Southwestern Adventist University’s annual Music Festival weekend culminated with a magnificent concert at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas on Sunday, February 10. Inspired by God’s creative power and disciplined by dedicated preparation, 280 students, representing twenty-five high schools, along with professional musicians combined their talents to bring honor and glory to their Creator.
Renowned composer Craig Courtney was in attendance for the world premiere of his composition “Psalm 23.” This piece, never before performed in public, was commissioned especially for A Night at the Meyerson. The mass Festival Choir and Festival Strings filled the auditorium with a full, rich sound which brought the audience to its feet in applause.
There were numerous other highlights from the evening, ranging from mainstream “pop” song renditions to large mass choral arrangements. The Festival Saxophone Ensemble, led by Dr. William Chien, performed “Happy,” which had the auditorium cheering from their seats. During Allegro from Symphony No. 6, Dr. Devon Howard masterfully collaborated with the Festival Brass on the Amelia H. Lay Family pipe organ. And the finale portion of the Fantasia in C Minor, Opus 80 by Beethoven was performed by a large majority of festival participants alongside the Festival Orchestra, guest sopranos, tenors, and bass. The University Singers in collaboration with the Festival Honors Choir gave a stirring rendition of the “Conversion of Saul” by Z. Randall Stroope.
“It was a great experience,” said Christian Gonzales, senior music/communication double major who played his baritone saxophone at Meyerson. “The best experience is entertaining the audience and putting on a good show. Plus, we had a lot of interaction with high school students.”
Genesis and Lynn Cantivar of Arlington, Texas sat in the balcony watching their high school daughter perform. . Their daughter is the third child they have had perform at the Meyerson. Their son is currently a freshman business major at Southwestern Adventist University. “Music is an important creative outlet for students,” Lynn says. “It has taught my kids discipline. I appreciate it for being something other than video games and electronics.”
“Our goal has always been to promote musical achievement among young musicians and provide scholarships that will enable students to thrive as they engage in music while they pursue their college degrees,” shares University President Ken Shaw. “The Night at the Meyerson is one of the highlights of the year for our University.”
During the program, Dr. Devon Howard, Department of Music chair, took time to recognize the eight festival scholarship finalists. These students performed a Showcase Concert on Wednesday, February 6 at the traditional beginning of the four-day Music Festival event and will each receive a scholarship to attend Southwestern Adventist University.
The festival scholarship finalists are Josie Reeves of Campion Academy in Colorado, Carissa Morris and Emilia Ortiz of Burton Adventist Academy in Arlington, David Mendoza, Hannah Seidel and Beatriz Parilla of Chisholm Trail Academy in Keene, Jakob Tamez of South Texas Christian Academy in McAllen and Daniel O’Connor a homeschool student from Oklahoma.
On February 9, 2020, A Night at the Meyerson will return to Dallas.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Southwestern Adventist University has offered Christian education since 1893. A small comprehensive university, the beautiful campus is located in Keene, Texas, about 20 minutes south of Fort Worth. Southwestern Adventist University offers personable professors, numerous programs including business, music, education, nursing, Senior Living Management Certificate, master’s programs, and many ways for students to get involved both on campus and abroad. With a diverse student body that includes international students from dozens of countries and an average student/teacher ratio of 11:1, Southwestern Adventist University offers a uniquely diverse and personal college experience.