Gala celebrates Southwestern’s distinction as ‘All-Steinway School’
Now with 76 Steinway pianos, Southwestern Seminary has officially earned the rare designation of being an “All-Steinway School,” a title held by only 187 institutions worldwide. This achievement was celebrated during the seminary’s 13th annual Gala, April 5, which featured the Southwestern Master Chorale, Southwestern Singers, and Chapel Choir as they performed alongside the Southwestern International Children’s Choir and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Ron Losby, president of Steinway & Sons, attended the Gala and applauded Southwestern’s School of Church Music for its devotion to musical excellence. “The power of music to me is the penultimate power in the world, and as we have just seen, it helps us to support the ultimate power in the world,” Losby said. “By committing to the number of instruments that are going to touch the lives of many students here for years to come, it shows that Southwestern believes that, in this life, excellence matters.”
Losby also commended First Lady Dorothy Patterson for her efforts to make Southwestern an all-Steinway school. When the announcement was officially made that Southwestern had earned this distinction, Patterson herself pressed the button to activate six double canons that launched gold, white and black streamers across MacGorman Chapel in celebration.
This achievement was made possible by the generous gifts of numerous friends of Southwestern, and it will ensure that current and future students can practice and perform on the highest quality instruments. Dean of the School of Church Music Leo Day said, “For generations to come, thousands of students are going to be able to study under the finest faculty, at the finest school, and on the finest instruments. So let’s celebrate!”
Prior to the Gala, Southwestern President Paige Patterson, First Lady Dorothy Patterson, and Losby signed the 76th Steinway piano to commemorate the event. The piano will be placed in Mathena Hall, future home of the College at Southwestern and the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.
The Gala also featured Southwestern alumnus Jeff Bumgardner (Master of Music, 2001), an award-winning songwriter, who was awarded with the School of Church Music Alumnus of the Year award. He performed “Ever Faithful” and “When I think of Bethlehem” from his musical “We’re Glad You Came,” which won the 2015 Dove Award for Musical of the Year.
In addition, Master of Music student Robert Myers was recognized as the winner of the 2016 Southwestern Composer Competition for his arrangement of “Divinum Mysterium,” also known as “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” As the winner of the competition, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performed his arrangement.
Concluding the Gala, 16 Southwestern student soloists joined in a special performance of “Amazing Grace.” Each student sang a portion of the song in his/her native language. A total of 12 countries were represented including India, Japan, Zimbabwe and South Korea. President Patterson said the performance was “easily the most moving moment [he had] been in in a long, long time.”