SNU professor's mission goes beyond music

Musicians regularly deal with pitch, dynamics, balance, blend, tone and rhythm. They are the mechanics of music, and each could be considered an important piece in a larger musical puzzle. Singers, however, also must concern themselves with text, often in languages other than English.

D. Brent Ballweg, a professor of music at Southern Nazarene University and conductor of the SNU Chorale, has spent more than 25 years dealing with these issues. But he sees his mission in a broader context, one that puts equal emphasis on building relationships with his students and fellow faculty members.


"There’s so much more to this than just the music making,” Ballweg said recently. "The experiences we create together are what we’re going to remember for years to come. These are students who keep in touch with me long after they’ve graduated. That’s what makes all this worthwhile.”


Over the years, Ballweg has established relationships with several people he considers mentors: John Wyatt, minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Bartlesville; Michael Cox, Ballweg’s conducting teacher at Oklahoma Baptist University; and Eph Ehly, a nationally known choral conductor who spent 27 years teaching at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ballweg also includes noted British composer John Rutter and conductor Paul Salamunovich among his mentors, both of whom he worked closely with while pursuing his master’s and doctoral degrees.


Reflecting on his 10 years at SNU, Ballweg said his choral ensembles have grown in terms of being able to handle more difficult repertoire. They’ve also been exposed to a wider variety of musical styles and different languages.


Ballweg has spent the past several weeks preparing his chorale for a performance at a Valentine’s weekend dinner and silent auction. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Atrium of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, 6789 NW 39th Expressway.  Tickets can be obtained by calling the SNU Music Office at (405) 491-6345. Proceeds from the event will help fund the SNU Chorale’s tour to Austria and the Czech Republic in May. Four alums for this summer concert tour will join two dozen current singers.


"SNU provides no money for this trip, so it’s up to us to raise money,” he said. "It costs about $2,900 per person for the 10-day tour. Because it’s such a financial challenge, the singers have been out trying to sell enough ads to fill our concert program.


"For the tour, we’ll be performing in the Salzburg Cathedral, an incredible abbey in Melk, Austria, and possibly St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. We’re also scheduled to sing in churches in Vienna and Prague. Getting to perform in these different venues will be a great education for our students.”


---Rick Rogers, Published:  February 7, 2010.  
  Copyright 2010, OPUBCO Communications Group 


Making music that counts. Studying privately, playing in ensembles, singing music of faith, the SNU School of Music provides musical opportunities for all students who wish to make music a vital part of their college experience. SNU's School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music and offers programs of excellence immersed in an atmosphere of service.


For more information on Dr. Brent Ballweg or the SNU Choral ensembles, contact the Southern Nazarene University School of Music at SNU School of Music 6729 N.W. 39th Expressway Bethany, OK 73008.  Phone: 405-491-6345 Email: