Foster the People
Oprahâ€™s Ambush Cook
Seeing By Faith Towers Lobby Renovation
8 The mission of Vanguard University is to equip each student for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.
in this issue
When people think of Vanguard University, their first thought is often of the Arts.
fall/winter 2011 | volume 12 | issue 2
At Vanguard, we are privileged to offer some of the best theater, music
Fostering the People........................................... 8
and communications training in
Cubbie Fink ’07 and his band, Foster the People, are taking their upbeat music around the world by way of non-stop tours and appearances on
the country at a private liberal arts
Saturday Night Live and Jay Leno. They are also encouraging their audiences
college. In this special Arts issue of vanguard magazine you will
in each city to become a bunch of do-gooders.
meet leading musicians, filmmakers and performers who are
Oprah’s Ambush Cook...................................... 12
members of the Vanguard community.
Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco ’01 won Oprah Winfrey’s reality show contest
You will enjoy our article about Foster the People bass player
and now hosts her own cooking show on Oprah’s new network. Catch up
Cubbie Fink ’07 who spoke with vanguard magazine just after
with her in our Q and A.
appearing on Saturday Night Live with his popular indie band.
Producing Careers........................................... 16
We offer an interview with Oprah Winfrey Network host
The Holechek brothers had an indie movie hit with their green-screen satire
Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco ’01 who talks with us about taping her
of 300. They continue to follow their dreams — and make a living — as
new show, The Ambush Cook.
producers, television editors and directors of award-winning short films.
And you will read about alums like Brandon Tyra ’03, who
Your Entertainment Calendar. . ............................. 22
works with Dreamworks on the How To Train Your Dragon
VU faculty member and brilliant saxophone player Ken Foerch takes you on
film sequel, and Claire Friday ’04 who explains why she fell in
a musical journey as he recommends concerts and shows at venues around
love with opera while at Vanguard — and turned that passion
into a career.
In every article you will glimpse the strength of our Arts
Message from the President. . ................................ 1
one of the best in the nation, as is our music program, which
programs at Vanguard. Our theater program is by any measure
On Campus.. .................................................... 2
continues to tour prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center,
Carnegie Hall and more. Our communications program
Class Notes.. .................................................. 26
provides skills and confidence for students to take into any field
My Story.. ...................................................... 32 A Vine of His Own Planting. . .............................. 33
and any level of entertainment. In this issue you will even get help with your social calendar — Vanguard faculty member Ken Foerch (who just played Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock and the Los Angeles Philharmonic) has written a column suggesting concerts to catch in the upcoming year.
University Governance Chair, Board of Trustees
At Vanguard we teach students to grow in artistic excellence
Associate Creative Director
and love for Christ, which provides a great foundation as they
Chauncey D. Bayes
Celebrate the Arts with us — it is one of the great strengths of
Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Vice President for Business and Finance
Vice President for Student Affairs
Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management
go into the world to transform it through inspired creativity.
Vanguard University of Southern California, in compliance with laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, disability, national origin, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. vanguard magazine is a free publication published 3 times per year by Vanguard University of Southern California. All contents copyrighted, 2011, Vanguard University of Southern California.
President, Vanguard University
Bulk rate postage paid at Las Vegas, NV. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Vanguard University Alumni Relations Office, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.
Vice President for University Advancement
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
On Campus Students remember 9/11 with ‘walking memorial’ The Vanguard Veterans Resource Center helped the campus community commemorate the tenth year since the September 11 attacks with a “walking memorial.” Photographs depicting the sequence of events that morning were posted along the pathway leading to the Heath building. Three hundred flags flapped in the wind, symbolizing the approximately 3,000 people killed in the attack. “Our freshman students were just eight or nine years old when September 11 happened,” says Brent Theobald ’10, a Marine corps veteran and director of veteran affairs. “Events like this help them to
New student enrollment at a record high Vanguard’s new undergraduate enrollment
helped more potential students experience the
surged to its highest level ever, due to strong
campus community at Vanguard.
recruiting and Vanguard’s continuing academic strength and unique mentoring community.
people in the aftermath of the Twin Towers’ collapse. The last was an artistic rendering of the words, “We Nearby was a wall of remembrance where people
the faculty truly know their students and
increase over last year and a 50% increase
are helping them with their journey. Faculty
over fall 2009.
