Grace College is pleased to announce the addition of a worship arts major in the fall of 2016. Walter Brath will join Grace’s School of Arts and Sciences faculty in the department of visual, performing, and media arts as assistant professor of worship arts and program director of performing arts.
The worship arts major is designed to prepare students for the multi-faceted role of the modern music worship setting. It will prepare students to support a primary pastor or worship minister within the worship environment. With proficiencies in keyboard, voice, percussion and guitar, students will combine musicianship with courses in worship music history, theory, theology and spiritual formation, along with the live performance and production in their emphasis area.
Aided by his experience as an undergraduate music professor and an extensive background in worship music ministry, Brath will lead in building the new worship arts program. He will implement new academic opportunities for students to develop skills that will fuse musical talents with leadership, technology, visual art and design or theatre arts.
“Being a leader in the worship arts is so much more than knowing the latest worship song or technology,” said Brath. “My life’s passion is to give students the vision and skills to think theologically, to be trained in their area of interest, and have the ability to effectively lead others.” Brath has traveled internationally as worship leader, musician, and educator. He has trained worship teams and has conducted orchestra and adult and children’s choirs. Brath anticipates using his 27 years of experience as a worship pastor and educator to equip and embolden students in worship arts.
“Through the new worship arts program at Grace College, students will acquire skills for diverse musical styles and expressions used in a variety of modern worship settings. They will explore the ways in which audio/visual technology is utilized in today’s churches, studios and schools,” said Brath. In addition to music theory, instrumental and vocal training, students will “acquire an understanding of the relational dynamics of a team and necessary leadership skills,” he continued.
Brath holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a Master of Arts in ethnomusicology from Liberty University. Brath is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Worship Studies and is a member of the Society of Ethnomusicologists (SEM) and the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE).
Kim M. Reiff, department chair of visual, performing and media arts at Grace College, stated, “We are thrilled to have Professor Brath step into this significant role. As a proficient musician and an experienced worship leader in cross-cultural settings, he exemplifies our belief that music, as a form of worship, is fundamental to human creative expression and is without cultural boundaries. He will serve our students well as they learn how to use their musical gifts to serve others.”
Brath currently teaches at Crown College in Minnesota. A native of LaPorte, Ind., Brath, along with his wife Shana and children Graydon, Karissa and Levi, will move to Winona Lake to begin his appointment on June 1, 2016.
For more information about the new worship arts program, visit www.grace.edu, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-974-7223 or 574-372-5100, ext. 6021.