When you walk into Dr. Brown’s office, you will notice that attached to his desk is a piano keyboard. An unusual attachment to a desk, until you realize that Dr. Brown has a doctorate in conducting. So, take a seat with me, pull up your coffee, and read about one of MBU’s music faculty – Dr. David Brown.
How did you become interested in your field?
Well, I always knew I was going to be involved in music somehow. As I got into high school, around 10th and 11th grade, a calling to pursue music became clearer as I was excelling in band and in choir. I also had a lot of good and godly people in my life who were recommending that I major in music when I go to college, so I thought it was a good idea to listen to their counsel.
What is your educational background?
I went to a big public school in Philadelphia. In fact, there were a thousand seniors in my high school class. So yeah, it was a big school. During our senior year, our youth pastor took us on a college trip to visit several different colleges. One of them was Bob Jones, and I was very impacted by the people I met down there. I ended up attending Bob Jones for college because I knew it was the right place to help me to prepare for ministry. After I completed my undergraduate studies in trombone performance, I applied to be a graduate assistant and earned my masters in, once again, trombone performance. I spent the next four years studying choir conducting at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and earned my doctorate.
What did you do before you came to MBU?
I taught in Kansas City in a local school and church. I did everything you can imagine in school music. I was also the church’s choir director and music pastor on and off for a number of years.
What brought you to MBU?
The MBU band came to my school one day, and they played really well. The thing that really struck me was the way the kids conducted themselves. They were just really sweet, godly kids, and I hardly knew anything about Maranatha at that point – I just knew that they were coming to play in chapel. Needless to say, I was very impressed. Anyways, during that chapel, Dr. Townsend asked me to lead one of the songs. So I jumped up there, and I had a lot fun with the Maranatha kids. I didn’t know this until much later, but after the group got back to Maranatha, they told the administration about this guy out in Kansas City. Dr. Budahl was getting ready to retire, so while on band tour, they had been looking for someone who might replace him. Meanwhile, my wife and I were sitting back in Kansas City going, “We need to check out Maranatha because it’s such a great school!” And so, the Lord worked everything out. We loved the people in Kansas City, but we knew it was the right time to move onto the next stage of life. We are so thankful that God brought my wife and I to Maranatha.
What is your favorite part about MBU?
Being able to teach students how to live for God, and then students coming back to tell of the impact. People ask me all the time, “What is your favorite class?” The thing is, every class I go to is my favorite class to teach. God’s given me a love for my responsibilities over here.
Do you have advice for prospective students?
Well, I would say that we really put our mission statement into practice—preparing leaders for the mission field after. And I think that when our graduates leave, they love – for the most part – local church ministry. They are also sharpened so that they can make a difference in the world. So to be frank, I think that Maranatha does a really good job of living out her mission statement. Of course, the academic excellence is there; but it is also running side by side with this love for the Lord, and a desire to get plugged into the local church in order to use your talents to worship the Lord. Ultimately, there’s a really good balance of academic and spiritual excellence here at Maranatha. If you want to make an impact for Christ, come here and listen to the heartbeat of MBU.
What is a proud moment from your life?
Oh my word, that’s an easy question. My proudest moment in my life is the day I married my wife. Her name’s Ruth, and I’m so thankful to the Lord for giving her to me. I asked her to play for my senior recital for my undergraduate studies, and she told me no because she thought I was a little rough around the edges since I am from Philly. She was also a year ahead of me, which meant that she was in graduate school and I was finishing my bachelor degree. I knew the dean of graduate studies and was eating lunch with him one day, and I told him that I didn’t have an accompanist for my recital, and the person I had asked (Ruth) turned me down. Well, he was carrying around a manila folder that had the schedules of the graduate students. He pulled out Ruth’s schedule and mentioned that it was a little light that semester. Then, he basically assigned her to play for my recital. She got a note that told her that she would be playing for Dave Brown’s trombone recital. That didn’t go over too well and the first few practices were quite rough. But, we met for a whole year every week, and I started thinking, “how would I do life and ministry without this girl? She’s a keeper! She’s wonderful!”
What is your salvation testimony?
When I was seven or eight, my Sunday school teacher was teaching that not knowing Jesus was the same as being lost. I’d been in church ever since I was a baby, but on that particular Sunday, that teachers’ lesson really resonated with me. It finally dawned on me that I was separated from God, which I took personally. That very afternoon, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I was baptized a year or two later. And recently, I connected with my Sunday school teacher, and she mentioned that there was a big, positive difference in my character after I was saved. Apparently I was a bad kid, but that changed as soon as I took my relationship with God seriously. There was definitely a big difference between when I was lost and when I was found.
Can you tell us about your family?
My son, Will, and his wife, Janine, teach at Turner High School in Beloit, WI. They are both band directors. Will is in charge of the senior high band, and Janine is the middle school band director. They both have their rehearsals in the same room, so they get to tag team and help each other out. My other daughter, Audrey, is in Oconomowoc, WI working in a chiropractor’s office doing marketing. We get to see our kids all the time, and I’m grateful to have my family around!
Do you have any hobbies?
I like hunting and working on cars. I am a huge Packers fan, so if watching the Packers play is a hobby, you can add that in too.
Are you working on any big projects right now?
Every year, my big project mainly focuses on preparing the band and choir for tour. Band tour comes first, and then Madrigal follows after. Honestly, both are in really good shape now, and I cannot wait to start travelling with the kids again. I’d say that preparing the band and choir for tour is my big project every year.