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Music Department's Mission Trip to Peru

June 13, 2012 (Jackson) - Two Belhaven music professors, Dr.Christopher Shelt and Dr. Andrew Sauerwein, traveled to Trujillo, Peru and taught at the second largest national conservatory of music, the Conservatorio Carlos Valderrama. Rachel Reese (’10), a concert violinist and string instructor, invited them come to Peru in May and teach.

Reese has served as a full-time faculty member with the conservatory and music missionary with Peru Mission in Trujillo for the last year and a half. The goal for Reese and Peru Mission at the conservatory is to raise-up musical leadership for the growing number of newly planted churches in the greater Trujillo area.

Dr. Shelt said: "The greatest treat we experienced was seeing Rachel Reese in action. Her mastery of Spanish, her adaptation to the culture, the respect she has earned in the musical community, and her earnest efforts on behalf of the Kingdom of God are nothing short of spectacular. Rachel has blossomed as a musician and as a person in this environment."

Rachel was a participant, along with Dr. Shelt and Dr. Saerwein, on the very first Belhaven Connections trip in 2007 and all three returned with a team in 2009.Belhaven Connections is the musical missions arm of the Belhaven University Department of Music. Reese is one of three Belhaven music graduates who have done full-time work in musical missions. Ellie Honea (‘11) and Abi Lavallee Lowther (’98) are the other two music graduates that serve in Japan.

While there, Dr. Shelt taught a course Training the Human Voice in four-hour sessions Monday through Thursday. “The conservatory students still remember our previous trips in their midst. They were extraordinarily eager learners, sponges absorbing everything they were being taught. We also had times to share our personal testimonies with a number of students and to teach the foundations of a Christian Worldview of the Arts,” said Dr. Shelt.

Dr. Sauerwein, whose discipline is composition, looked at Peruvian students’ compositions and gave critiques and advice. He also introduced Cobra, a composition by John Zorn that has no traditional musical notation and required the students to use improvisation. This was very popular among the Peruvian students.

Dr. Shelt also rehearsed and directed the conservatory choir in Andre Thomas’ "Keep your Lamps", Ken Parker’s "Listen to the Hammer Ring" and Dr. Sauerwein’s "The Lord in the Manger." To conclude the week’s activities, Reese organized the first instrumental contest in the Trujillo area. A total of 19 contestants competed for prize money while Dr. Shelt and Dr. Sauerwein served on the panel of judges.

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