Musical ministry at Maranatha takes place on and off campus. Most of our university's music groups go on tour each year, providing blessings to church members through beautiful music while also promoting the ministry of Maranatha. The groups rotate tour schedules, but most tours last one or two weeks. Approximately 25% of our student body participates in Maranatha's vocal/instrumental groups and dramatic productions. Performing group members have the opportunity to see new places, meet new people, and enjoy the ministry of sharing Christ with others through music.
The Chamber Singers tour each year, generally for about one week. Every second year, the tour is extended to include spring break, enabling travel to more distant states. The choir also performs on campus, locally, and for regional conferences. Members remark about the fellowship and joy of having their musical skills sharpened. A significant portion of the repertoire is performed a cappella. Auditions for new and returning choir members take place each year during the fall semester. Chamber Singers CDs include Spirit of God, In Heavenly Love Abiding, Abide With Me, and Softly and Tenderly. Their newest recording is How Can I Keep from Singing and includes works by Rutter, Shaw, and Chamber members, Backhaus and King.
The Maranatha Chorale, a part of music history at the University, was revived in the fall of 2009 under the direction of music faculty member Daniel Birnschein and is now under the direction of Alumnus Peter Wright.
The Chorale ministers for on-campus events and chapels, area ministry opportunities, and local churches throughout the semester. This choir also joins the Chamber Singers and Madrigal Choirs for combined choir/orchestra numbers for special on-campus events.
The Chorale and Madrigal Choir were the two groups created by Music Department Chair Dr. Don Scovill when the college opened in the fall of 1968. The Chorale was renamed the Chamber Singers in 1986.
The Maranatha Baptist University Percussion Ensemble is a 14-member group that includes students playing orchestra bells, chimes, three marimbas and a bass marimba, a xylophone, two vibraphones, and a host of other percussion instruments. The group tours every year at Christmastime, presenting a delightful program of sacred and secular Christmas music.
Everywhere they travel, the Percussion Ensemble receives enthusiastic responses from audience members, preschool to senior citizens. You will find the Percussion Ensemble in churches, schools, malls, banquet halls, and anywhere that 50 pieces of percussion equipment can fit. You are sure to be delighted by Maranatha’s Percussion Ensemble.
Under the direction of Dr. David Brown, the Madrigal Choir performs a wide assortment of sacred music including psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, classic works, and spirituals. The choir sings a cappella, or with handbells, wind instruments, strings, or piano.
The choir normally tours for one week each year. The group takes an extended tour every other year that includes spring break, enabling travel to more distant states. The choir also performs locally, on-campus, and for regional conferences.
This is the oldest performing group on campus, founded in 1968 with 17 members and 37 bells. It now tours with 40+ singers and five octaves of handbells.
The Madrigal Choir seeks to minister for the Lord in the spiritual relationships of the choir members, university family, community, and church constituency in an honorable and edifying manner that is enriching and deepening, clear, and beautiful. Entrance is by audition only. Open auditions are held at the beginning of each fall semester.
From the early days of the school to the present, Maranatha has placed a high priority on music education for its students. Believing that a variety of musical opportunities are important for both musical academics and extracurricular activities, Maranatha has provided the opportunity for students to sing in several choirs, take music lessons, and play in a band or in an orchestra. The Symphony Orchestra has traditionally been the most important medium of instrumental classical composers, and Maranatha’s desire is that any student who wishes to receive a complete and well-rounded education (music major or otherwise) would have the ability to experience that vital form of music.
Because a solid knowledge of classical music is essential for any instrumentalist, classical music forms the basis of the orchestra’s repertoire. The winter and spring concerts form the foundation for the orchestra’s rehearsal hours—four hours a week. At these concerts the orchestra has performed great symphonic works such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, Tschaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, George Chadwick’s Jubilee, several Haydn symphonies, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Smetana’s “The Moldau” from Ma Vlast, and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. During these concerts the orchestra has also performed lighter works such as Leroy Anderson’s Plink, Plank, Plunk, andThe Typewriter and Mozart’s humorous duet Papagena, Papageno.
The Symphony Orchestra is concerned that the next generation of young people grow up hearing excellent music, so the orchestra performs the annual Classical Kids Concert for the community schools, playing classics such as Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and Saint-Saens’Carnival of the Animals.
The orchestra also performs on-campus several times a year, providing special music for the fall Missions Conference and various Christmas and patriotic services. These opportunities prepare the students for a lifetime of ministry, playing the best of sacred music “To the Praise of His Glory.”
The Maranatha Symphonic Band, under the direction of Dr. Rick Townsend since 1996, is a 48-member, all-student group that performs a broad selection of band literature, including sacred and secular classics.
The band performs at campus events, including the triennial All Campus Bedtime Story, a local children’s concert, and several chapels for the entire Maranatha community, including patriotic Religious Liberty Day chapel, a popular Christmas chapel, and a worshipful and moving Good Friday Chapel in the spring. The band also tours, performing 15-20 concerts in schools and churches across the nation each year.
The Band has three separate recordings available for purchase at the Maranatha Bookstore.
- Tidings of Comfort, Tidings of Joy, a two-disc Christmas CD including works by the symphonic band and the percussion ensemble.
- An American Salute, an inspiring collection of sacred and patriotic band works.
- Resurrection!, a musical reflection on the events of the passion week. Listen to excerpts from their newly released CD
For information about the band, we encourage you to contact MBU Symphonic Band directorDr. Rick D. Townsend. We would love to hear from you.