Recital.

“Seeing students progress is the biggest joy.”

Kathryn Phillips is a 2020 Calvary alumna who has served as a graduate assistant for the music department, teaching multiple students. “I do private guitar lessons. Right now I have four students, and then I do a group guitar lesson and that has three students in it.” Phillips is also working alongside Brittany Hill in teaching an online praise band class. In the past, the online praise band class had been very similar to the in-person praise band. Phillips explained, “Dr. An asked us if we could do something with the class, and involve the students. So they changed it to separate people teaching it— me and Brittany. We can’t play together online, but everyone gets Pro Tools, a recording software, and records songs together and then mixes them together.”

Alongside being a graduate assistant and pursuing her master’s, Phillips has worked at PT’s (a local coffee shop), managed the Warrior Cafe on campus, and played in a band called Safari. Phillips said that after college she would like to pursue “something in the realm of teaching” but if that doesn’t work out “I have my band in Lawrence— Safari.” 

Phillips says that her favorite thing about being a graduate assistant has been “teaching the individual lessons. It’s really fun to see students progress. So I really like teaching intermediate students because there’s so much to learn, and seeing them learn new things and play new things really well.”

Phillips says her advice to undergraduate music students is to “pay attention in classes and do your homework really well, because you’re paying a lot for the classes. I just hear about a lot of students who sleep during this class or whatever and are not really paying attention. Especially for music classes— especially with Dr. An— it can be really engaging, and you can learn a lot. To learn in college, you have to apply yourself because you can go through and get a degree without learning very much. But I think it’s important to actually apply yourself, actually learn, and actually do the work well.”

Phillips performed with lux voces for the Belton Rotary Club.