School of music performs for Experience Conference

“I know that this may be the only time in my life that these experiences will be available to me, so I’m thrilled to be able to participate when opportunities arise,” said AJ Ursua, senior biology and cello performance double major and student pres- ident of the University Choir and Orchestra, about the UCO trip to Florida for the Experience Conference Sept. 3 – 5.

California Baptist University’s Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth school of music has expanded the performance and recording connections with artists and companies throughout the past year under the leader- ship of Dr. Joseph Bolin, dean of the School of Music.

One such opportunity took place the first weekend back to school for music students, when 75 members of the UCO were invited to lead worship with artist Anthony Evans and Houston’s First Baptist Church wor- ship leader John Bolin, current board members of the Worship Arts and Ministries program.

“The conference in Orlando, Florida is designed to minister to pastors, worship leaders and church leaders from across the nation,” Ursua said. “Big opportunities such as these are beginning to take place more frequently as people become more familiar with the groups at California Baptist.”

Photos courtesy of Lisa Bangean

Ursua said one of the reasons the group has been asked to participate in conferences and recording projects with compa- nies like LifeWay Publishing is because of the authentic energy and passion that flows from the music the students create as a collaborative group of vocalists and instrumentalists.

“It is extremely exciting that opportunities are arising for students to be a part of different forms of ministry on such a large scale,” Ursua said. “These opportunities will become more frequent for students in the School of Music and continue to grow to even larger scales.”

“Working in ministry can be tough, discouraging and fast-paced but being in authentic worship settings makes it worthwhile.”

Taji Saleem

Taji Saleem, junior film production and graphic design double major and vocalist in UCO, participated in the con- ference. Both Saleem and Ursua said the effort it takes to learn the music and travel far for opportunities can be challenging, but rewarding.

“These types of events give you real world experiences and understandings of how the music and ministry industries really work,” said Saleem. “Working in ministry can be tough, discouraging and fast-paced but being in authentic worship settings makes it worthwhile.”

Steven Dahlgren, assistant professor of music and director of UCO, said it was a learning experience for the students.

“We had the incredible opportunity of being able to sing for them and take those participants straight to the throne of God,” Dahlgren said.

The School of Music has set the bar high for their students and future connections right from the start of the fall 2018 semester.

“Music recordings and special concerts and events that the music department takes makes the ministry we do much more special,” Saleem said. “I hope that the School of Music contin- ues to do more recordings and attend special events

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