The eighth annual Gala Concert of Sacred Music provided Southwestern students and friends of the seminary with a stirring, musically gifted evening of familiar hymns as well as debut compositions by faculty. Steve Green, songwriter and recording artist, joined Southwestern’s Master Chorale, Southwestern Singers and selected members of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for the Feb. 24 event.
The packed auditorium warmly received debut performances by award winning composer and Southwestern professor William Mac Davis (orchestral piece Excursion) and music school dean Stephen Johnson (Peace Ascends). Paige Patterson, in his welcome address to the crowd near the beginning of the concert, shared his anticipation of the new chapel (Fall 2011) to welcome the Gala and the seminary’s graduation services in a larger facility.
Green performed modern renditions of Holy, Holy, Holy and It Is Well With My Soul as well as songs he had previously introduced during the week’s chapel services (What Wondrous Love is This and Zion). He also sang the hymn penned by reformer Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, after presenting the Gospel to the audience and directing them to focus their attention on Christ during his remarks.
Earlier in the week, Green shared with a large group of Southwestern music students in a Q & A session. He told students that as a Christian vocal performer, he must continually keep his motives in check.
“I want to sing very well,” Green said. “I study hard; I work hard. But my goal isn’t, at the end of the concert, for people to stand up and cheer for me. I want to do what I do with excellence but still point people in a genuine way towards the God and Creator of all, who alone deserves to be glorified.”
Green also shared with the students the humorous story of how he discovered his ability to sing in college. He knew so little about formal training, during his audition for the college choir he imitated Artemus Gordon, a character on a popular TV western who would sing operatic style to French ladies. Green also spoke during the session about having a heart forChrist and how he still seeks to glorify Him through music, even after he has left the charts.
During the Gala performance, David Thye, Robert L. Burton chair of conducting, followed Green’s Gospel presentation with a call for response, inviting the audience to come forward after the service to make professions of faith. He also shared the story of a Lutheran missionary, Benjamin Larson, who served the Haitian people and perished in the resulting earthquake early last year. Johnson wrote Peace Ascends, debuted that evening, to honor Larson’s service.
Rebecca Carter is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (www.swbts.edu/campusnews<http://www.swbts.edu/campusnews>).