This weekend was Wheaton College’s fall break. It is the first chance all semester that I have had enough time to sit and write a thorough reflection on the school year thus far. I should like to sum up my first two months as an upperclassman with a metaphor of my own invention: I am drenched by all the blessings God has poured out on me.
In my last post, I wrote about my early arrival on campus due to a retreat with the Symphonic Band Cabinet. We had a great time at Wisconsin Dells, and since then we have had a great time working together to assist Dr. Tim Yontz, the music director, in implementing the band program. One of the other cabinet members said that we (the cabinet) “are like family,” and I agree completely. It has been a real joy to be a part of the leadership team.
In my role as chaplain, I was privileged to join with the other ensembles’ chaplains to plan an informal worship service for the Conservatory’s All-Ensemble Fall Workshop over Labor Day weekend. We put together a program of songs, Scripture readings, prayer, and a devotional from Dr. Kathy Kastner (the Conservatory’s percussion professor) that I think everyone enjoyed.
Wheaton College is, of course, a school, which means that approximately one quarter of the student body is new each fall, and my department was no exception. This year’s new music majors are a great group of young musicians, and I am humbled to find myself in a big brother role to many of them. They are all passionate about using their gifts for the glory of God, and I am excited to see how they will all grow as Christian musicians in the two years I will spend in school with them.
Wheaton College is, of course, a school, which means that substantial time is spent studying. My classes this semester have all been fairly challenging. Two-thirds of my credit hours this semester come from non-music classes, which is new for me. The immediate effect is that I spend a lot more time reading. It can be a big of a drag for me at times, but on the whole I am enjoying developing that part of my intellect. I finished two classes at the end of A quad, so I will have a somewhat lighter schedule B quad; I hope to be disciplined enough to use the extra time to give more attention to my remaining classes.
Going back to the beginning of the semester, I am happy to say that I won a seat in the Symphony Orchestra for this season. I now have twice as many performances, but I am really enjoying playing with the orchestra. We had our first full concert two weekends ago and it was a great success. One friend who was in attendance said that we sounded as good at the beginning of our season as last year’s orchestra did at the end. [You can watch the archived video of the concert here.]
This semester has not been without substantial challenges (beyond the challenges of my coursework itself). About three weekends ago, I felt myself running out of energy. It concerned me at first, for normally I do not run out of energy after only five weeks of a semester. That weekend, though, happened to be the orchestra concert I just mentioned. After the concert, I discovered that the “burned out” feeling was gone. I concluded that I had lacked a sense of accomplishment until that point. The concert was my first performance of the year in all senses of the word – I had not even had any major papers, exams, or projects yet in any of my classes. I suppose that the cycle of doing homework and then going to class (or, alternatively, practicing and then going to rehearsal) had started to seem endless, but God provided a performance opportunity that, as Dr. Dan Sommerville, the orchestra director, said, was more than we could ask or imagine, and that I found immensely refreshing.
Finally, as I mentioned in my last post, this school year marks the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Wheaton College. From the redesigned College letterhead to the year verse on banners all over campus, we are in full celebration of God’s hand in the institution’s history this year. President Litfin is using his series of chapel sermons this year to reflect on the administrations of each of his predecessors and how God has used them to make Wheaton what it is today.
It occurred to me that it has not yet been five years since I decided to pursue music in college. It was maybe four years ago that Wheaton College became my dream school, just less than three years ago that I auditioned for the Conservatory, three years less two months and a week I received by mail an offer of admission, and two years and two months ago I began my freshman year. I wonder from time to time what exactly I did to deserve this blessing of going to Wheaton College. Then I answer my own question – I did nothing to deserve it. It is a gift from God, pure and simple. Sure, maybe I qualified for admission, but I owe those qualifications to God as well. Looking back on the last two months and seeing all of God’s blessings only confirms for me that God does indeed want me at Wheaton College, and I can only hope to use my time there to strengthen my relationship with Him and serve the community there for His glory.
This is Rubio, over and out.