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Seattle Pacific University
Spring 2007 | Volume 30, Number 1 | Campus

New Sound: A Gospel Symphony


Stephen Michael Newby
Stephen Newby leads worship in "Reconciled."
Let’s learn from the past. / We must live in peace, reconciled. These lines were sung by Seattle Pacific University’s Gospel Choir, accompanied by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, during three soul-stirring performances of “Reconciled: A Gospel Symphony” February 17–18, 2007, in the Portland, Oregon, area and Vancouver, Washington. The unusual pairing of gospel vocals with wind instruments was imagined by directors Stephen Michael Newby and Gerry Jon Marsh as a musical testimony to the reconciling power of God’s love.

The SPU performing groups traveled south at the invitation of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) to perform at their Northwest Conference, held this year in Portland. “MENC had heard our groups perform,” says Marsh, director of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, “and they invited us, without audition, to be a part of the program. Our students received an award from MENC for their magnificent performance.”

Praying each time that their music would model reconciliation in Christ, the students also performed at two local churches: Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin, Oregon, and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vancouver. During the concerts, people in the congregation sang along and clapped their hands; some even danced in the aisles.

“Reconciled” celebrates all kinds of reconciliation, and the style of music fuses Negro spirituals with classical music, folk music, and hymns. It features familiar songs such as “Were You There?” “What Wondrous Love Is This?” and “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” And it introduces a new anthem titled “Reconciled” and composed by Newby, who directs SPU’s Gospel Choir. The free concert comes to Seattle’s First Free Methodist Church (adjacent to campus) on Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 206-281-2205.

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Department Highlights

Destination: Asia
President Philip Eaton joined a historic delegation of U.S. university presidents who traveled to Asia

Perspectives on the 21st Century
Global awareness was the theme of two recent SPU events.

John Perkins Ministers to His “Adopted” City
Perkins spent two months in Seattle, spreading the message of biblical reconciliation.

A New Sound: Gospel Symphony
The Gospel Choir and Symphonic Wind Ensemble took a new symphony in Portland, Oregon.

Largest-Ever Cash Gift Supports a Student’s Dream
A $1 million gift to SPU enables the Reiman-Thomas Scholarship to make dreams come true.