TWU students make conducting debut in Handel’s Messiah production

Langley, B.C.—Seven Trinity Western University students made their conducting debuts in a major music production, and they haven’t even graduated yet. This Easter, Roxi Dykstra, Rebecca Friesen, Brigette Ross, Dan Steenburgh, Jacqueline White, Danielle Wray and Graham Yates each took turns conducting a portion of Handel’s Messiah Highlights concert, while J.I. Packer hosted. Wes Janzen D.M.A, TWU music professor and the Director of Choral activities, was responsible for giving these talented students this unique opportunity.

"It’s a privilege to give these enormously talented young people a challenging learning experience in the performing arts,” says Janzen, a long-time Langley resident.

The program featured the TWU Concert Choir, TWU Chamber Choir, and members of the Vancouver Symphony and CBC Orchestras.

“It was really a thrill to be on the podium staring into the eyes of the orchestra and choir members—all anxiously awaiting my cue,” says Graham Yates of his conducting debut. Yates is a senior music and theology major, who is also a bass singer in the TWU Chamber Choir.

“As a result of this experience and encouragement from my peers, I want to continue the pursuit of conducting and the study of piano at the graduate level,” he says. “When someone is affirmed by professional musicians, it really helps them to grow as an artist, and that says a lot about what Trinity's music department has accomplished with me.”

Co-conductor Daniel Steenburgh shares his classmates’ excitement. “I felt honoured to work with members of USO and CBC Orchestra,” says the double religious studies and philosophy major. “They were so gracious and encouraging; everyone involved in the project embraced this educational project with the utmost support and patience. I’m also grateful for the confidence Janzen has in us, by investing in this risky venture.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping