Faith, Scholarship, and Music Blend at Local Conference

E PriceThe Society of Christian Scholarship in Music (SCSM) convened at Trinity Christian College on February 20-21 for its annual meeting. The conference, hosted by Dr. Yudha Thianto, professor of theology, and Dr. Mark Peters,professor of music, drew nearly 50 music scholars from around the world and featured several key events that celebrated music and scholarship in the context of Christianity.

The first event, a panel discussion, welcomed Columbia College Professor James Falzone and Northeastern University Professor/Consultant Emmett Price, Ph.D., focusing on John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (1964). 

The February 20 lecture was hosted by both the music and English departments. “The Cave and the Cathedral: Meaning-Making in the Dark” was delivered by Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image journal. Using examples from the film “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” Wolfe highlighted the “oneness” with the Creator depicted in ancient cave drawings, contrasted with a sense of “egoism” expressed through modern works of art. In a post-lecture summary, students said they gained a deeper realization that art is not separate from God, but entwined, because “art, at its core, is worship.”

E PriceOther presenters included Trinity alumnus Adam Perez ’13 and Dr. Aron Reppmann ’92, professor of philosophy, who submitted papers to the association for the meeting.

A third feature event of the conference was a free concert performed by Falzone’s ALLOS MUSICA. The quartet played a variety of pieces, including a few of Falzone’s originals. Playing wind, string, and percussion instruments, the group took listeners through a musical journey of different cultures from around the world.

The SCSM had its first conference in March of 2002 with a focus on bringing faith and academic research together. The 2014 meeting at Trinity was a wonderful example of melding Christian music and scholarship.  

Peters has served on the executive committee of the SCSM and as chair of the publication committee. He now acts as publisher of the SCSM newsletter. “I’ve been involved with the SCSM for nearly 10 years, and it was exciting to host this year’s meeting of the society at Trinity,” he said. “Both Trinity and the SCSM place a high value on Christian approaches to scholarship and on interdisciplinary dialogue, so it was a natural fit. Those attending the conference were impressed with Trinity’s commitment to Christian scholarship and by the welcoming spirit they found here.”