care about students beyond the classroom and coach them so they are empowered to serve and lead in the name of Christ and his kingdom. Potential students respond to that.”
to Vanguard’s academic offerings and close-
The admissions team has hosted many more
knit community which goes beyond what
on-campus events for potential students,
other institutions provide.”
allowing families to check out Vanguard on a
The SPS program is also experiencing a
pre-9/11 skyline of Manhattan, another a scene of
here,” she says. “The more you immerse
undergraduate students this fall, a 12%
management. “Students continue to be drawn
by a Vanguard faculty and alums. One showed the
will never forget.”
yourself into campus culture you see that
Johnson, interim vice president for enrollment
Inside the Heath rotunda were original paintings
“It’s really amazing, the sense of community
The campus welcomed 581 new
“It’s a huge increase in one year,” says Kim
remember and understand what happened that day.”
schedule that is convenient for them.
placed candles, flowers and written notes. Upstairs the memorial continued with video footage from that day, including footage of a Vanguard team which traveled to New York in December 2001. “It was very moving,” says Theobald. “Many people talked about the visual of the video. People walked through the memorial and took time to reflect.” A member of the Bush administration spoke in chapel about being in Washington, D.C., when the Pentagon was struck. “He was in the middle of a meeting, then went outside
surge due to national trends in workers
“Many more potential students are visiting
finishing their degrees, and to organizational
campus than ever before,” says Johnson.
changes and strategic growth within SPS.
“We’ve created pathways for them to
The event helped students to celebrate the heroes
The program went from 311 students in
come. Once we get students on campus
and to remember this important date in our country’s
2009 to more than 450 today.
and interacting with our current students and
history. Vanguard’s Veterans Resource Center offers
faculty, they want to be part of it.”
services and support for veterans, including career
Johnson says changes in recruiting have
to see the city looking like a war zone,” says Theobald.
counseling, academic support and assistance in finding veterans benefits.
2 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Coming to the Lyceum Theater at Vanguard v a n g u a r d t i c k e ts . c o m
Vanguard University named ‘Best in West’ by Princeton Review Vanguard University is one of the best colleges in the West according to education services company, The Princeton Review. VU is one of 121 institutions The Princeton Review
The Servant of Two Masters
recommends in its “Best in the West” section of its website feature, “2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”
A Farcical Comedy from eighteenth century classic Italian commedia dell’arte
“We’re pleased to recommend Vanguard University to users of our site as one of the best
February 24 – 26 & March 1 – 4
president and publisher. “We chose it and the other terrific institutions we name as ‘regional
schools to earn their undergrad degree,” says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice best’ colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs.” The recommendations are based on institutional data collected directly from the schools and from college counselors and advisors. The Princeton Review also considers what students at the schools report about their campus experiences by way of an 80-question survey. “Vanguard is honored to be selected for the fourth year in a row by The Princeton Review,” says Kim Johnson, interim vice president for enrollment management. “We have outstanding faculty who are experts in their fields. And our student satisfaction and retention continue to improve. It’s an exciting time at Vanguard.” Vanguard was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth year in a row.
2010 -2011 President’s Report Available January 15th on the Vanguard website The president’s report contains:
Enrollment statistics Financial information Articles about key events from the year
The Pajama Game A Musical Comedy from the recent Broadway revival with Harry Connick Jr.
April 5 & 7, 12 – 14 & 19 – 22
We invite you to visit vanguard.edu/annualreport to read this recap of the health and progress of the University. If you prefer to have a hard copy of this year’s annual report and cannot access and print it from our website, please contact Vanguard University at 714.556.3610 x4031, and we will mail you a copy.
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Christmas Fantasia Thank You to Our 2011 sponsors
PRELUDE SPONSORS ARAMARK ORANGE COAST CHRYSLER JEEP DODGE & ORANGE COAST FIAT PRESENTATION SPONSORS HASKELL & WHITE, LLP THE REDIGER FAMILY FOUNDATION
Rick Warren and Saddleback Church partner with Vanguard to educate church planters Saddleback Church is partnering with Vanguard University to offer a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) through the Saddleback Leadership Academy. The new venture is designed to equip the next generation of church leaders. Saddleback Leadership Academy is a key element of Pastor Rick Warren’s
ENCORE SPONSORS AT&T CAREMERIDIAN, LLC
10-year vision to start culturally relevant churches in strategic cities around the world.
NEWPORT RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INC.
Students enrolled in the Saddleback Leadership Academy for a one-year
earn 18 of 48 units toward the MTS degree on site at Saddleback. They
CITY NATIONAL CLA-VAL HILL PARTNERSHIP INC. THE INTEGRATION WORKS
internship may enroll in Vanguard University’s Graduate Religion Program and
complete 30 units of theology on campus at Vanguard.
Vanguard Provost Jeff Hittenberger says: “Vanguard shares Saddleback’s
Christ-centered vision. The MTS/Church Planting program offers students who have already earned their undergraduate degree a chance to prepare for ministry and earn their Master’s degree in just four semesters compressed into
Christmas time is here Happiness and cheer Fun for all that children call Their favorite time of the year Snowflakes in the air Carols everywhere Olden times and ancient rhymes Of love and dreams to share Sleigh bells in the air Beauty everywhere Yuletide by the fireside And joyful memories there Christmas time is here We'll be drawing near Oh, that we could always see Such spirit through the year 4 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
15 months. A student starting the program in May 2012 can be finished by August 2013.” The Saddleback Church Leadership Academy seeks to equip, empower, and encourage individuals to pursue their calling to church planting or ministry leadership. According to Dave Alford, Director of the Leadership Academy, “The partnership with Vanguard will allow us to offer future church ministry leaders thorough, practical training in an accelerated format. We’ll be able to get qualified leaders into ministry faster.” For more information about the Saddleback Leadership Academy visit graduate.vanguard.edu/saddleback.
VANGUARD ARTS THE VANGUARD THEATER PROGRAM HAS PUT ON
22 SHOWS IN THE LAST
4 YEARS Vanguard Singers and Band and the Vanguard Chorale have performed in the People’s Republic of China twice, Germany, Luxemburg, France and Portugal in the last 3 years.
OF LAST YEAR’S MUSIC GRADUATES ARE ALREADY WORKING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
UM L A VU
WORK AS PROFESSIONAL ACTORS, ART DIRECTORS AND TECHS
on network shows, the London world tour of Peter Pan, and in theater companies in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
VU THEATER ALUMS NOW ATTEND ELITE MFA PROGRAMS AT UC Irvine | Cal Arts Boston College (Conservatory) The American Conservatory Theatre The Royal Scottish Academy Rutgers | UCLA
MUSIC MAJORS at Vanguard
VU is ONE OF JUST TWO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITIES to be accredited through the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
MUSIC MINORS at Vanguard
The Towers Lobby has never looked so good. Generous gifts from the Vanguard community helped transform the space into one of the premier spots on campus to nestle in for homework by an outdoor fire, fall into conversation with other students or meet on the way to class. Next up: bringing the Towers dorms up to the same level of quality, comfort and pride.
When passion for excellence and love for Christ come together, the result is inspired creativity. In this Arts issue we feature Vanguard community members who are leading the way in their industries, from television to movies to music. May you be inspired by the interviews, articles and columns that follow — and may your own creativity and passion be re-awakened.
Fostering the People When Jacob “Cubbie” Fink ’07 and two friends started indie pop trio Foster the People in late 2009, they didn’t reckon that within 24 months they would appear on Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel, and tour the U.S. three times, selling out every show on the strength of their exuberant vibe and breakout single, “Pumped Up Kicks.”
8 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
“It looks like overnight success from the outside, but
Right: Foster the People performs in Nashville; below right:
there have been years of preparation for each of us
Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink on tour with the “Do Good Bus.”
leading up to it,” Fink told vanguard magazine a few days after the SNL performance. Fink, the band’s bass player, took up guitar, clarinet and saxophone at an early age, but it wasn’t until he filled in on bass one night for his high school rock band that he found his preferred instrument. “Bass resonated with me,” he says. “There’s a lot that parallels my personality. I’ve never been the person upfront or desiring the most attention. I’ve always been low key, in the background. But I don’t fall away in the shadows. I have a strong presence. The bass is very much that way. It has the power to control the harmony of the song which is how people perceive the music. It was very natural to express myself on it. That free expression of emotion came on the bass.” After graduating from high school, Fink spent nearly two years working for non-profit youth organizations
“I learned a lot from him,” Fink says. “I saw him sit in
Fink describes Foster the People concerts as joyful
with a jazz trio which blew my mind. To study with
and fun, with much movement and singing along. The
someone like that was an honor.”
music is melodic, catchy and percussive.
Fink graduated and moved straight to L.A. to dive into
Still, getting a call from Saturday Night Live took them
TV work as a production assistant, grip, gaffer, editor
and sound designer. His first job came through fellow VU alum Meg Tyra ’07 who helped him land a job at a production house which made commercials.
“We were elated,” Fink says. “We hung out with the cast and host Ben Stiller. Everyone was super friendly and supportive. You spend three days gearing up for
“Most of the work I got in the film industry was
the taping on Saturday. By the time we went live the
through connections I made through that company,”
nerves were worked out. We had a blast.”
Fink says. “I definitely have Vanguard to thank for that connection.” He also began to take his musicianship seriously. When work was scarce he spent hours a day honing his bass-playing skills and taking lessons.
The band’s goals go beyond making music to having a positive, lasting effect on people’s lives. “The name of our band is obviously a play on Mark’s last name, but it’s also become a bit of a mission statement,” says Fink. “Doing charity was something
in South Africa. Then he came to a crossroads which
“I came to the realization that I could play, but I
we talked about early on, using music as a platform to
led him to Vanguard.
needed to get better if I wanted to work in this city,”
take care of people. Success at any level does create
a platform from which to speak out beyond the band.
“Doors were closing all around me when out of the
We are very interested in giving back to people.”
blue Vanguard came to mind,” he says. “My cousin,
He found work as musician-for-hire for various artists
Heather Watson ’04 ’08, had spoken very
and groups. Then his roommate, a Vanguard alum,
On their latest U.S. tour they partnered with the “Do
highly of her experience at Vanguard, which was part
introduced him to Mark Foster, another struggling
Good Bus” which followed the band to every city
of the reason I went there. It was an easy transition.
musician. They and drummer Mark Pontius decided to
and organized volunteers for service projects.
In the face of all the closed doors I was running into
put a band together. Fink initially thought of it as his
that seemed like a wide open door.”
“passion project on the side.”
He moved back to California, went through a bit of
“I’d always believed in Mark as a musician, so
culture shock and started attending classes.
forming the band was a no-brainer for me,” Fink says.
“I loved it,” he says. “I had a phenomenal experience at Vanguard. I got plugged into the community there, which is one of the strong points of Vanguard.” He majored in communications with an emphasis on TV and film. His favorite class: the dreaded media crit. “I really loved the challenge of digging into something I was interested in, doing countless hours of research, says. “I learned so much in that process about myself in addition to what I was studying, and developed a great relationship with professor Tom Carmody. AnnCaryn Cleveland and the TV film department were a great resource. Craig Rusch in anthropology became a mentor of mine while I was there.” Fink also took a class on the upright bass through the music department with jazz bassist Anders Swanson.
10 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
just a fun thing. Then something clicked at our first gig. We looked at each other and realized we had something special. That’s when we put everything else aside to focus on this.” Within months, Foster wrote a song called “Pumped Up Kicks.” The band posted it as a free download on their website. It generated attention almost immediately and catapulted the band to perhaps the hottest musical showcase/festival in the U.S., South By Southwest in Austin. Soon they were packing venues including a stage at Coachella with an audience of 10,000. They toured almost non-stop in 2011. “It was crazy how quickly people caught on,” Fink says. “We’re adamant about not taking steps that are too big for us. The progression has felt very natural.”
incredible,” Fink says. Next year the band heads to Europe for their first full tour there, then to Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Japan and third tour of Australia. Their second single, “Helena Beat,” just broke the top ten on the Alternative Billboard chart. “The cool thing about this album is there are so many workable singles,” says Fink. “Our whole team is optimistic we could push three or four more songs off the record as singles.” For aspiring artists, Fink advises persistence and patience. While struggling to make it “your character is being strengthened and whittled down to the point where when you step into a bit of success you’ll know how to handle it and carry yourself.” His other advice: “Sell yourself out for what you believe, and say something that is truly you,” he says. Learn more at facebook.com/fosterthepeople and dogoodbus.com.
Foster the People Photos by Andy Barron
organizing it and putting it into cohesive thought,” he
“But none of us were taking it all that seriously. It was
“The stories we’re hearing from every city are just
â€œDoing charity was something we talked about early on, using music as a platform to take care of people. Success at any level does create a platform from which to speak out beyond the band.â€? Cubbie Fink Bassist, Foster the People
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
the am bush co In early 2011, Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco ’01 won the Oprah Winfrey
Tell us about The Ambush Cook — what
Most of them will never publicly be recognized for
is the show about?
all the work they put in. It’s a very humbling
In each episode someone nominates a spouse, a
experience. My team was absolutely amazing.
friend, a parent, a child or someone in their life who
Network’s Your Own
really needs to learn how to cook for one reason or
Show: Oprah’s Search for
cook “better” — they literally don’t know how to cook
the Next TV Star and just finished taping her new
another. The nominee doesn’t need to learn how to at all. I surprise them (“ambush” them — hence the title of the show), bring them to my kitchen and teach them how to make an interesting meal.
cooking show, The Ambush
Viewers who know how to cook will enjoy the show
Cook. The daughter of
and want to try the recipes. We see the person go
Peter Kuzmic ’71, Kristina was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and came to VU to study theater. Vanguard magazine spoke with her about the show and her transition from down-andout single mom to Oprah’s handpicked host.
from scared or nervous about cooking, or having a preconceived idea that it’s boring, time-consuming or difficult, to a confident and encouraged cook. Each episode ends with us sitting down for dinner to the meal they just learned how to cook. The person who nominated them joins us to see if the person succeeded at cooking. My hope is that the show will encourage viewers to get out of the drive-thrus and learn how to cook, and encourage them to try whatever it is they fear in life, even outside the kitchen. What has it been like taping the show?
Taping the show has been one of the best, happiest experiences of my life. Even though it has been stressful and I have worked long hours, I’ve been filled with joy and gratitude for this opportunity. I have had this overwhelming feeling that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am born to do. There is so much that goes into creating a TV show that I never even thought about, so many random details. I learned a lot. Every day on the set I was humbled at how many people were there working so hard, such long hours.
12 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
What are you enjoying most about your new career?
Honestly, I’m enjoying everything. I feel like this job has incorporated so many of my interests. Yes, I get to share my passion for cooking, but more importantly I get to connect with a new guest each week, find out about their story, encourage them to cook for their family. One of our guests was a woman who was eight months pregnant and never cooked in her life. She wanted to learn to cook before her baby boy arrived so she could cook for him. I was inspired by these men and women who wanted to learn something new so they could take better care of their families. I’m also enjoying connecting with people through my Facebook and Twitter pages. I have a public e-mail address where I’ve received so many encouraging and inspiring e-mails. For example, I challenged everyone who follows my Facebook page to give up fast food for an entire month. Recently I received a touching e-mail from a woman who took my challenge. She used to eat fast food a few times a week. She told me that she took my challenge seriously and has kept up with it since. She’s lost weight, feels healthier, feels like a better mom because she’s now feeding her kids good homemade meals, and the experience also inspired her to cut down on other bad habits in her life. When I put that challenge up, I never thought I’d be getting an e-mail like that. This job has given me so much more than I ever expected.
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
“My faith was strengthened through the hard times I went through, and God knew that I needed stronger faith before I was ready for this job. His timing is perfect.” Kristina Kuzmic The Ambush Cook
How has it been working with the
had hacked into my bank account and emptied it. I
or help making a decision, I pray because I know he
Oprah Winfrey Network. Does Oprah
remember thinking, “Why, God? Do you not care?
hears me. I try to tune out everything else, and then
ever drop by the set?
Do you not see what I’m going through? Have you
all of a sudden the answer becomes so obvious, so
abandoned me? Do you even exist?”
crystal clear that it leaves no doubt as to the right
The Oprah Winfrey Network has been wonderful to me! Very supportive, very open to my ideas. On my first day of taping, they surprised me with the most gorgeous and huge bouquet of flowers along with a very sweet note welcoming me to the OWN family. The heads of the network came to see me on set for a few days. They were very encouraging and gave me great advice. Oprah was out of town while we were taping, so she didn’t make it, which is probably a good thing. I would have been too nervous with her watching me.
