Campus News

Bethel’s worship arts department finalizes its new facility’s renovation

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The worship arts department’s facility renovations are nearly completed. What was once Bethel College Marketing Communication’s (MarCom) base of operations is now a small recording facility for the worship arts department. The department is in its second full year of existence at Bethel. The changes to the new facility include swipe-access to the program’s new recording booth, as well as a top-quality isolation booth, which will be added soon. The facility is very much in the stages of being refined; it currently sits as a slender house with a few rooms and some scattered move-in boxes. The facility just received a pair of comfy couches, which helps add to the facility’s cozy and welcoming entranceway. The computer monitors are equipped with Pro Tools, the same software used by the recording studios in Nashville where some of the current worship arts students helped record a department album, “Anchor in the Undertow,” which released last year.
Students Zechariah Good and Seth Cole making use of the new equipment in the new recording studio.
Worship arts professor Terry Linhart was able to discuss some of the facility’s progress. “Students were able to begin work in the facility around the end of January as we had hoped they would be able to,” said Linhart. “It didn’t look pretty at first in here, but they could at least do their classwork.” Linhart continued, “It’s not completely finished, but we’re doing little changes as we can afford them. What we’re trying to do is create a space for students to come and do their work and get hands-on experience with Pro Tools and other great software.” Linhart emphasized the importance of developing the studio over time and when the funds are present. Further additions to the facility will eventually include a fully isolated recording room, which is still in its earliest stages. Linhart is also working on eventually making additions such as a soundproof door, an on-looking window from one studio to the next studio over and final cosmetic touch-ups, such as painting and decorations, to be added in the middle of March. Linhart hopes to record the department’s first songs in the facility in April. However, another treat may also be available soon, as Linhart announced a future possibility to use the facility’s equipment, which stems from the quirkier side of worship arts. “We hope to also record one of Dr. (Cristian) Mihut’s songs of philosophy in April for fun just to see what we can do,” said Linhart with a smile. Andrea Neumayer, a liberal studies and worship arts double-major, spoke on what has made this new facility so great. “It’s going to be a great place for the future of the worship arts (department’s) students,” said Neumayer. “The equipment is top-dollar and great quality.” Neumayer said that the equipment in the new studios is similar to the equipment used when she and a handful of other worship arts students went to Nashville to record a CD last year. “Although this is new right now, we’re not just getting by with our equipment,” said Neumayer. “We’re going to do things right, so that the quality can be great, both now and for the future.” The department is in the early stages of figuring things out, and has had to go through various hiccups in technology as they learn how to best use the new equipment. “There’s a lot of guinea pigs right now with the students as we try to figure out how to make everything work right, but we’re getting there,” said Neumayer. Neumayer, like other worship arts students, has already put the facility to good use, working on a recording project for one of her classes. She and her partner for the class are to record a song with at least four separate tracks. Multi-track recording is something in which this facility is encouraging its up-and-coming artists to continually grow. “Having access to the facility is inspiring for artists wanting to make their own music,” said Neumayer. “This is an opportunity to have people put to paper the songs that have been in their heads or waiting at their fingertips. It’s an inspiration to those who are aspiring to be more than just a local musician or more than someone who plays what’s already been written by someone else.” Neumayer claims these renovations are not just for now but for the future as well. “It definitely gives a good vibe for the department and its future,” said Neumayer. “If I were a high schooler and I heard that a place wasn’t even 2 years old and it already had a studio where you could go in and record, and it’s exclusive to your major, that would be attention-grabbing. How many other colleges have a studio on campus that you have access to instead of going through somebody else?” Part of the vision for the facility is the ability to be able to record CDs, which Neumayer believes will be good for the college as a whole. CDs will be produced and published here on campus, which would again serve to set Bethel apart from other colleges. “We might be young and late to the game with just getting a worship arts program, but we definitely want to develop the program as best as it can be,” said Neumayer. Neumayer is a senior and will be graduating shortly after the facility and worship arts program are beginning at Bethel, but she still enjoys seeing things like this happening. “It really makes me want to take advantage of the facility and the equipment while I do have it and use it here and now,” said Neumayer. “It has been a motivation to get over there and play around with instruments I don’t play. There are literally thousands of sounds ready to use.” Neumayer contined, “This program is really just starting to bloom. To know that all of this has happened in such a short amount of time makes me excited to see what will happen in the soon future. What it’s going to be like in a year from now, I can only imagine how great it’s going to be.” Linhart concluded that Bethel’s worship arts department is distinguished from other schools’ programs because it has a clear awareness of creating leaders, while also providing state-of-the-art software for its students. “Ultimately, the program is about creating church leaders,” said Linhart. “This facility isn’t the focus of the program at all. But there’s no program, at least as far as the Midwest in concerned, that has this kind of daily access with software as great as Pro Tools and Addictive Drums.”
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