A smile spread across his face as he introduced himself in his office. A true performer, Dr. Joseph Bolin, new dean of the Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music at California Baptist University, exuded an energy and warmth reserved not just for his students, but for all who have the pleasure of making his company.
With more than 20 years of experience in worship ministry, a doctorate in chorale music and a great passion for worship in the church and excellence in the arts, Bolin has worked in both the Christian and secular music worlds. Most recently he held a position at the University of Texas at Austin’s Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music.
“CBU represented a synergy of an environment where I can invest in the musical and artistic excellence of the next generation, but in a Christian environment that values a Christian worldview and views the arts as a conduit of the glory of God,” Bolin said.
He said as he looks forward to the next era of the School of Music, he looks to not replace what has happened in the past but to expand and build upon it.
“We want to expand the draw of CBU to transcend just being a music school for church kids, but we want to expand our appeal to high schools or even secular environments,” Bolin said. “We want to be a school that trains adequately young artists for the concert stage, for the classroom and for the church.”
With Bolin having just assumed duties Aug. 1, many students returned to the program unaware of the man who would be leading them. His energy and vision is encouraging to the young musicians of the School of Music, as most had their first experience with him at orientation.
“My focus is in trumpet, and the new dean said he’s going to start trying to do more of a focus on the instrumental side so that will be nice to see,” said JP Scheuble, sophomore music education major. “He kind of caught people off-guard during orientation because he was just very enthusiastic.”
Bolin is well-versed in the musical community, having spent time singing with the Santa Fe Opera, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Choral Society and The University of Texas at Austin Chamber Singers. He reiterated that while at CBU, he wants to challenge students to the highest level of excellence in their craft.
“If (students) want to perform and be the second violin player for the Chicago Symphony or the LA Philharmonic or sing on the operatic stage or musical theater stage, they will get the training they need at CBU to be successful in the next steps toward that career path,” Bolin said.
With a quick grin and flick of his tie, he resumed his place at the large wood desk, ready to begin leading the school forward in music, leadership and growth.