Bob Jones University musicians had the unique opportunity to host a Side-by-Side Midwest Music Festival in Chicago as well as perform Jubilate Deo in the Orchestra Hall this past weekend.

The Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Dr. Michael Moore; the BJU Chorale, directed by Dr. Warren Cook; and Dr. Dan Turner, the director of the Bob Jones Symphonic Wind Band, all participated in the Midwest Music Festival that took place March 31–April 1.

This festival targeted
seventh–12th grade students to better expand their musical abilities through partnering with BJU students and faculty.

“[Midwest Music Festival was] a fast-paced, music-filled weekend that [gave] these students a little taste of the excellent music making that we do here in our ensembles,” Moore said.

Instead of simply listening to lectures, around 300 students interacted with BJU students and faculty in a hands-on setting.

For example, students learned how to be better choir members by having rehearsals with the Chorale. Or students furthered their orchestral skills by practicing with the BJUSO.

“Being able to befriend and create music with the high schoolers during the festival was a unique experience,” Rebekah Gooding, a sophomore Chorale member said.

Small group classes as well as private lessons were offered by some of the BJU students and faculty.

The high school students participated in a concert on Saturday to showcase what they had learned.

“[This was a] great discipleship and mentoring opportunity for our students as they [were] paired up with these high schoolers to be their buddy for the weekend,” Moore said.

The second part of the Chicago trip was the concert in Orchestra Hall in downtown Chicago performed on April 3. Orchestra Hall was opened in 1904, has the capacity to seat 2,522 guests and is the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“It is an amazing space,” Moore said.

The concert featured the BJUSO, Isaac Greene and Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo performed by the BJU choirs and the BJUSO.

This is the same concert that Bob Jones University performed at the Peace Center in Greenville and for the second half of the Jubilate Deo artist series.

The first part of the concert featured BJUSO performing a variety of selections including Festive Overture by Shostakovich, Firebird Suite excerpts by Stravinsky and Berstein’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra that featured Isaac Greene on the guitar.

The second part of the concert was the performance of Jubilate Deo, which is a setting of Psalm 100 in several different languages, with the theme of the whole world praising God.

“Being on stage at Orchestra Hall in downtown Chicago singing about our God was an amazing experience,” Gooding said. “I’m so thankful the Lord provided the way for BJU’s choir and orchestra to take this tour to Chicago.”

Moore said the trip was an incredible opportunity.

“We add value to the BJU education by providing [students with] this opportunity to perform in this wonderful space,” Moore said. “Several students in our orchestra and choir are not music majors and yet they get this incredible opportunity.”

Kali Shaleen, a sophomore BJUSO member, said, “All in all it was an amazing experience. We packed so much in to such a short period of time. It was an experience we will never forget.”

But the ultimate reason for all the performances is to glorify God.

“[This was] an opportunity to share the Gospel through such a powerful medium and work as Jubilate Deo,” Moore said.That is really special.”