This year the Music Department hired Benjamin Klemme as a full time faculty member. Klemme has taken over a large number of David Rox’s previous responsibilities and has also expanded the role to include a new host of exciting opportunities for students.
Klemme conducts both the symphonic band and orchestra as well as various instrumental ensembles. The cohesion of having the same conductor and director for both the orchestra and band has enabled a new unity within the department. In the words of Sarita Kwok, the chair of the music department, Klemme has already instigated changes within the orchestral ensembles, which is evident through the palpable “synergy and energy” he has created. Kwok further described her new colleague as a “leader, educator, collaborator, and innovator with a wealth of experience musically.”
Klemme made his debut at Gordon through a convocation presentation last spring, where he shared his experience engaging with communities through musical collaboration. During his visit, he was touched by Gordon students’ enthusiasm, as well as the integration of faith and learning present in the music department. In addition to his instrumental ensemble leadership, Klemme teaches courses in instrumental conducting, advanced and entry level. In the fall he teaches a course called “Music and Worship” that is open to all Gordon students. It examines the privilege individuals have to make music in the ears of God and discusses how to do so with a commitment to scripture.
Throughout his career, Klemme developed a core passion for promoting collaborations between the musicians and their broader communities. From his framework of teaching, the liberal arts environment at Gordon is stimulating, as it allows for students to see “the discipline in which they are engaged in relationship with the other disciplines they experience throughout the curriculum.”
The repertoire Klemme chose for the music department’s last concert on Nov. 2 was written by composers traveling abroad. The concert illustrates an intricate auditory mosaic filled with global perspectives and images of Christian engagement. Doctor Klemme summarized his prayer and heart for the students at Gordon, saying: “We have a unique responsibility as Christian musicians to share our art form in a way that brings us into relationship with the people around us, in order to reflect the radiance of the Savior we love and who has redeemed us.”
The department was recently gifted an anonymous donation toward scholarships for music students, as well as students passionate about music who are not music majors. This fall the department announced new music scholarships allowing up to $28 thousand per year for majors and scholarships ranging from one thousand to three thousand dollars annually for other majors willing to participate in ensembles.