Six years ago today, the Stevens Street School of Performing Arts opened its doors for the first time. We began with four teachers, 22 students, and a vision for reclaiming the creative arts in the Name of the Creator God.
It’s amazing how much can happen in six years!
Back then, the school was only open for five hours a week, and typically had no more than three lessons going on at any given time. I was still technically a volunteer at the church, making only a small stipend for my time in the office. I was opening a coffee shop in the morning, teaching music in the afternoon, and waiting tables at Outback in the evenings. It was my fervent prayer then that one day I would be able to devote myself fully to serving the local church through the School of Performing Arts.
Within two years, God had answered that prayer. I was able to join the full-time staff at Stevens Street Baptist Church, and have never looked back! At every step along the way, I’ve been blessed to see the many ways God has provided for the increase of our school. We have outgrown two facilities, and are now in a GREAT location within the church campus. This Fall our school is open sixteen hours a week, teaching as many as eight students at a time!
Today, we have fourteen instructors and over one hundred students, but our vision remains the same. In fact, this vision was recently codified into four “Guiding Principles”, which will help us stay focused on that vision as the scope of our ministry grows:
- We desire to attract instructors with the highest qualities of musicianship, character, and spiritual maturity.
- We believe that music has intrinsic value because it allows for the creation of art that is true, beautiful, and good; characteristics that reflect the nature of the Creator God who has designed music to bring Him glory.
- We believe in a holistic approach to learning an instrument, which includes note reading, music listening, playing characteristically in a variety of styles, and adhering to accepted standards of concert etiquette.
- We seek to encourage our students to make music in community through the development of various ensembles and classes.
Just last week, we began growing in several different directions, beyond just being a place for private lessons. We started our first two chamber ensembles; one for stringed instruments and one for woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. These are the seeds of what will eventually become a community youth orchestra and band — something I’ve been eagerly anticipating since the day we opened! We also began our first off-campus lessons, sending some teachers out to teach lessons in local schools.
At the beginning of 2012, we’re going to start offering other music classes, which homeschoolers can take for credit, and others can take for their own personal enjoyment. Classes in music theory, music history, and worldview studies will be available. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you this is what I get MOST excited about… I love these subjects, and can’t wait to start teaching them!
As you can see, I am so very proud of our school, and looking forward to many, many more years of watching it grow!