Walla Walla University students in the Department of Music had fewer regular opportunities to share their gifts with others during the height of the pandemic. Now COVID-19 restrictions have eased, and the sweet harmonies of ICantori, the steel drum band, and Symphony Orchestra can be heard through open classroom doors and under stage lights alike.
Even so, the pandemic revealed the power of sharing music in new formats. Jinhyang Park, assistant professor of music, and seven students in her piano performance class created a music video of hymns to bring hope to listeners no matter where they are.
Park said, “We usually choose a composer every year, and discuss and perform the composer's pieces. But this year, we wanted to play comforting music during these anxious and challenging times.”
Each piano student reflected on hymns that were personally meaningful and worked to play one expertly. Stefano Fratianni, sophomore biology major, said of his hymn choice, “I chose to play ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ because it means a lot to me and my family. As I practiced it and thought about the lyrics, it gave me hope. Hope is something a lot of people need right now.”
To share their performances, the musicians collaborated with a group of WWU film students. Led by Jerry Harman, professor of communications, they worked to record, mix, film, and edit the seven performances. The resulting video was recently released on YouTube.
“I am proud that students are using the talents they receive from God to make Him shine through music and share Him with others,” said Park.
To watch the seven performances and discover hymns that are special to WWU students, visit wallawalla.edu/piano-hymns.