A few days after I had thrown my little tantrum at God, I was driving, depressed and stressed and not focusing, and I accidentally crashed into the car in front of me. I didn’t have the kids with me, and both the other driver and I were physically okay. However, I had really damaged the back of his car. I had no idea how I would get the money to pay for it. After a few days I got an e-mail from him that said something like this: “I’m a Christian, and this may sound crazy to you, but every time I tried to pick up the phone to call you and tell you how much you owe for the damage,
Reflect on what has happened to you
I felt God telling me not to take any money from you.
this year, and God’s goodness.
At first it annoyed me, because this was obviously
One of the greatest lessons from these last few years of ups and downs is to trust God’s timing and presence in my life. His timing really is perfect. I wasn’t ready for this job before now. I needed to
your fault, so you should cover the damage. But God just kept making it clearer and clearer not to take any money from you. So, you don’t owe me anything and I will take care of fixing my car on my own.”
learn some things, go through some trials, gain
I cried so hard after reading that e-mail. I remember
confidence and strengthen my faith. God was looking
saying, “You do care, God. You do see me. You
out for me through everything. When he knew I was
haven’t abandoned me.”
ready, he blessed me with this opportunity.
thing to do. That is so important in this new career of mine. My faith was strengthened through the hard times I went through, and God knew that I needed stronger faith before I was ready for this job. His timing is perfect. What’s next for you?
We’re finishing up post-production on this season, and then we’ll wait for the network to decide if they’re picking us up for another season. The show is scheduled to premier this winter, with an exact date yet to be announced. How can people keep up with you and find out when the show airs?
Facebook and Twitter are the best ways. I take time to post updates, to read everyone’s posts and even to answer many of them. I also occasionally post a recipe or offer cooking advice. I have made it clear that everyone with a food-related blog is welcome to post a link to their website on my Facebook page. I
That guy, who has since become a friend, knew
want to support people in pursuing their passions. If
There was a time a few years back where everything
nothing about me. He didn’t know about the financial
other people didn’t support me in my passion, I never
that could possibly go wrong was wrong. I was
difficulties I was having. He didn’t even know I was
would have this dream career now. The links to my
having medical issues I couldn’t afford to pay for,
Facebook and Twitter pages are: facebook.com/
That experience solidified for me once and for all that
KristinaKuzmic and twitter.com/KristinaKuzmic
I was single and on food stamps, worrying about how to support my children. To top it all off, someone 14 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
God hears me and cares. Whenever I need direction
beyond the expected:
Seeing By Faith Alyssa Rossi decided she wanted to attend Vanguard University when she heard the Vanguard Singers and Band minister at her church. “I thought, ‘That is so cool. They have hearts for the
feeling the grass, curbs, walls and steps along her
someday. Wherever God leads. I just love the Lord.
Lord and are so passionate,’” she says. “My dream
route, she knew where she was at any given time.
He’s everything to me.”
was to be in that group.”
She memorized landmarks such as parking lots,
Rossi is now a sophomore at VU and a member of the Concert Choir. But being at Vanguard has required special effort because Rossi is totally blind with only light perception. Born with Leber’s
buildings and sidewalks, and paid special attention to things like sunlight, shade and the sounds echoing off nearby buildings and objects, all of which helped
“It was very tactile,” she says. “I had to call on the
light, but nothing else.
disabilities office and other people when I got lost
with it.” Vanguard has worked closely with Rossi to help her adapt to her surroundings and responsibilities as a student. “We provide academic support and transcribe all of her tests into Braille,” says Beth Lorance, director of the Vanguard University Counseling Center. “Her textbooks we get in accessible form. We do training
sometimes. It was a tough couple of months before I got the hang of it.”
Text files from class are translated from written English into Braille she reads with her fingertips. “Beth makes sure my professors get emailed so I have the documents I need,” Rossi says. “She’s very on top of it and cares about my education.”
impaired person in their class.”
flourished under the mentorship of her professors. In
attend college. “I love school but most of all I love music and worshiping the Lord,” she says. “When I visited in 2009 I had such a great experience. Chapel service was so awesome. I felt the Holy Spirit at Vanguard and thought, how could you do any better than this? Why go anywhere else?” Still, the transition was daunting. She had to learn to navigate the campus with her cane. By
“I felt the Holy Spirit at Vanguard and thought, how could you do any better than this? Why go anywhere else?”
a rubberized surface on which Braille text appears.
