Music students express disappointment with university recognition
Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
When junior music education major Evan Williams heard administration was requesting music students to perform during the dedication ceremony of the Alton and Lydia Lym Center for Science, Technology and Health, it felt like a slap in the face.
“That was hard for a lot of us, because the science center is really great, it’s really new and I think it’s a beautiful thing to be supporting the sciences, but we've had the same building since the ‘60s,” Williams said.
Updates about some of the newest investments administration plans to make in athletics programs have done little to ease his frustrations, or those of some of his peers.
The announcement of the intramural and events center in particular caused many music students to worry the Music in Worship building would be demolished. Since the facility holds four of the 14 practice rooms shared between approximately 200 music students, its loss would force musicians to scramble to find areas to practice.
In a letter to the editor, senior director of facilities management Brian Phillips confirmed the events center will not affect the Music in Worship Building.
“The construction of the event center will have little to no impact on the Music and Worship building. While there is a long-term desire to relocate the Music and Worship Department to a new area on campus, no immediate plans have been developed,” Phillips said in the statement.
However, some music students feel their frustration stems from a longer pattern of neglect from the university, according to Williams. The athletics program has recently received two major funding approvals in the wake of Biola’s NCAA Division II entry: the changed construction plans of the events center and the renovation of Chase Gymnasium.
Meanwhile, one student rehearsing in a the Crowell Hall practice rooms can hear music from another three rooms away, according to Williams.
While junior music major Christopher Hutton understands the need for improved athletic facilities to meet the increased demands of Division II, he believes the music department also deserves attention.
“I really get tired of hearing about how much Biola cares about the arts when it’s very clear from how they’re using their funding and what they’ve chosen to renovate and expand. That’s not the message they’re [getting] across,” Hutton said.
FINDING AN AUDIENCE
Williams believes athletics receives more focus because sporting events usually bring in more donors and visitors than concerts, but he also feels music has a religious aspect to it, as well as its own audience.
“Here at Biola, they talk about sending people into all these different fields of cinema or science or education, and they don't really talk about music because most of the time it doesn’t make as much money,” Williams said. “But the idea of music is incredibly impactful… I just think it’s one of the most unique ways to connect with God and to minister to people, especially because for so long, music was written by Christians or religious people.”
Hutton believes that music can draw potential students to Biola if the university invested into the field more. While he does not oppose athletics or the sciences, he feels music students are not receiving recognition for their contributions.
“It’s almost like a golden goose type of scenario,” Hutton said. “We all care about the university, but we’re doing so much and not getting any facilities or any funding to actually practice our craft and do what we love, and that’s going to hurt the university in the long run.”