COVID-19 didn’t keep 51 students from across the United States and Mexico from attending Sound Foundations in Big Sandy, Texas this summer. With some simple protocols in place, the class enjoyed three amazing weeks of classes—including music theory, history, songwriting, hymnology, children’s choir, conducting, choir, and orchestra. A highlight this year was the new level—Advanced Sound Foundations—where we welcomed back a group of Sound Foundations graduates from the class of 2019 to enjoy a more rigorous level of music training.
Because of COVID-19, there was no final concert. Instead, God provided for the class to produce a live recording at the performing arts center at LeTourneau University. For weeks, students learned and rehearsed excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, Brahms Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. After hours of rehearsals and much prayer, on Thursday, July 30, four vans of students dressed in concert black left the ALERT campus for LeTourneau University. Stepping onto the brightly-lit, world-class stage that night, one student described the feeling as “overwhelming.” There was no live audience, only a few people to run a livestream of the concert and review the tracks with scores in hand. Through the evening, the words and music of “Worthy is the Lamb” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” filled the empty auditorium. The hundreds of empty seats served as a visible reminder that Christians perform for Christ and His audience alone.
But the training didn’t end with Sound Foundations. One day later, the Instrumental Workshop began. 40 students participated in practice and coaching sessions on voice, strings, piano, and handbells. They especially enjoyed being able to collaborate with fellow students and form chamber ensembles! God provided an amazing lineup of instructors for the week, including Laura Johnson and Joanna Malm (from the Denver Young Artists Orchestra), Jacob Bernhardt (from the Cleveland Institute of Music) and Christine Smith (former director of music at MacMurray College).
Despite the masks, distancing, and no in-person audience for the final concert, multiple students called Sound Foundations 2020 “the best month of their lives.” At the end of the summer, we praise God for the “great things He hath taught us, great things He has done.”
The album recorded this summer, entitled “Worthy is the Lamb,” is now available for pre-order at iblp.org/soundfoundations.