Rossi, a religion major and music minor, has
reach for Rossi, the first person in her family to
Rossi works on a Braille “laptop” computer with
with faculty on what it’s like to have a visually
That assistance has put higher education within
a cane to using a guide dog, a yellow Labrador
her to determine her position.
congenital amaurosis, she can detect darkness and
“It’s my way of life,” she says. “I’m very happy
This year Rossi made a major transition from using
the concert choir she learns the songs by sound, and participates in concerts and tours. “After I graduate I plan on traveling, singing to the Lord and leading worship at conferences and churches,” she says. “I’d like to teach the word of God, maybe be a Bible teacher or professor
“It’s almost like having my sight back,” she says. “Instead of going into a room and waving my cane around to find a chair, banging walls, making a lot of noise, I can say, ‘Find a chair,’ and she takes me right there.” Rossi had to learn to trust January instead of her tactile sense. “I’ve used a cane all my life, so with a dog I have no way of feeling where I am,” she says. “A lot of it is trust that she’s not going to run me into things. It’s intimidating at first, but once you get used to it, it’s so rewarding. I learned to trust the Lord and go.” January has also given Rossi more opportunities to meet people. “When you have dog guiding you around people treat you differently,” she says. “They want to talk to you. It’s cool. I have a lot more friends. It’s almost like I have my eyes back. My confidence level went up 250 percent.” She looks forward to the next couple of years, even with the inevitable challenges. For example, she has a science class coming up and the disabilities office is already exploring how Rossi can participate in the lab portion of the class. “I put my heart and soul into everything I do,” says Rossi. “I’m passionate about a lot of things. ... I just want to serve the Lord the best I can and be available for his power to work through me.”
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
16 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Producing careers Brothers Dan ’03 and Dave ’04 Holechek have made a living in Hollywood since graduating from Vanguard University. Their films — one feature and a handful of well-received shorts — have earned national distribution and festival awards. Now they run their own production company and are teaching today’s Vanguard students how to follow in their footsteps. “Vanguard gave us a firm foundation,” says Dan. “We had a lot of good professors and mentors we connected with who helped us on our journey. Now we get to give back and help students find their place in the entertainment industry.” The brothers’ first big break came in 2007 with a short spoof of the action film 300 which was filmed at Vanguard and promptly received 4 million views on YouTube. That led to a full-length feature, 305, which received national distribution. “That really opened doors for us and gave us lot of exposure,” says Dan. “We met great people we still do business with today.” The ABC network then hired them to create a web series. But in typical Hollywood fashion, the network scrapped its online endeavor before the series was released, leaving the Holecheks with completed scripts and no outlet. “We had spent six months on it. It was the biggest thing we’d ever done,” says Dave. “It happens all the time in the industry. People spend years developing TV shows that never get seen. We rebounded and moved on to other things.” Today they are revisiting those scripts to make the series on their own with a group of VU alums they’ve been working with for years which includes Tim Larson ’04, Ed Portillo ’05, Brandon Tyra ’03 (see article, this issue), Dan Ford ’06, Tom Riggs ’08 and Sunny Peabody ’02. The group recently filmed a short western called Temazcal in New Mexico on the set of Cowboys and Aliens. Temazcal screened at the Holly Shorts film festival, was a finalist in the 168 film festival and is available on iTunes.
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
“We’ve got a really
“When we were in school,
good crew,” says
we sacrificed a lot of time and
Dan. “Anytime we
energy because we decided
say, ‘We’ve got a project,’ they
filmmaking was what we
jump at it.”
wanted to do. The habits you
Another Holechek short, A Finger, Two Dots Then Me, recently won a Crystal Heart
establish in college carry over. It’s not something you turn on after you graduate.”
award at the Heartland Film
All but one of their films has
Festival in Indianapolis and the
been shot in part on the Van-
Audience Award at a Wash-
guard campus, including their
ington, DC, film festival.
“That was very gratifying,” says Dave. “You make movies so you can sit in a big audience and hear the reaction. It’s re-
Vanguard students serve as interns at their production company. Their sister Anne graduated from Vanguard in ’09.
