Many children seem to dread piano lessons and must be forced by their parents to practice each day. For John Cornish, however, the piano intrigued him even at the age of six, and his parents often had to force him to stop practicing. It only makes sense, then, that Cornish later went on to major in music at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., before coming to Southwestern Seminary in 2006 to earn his Master of Music degree.

“I understand that music has a God-given power to communicate in ways that words cannot, and in places that words cannot,” Cornish said. “I have been on mission trips in Asia, to places that are not open to the Gospel. You can’t openly preach there, but we were allowed to openly sing the very Gospel.”

Cornish fulfilled what he called the “capstone project” of the Master of Music degree during his Graduate Conducting Recital, Oct. 10. The program, which involved a year and a half of preparation, consisted of choral and instrumental renderings of several versions of the “Requiem Mass.” According to Cornish, the music selections were intended to portray the contrast between the “wages of sin” and the life found in God.

According to David Thye, professor of church music, Cornish concluded the concert with compositions that “reinforced and celebrated our eternal hope as believers in Christ Jesus.” Among these compositions was a prayerful piece by Cornish, titled “Abide With Me.”

“Mr. Cornish's graduate conducting recital was a creative, artistic, and stellar musical event,” Thye said. “His superb conducting was highlighted by his command of the choral and instrumental musical forces performing in the event.”