CU Musical Group Credo Tours Local Schools and Churches
Throughout the months of March and April, Cornerstone University a cappella ensemble Credo toured four local schools and an area church—spreading both the joy of music and the gospel to students and congregations..
After two years without the ability to travel, as is typical for some musical groups at Cornerstone, the five-voice ensemble had the opportunity to perform and worship across West Michigan. The group, three of whom are freshman, have only performed at a handful of off-campus venues since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And for Caleb VanderMaas (B.A. ’23) and Emily Denbow (B.A. ’24), it was a joy to be back on the road again.
“As an education major,” VanderMaas said, “it’s refreshing for me to be in a school environment, studying under our director, Dr. Kent Walters, as he’s working with high school students.”
Both VanderMaas and Denbow are music education students at Cornerstone. As they toured area high schools—which included South Christian High School, Zion Christian High School and Jenison High School—they realized that their love for music and singing was the reason they came to Cornerstone to pursue their calling. Now, they have the opportunity to share that joy with others.
Credo also performed and worshiped at Lifestream Church in Allendale, Mich., Denbow’s home church. Denbow has been involved on the worship team at Lifestream, but experiencing that same worship with her ensemble brought a new dimension to the service.
“I’ve been on the worship team at Lifestream for as long as I can remember, ” Denbow said. “I didn’t think anything new could happen. Being able to combine my school life with my church life was really fulfilling.”
Dr. Kent Walters, professor of music and director of music programs at Cornerstone, is encouraged by how his students have worked and learned together throughout the year.
“They’ve really grown in confidence, both musically and personally,” Walters said. During Credo tours, members of the ensemble often share their testimonies or, in the case of visiting high schools, answer students’ questions. “Not only have they become confident in themselves, but now when they move into their career fields, they can begin to teach others about those same kinds of things.”
Credo will continue to tour throughout the spring and beyond the end of the semester, staying within the West Michigan area. Walters hopes to bring both Credo and Chorale, Cornerstone’s larger music ensemble, on a tour out of state. In the past, the groups have traveled to Florida, Chicago the east coast and Europe. In spring 2020, Walters had planned a Chorale tour of Asia, which was canceled due to the pandemic.
“At Cornerstone University, we place a high value and emphasis on experiential learning,” said Dr. Gerson Moreno Riaño, president of Cornerstone. “Credo’s tour is an example of our incredible students sharing their gifts in the community and engaging in the study of music.”
Despite the challenges from the last few years, music programs at Cornerstone have found unique ways to continue to perform, and Walters was glad to get Credo back on the road again. He believes it is an important aspect of their development as musicians and Christ followers.
“It gives me great personal satisfaction to see these students grow and learn musically, spiritually and socially, and for me to have a small impact on their life,” Walters said. “Thanks be to God for that!”
University Chorale, Credo and the Cornerstone Women’s Chorus will perform in the final choral concert of the year on Sunday, April 24 at 4 p.m. in Matthews Performing Arts Center.
Audrey DeBoer (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.
In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.