Following his Dreamworks Brandon Tyra ’03 is the lead art department coordinator at a company that is producing the film sequel and television series for the animated film How To Train Your Dragon in partnership with Dreamworks Animation. Prior to that, Tyra worked at Nickelodeon. He spoke with Vanguard magazine about finding his place in the entertainment industry.
warding when audiences single
The Holecheks now teach cin-
Tell us about your job on How To
it out as one they enjoyed.”
ematography one night a week
Train Your Dragon.
at Vanguard with the goal of
talented directors and executives at Dreamworks who have worked on Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and other films. And my job involves creative problem-solving. For example, I had to teach myself a complicated 3D modeling program. Figuring something out for the good of a creative enterprise, such as this TV show, is incredibly rewarding.
rior. Editing reality shows has
“It’s so much fun to go down
“honed our storytelling chops”
there and meet with students,”
because editors are often
says Dave. “We enjoy talking
I supervise the artists to make sure they are drawing what they’re supposed to draw. ... I’ve also become the in-house scratch voice artist. I record the stand-in voices that the editors use to cut the show, and then they record the celebrity voices later. It’s a step in the right direction.
asked to pull a story from hours
about how to shoot films. We
How did your journey bring you
self in the entertainment industry?
of footage, says Dan. “There is
want to teach them how to get
to work with Dreamworks?
a lot of creative control which
jobs. We have a good time
is something I love doing.”
Dave runs their production
“To survive in this industry is
company day to day. He and
a tricky thing,” Dan agrees.
wife Stacy (Britton ’05)
“Neither of us are the loudest
Holechek just had their
people in the room, the best
I received a call from a director friend whose short films I had acted in. He was working for Nickelodeon on an animated TV series called Back At The Barnyard, a spin-off of the movie Barnyard with Kevin James and directed by Steve Odekerk, (Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor).
networkers, the most outspo-
Relationships are absolutely everything! I am not by nature a “people person.” But the reality is, you need people to help you, and your passion has to be contagious. Plus, in an industry that has a lot of rejection, it’s imperative to have a group of friends you can count on to get you through the hard times, and rejoice with you in the good times. I’ve been blessed to have that.
Dan also works as lead editor of popular cable TV shows such as Lockup and Deadliest War-
At each step of the way, Vanguard University has been part of their journey. “Vanguard University has been so supportive,” says Dan. “It felt like a very safe environment to try different things, different mediums and parts of the filmmaking process.”
helping students “learn how to get to where they want to go.”
ken. I tell students that networking is important but above that is the work ethic, the talent and the drive to go along with the relationships. Networking can get you in the door but you have to back it up and be someone people want to work with. Just set your ego aside and decide you’re going
The habits he and Dave cre-
to work really hard. People
ated at Vanguard have carried
respond to that.”
them through, he says.
I worked at Nickelodeon for two years and learned a lot. At the end of season two of Barnyard, the executives told us to get ready for season three. The next day they said, “You’re all laid off.” I was unemployed for a year and looked hard for work the entire time. Then a guy I had worked with at Nickelodeon offered me a job at a company called Wildbrain that is partnered with Dreamworks Animation to work on the television series How To Train Your Dragon. They were also working on the sequel to the movie, which was nominated for an Oscar last year. What do you find artistically fulfilling about your present job?
The voice work I’ve gotten to do is awesome. I’ve also gotten to learn from very 18 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
What does it take to support your-
What are your goals for the future? What would you like to be doing in five years?
My goal is to be a writer/show runner on a project. I also hope to use voice acting as a vehicle to move forward in the animation industry, as well as to impress a beautiful woman and talk her into marrying me. Any advice for aspiring TV/film students?
Keep writing, shooting and creating. Every shoot you do, no matter how small, you learn something new. The best way to get work is by networking and being known as a hard worker who dives into projects.
beyond the expected:
Operatic Passion As a student at Vanguard, Claire Friday discovered her passion: opera. Today she is living her dream of being a stage manager for opera productions across the country. “The number one reason I love opera is because
and be a Christian in the arts,” says Friday. “It’s
Her advice to opera novices: At your first
of the emotional depth of the music and the
possible to work at a professional company and
opera, don’t worry too much about following
complexity of the art form,” Friday says. “Opera
maintain your integrity and standards and rely on
the entire story. Simply sit back and let the
is a cornucopia of every type of live entertainment:
God to give you work, to be your provider and
music speak to you.
dance, acting, singing, orchestra, extravagant sets,
give you the contacts you need in the industry.
costumes and lights. All of that together is truly
I’m living proof of that.”
extraordinary when it’s on stage.”
As a Christian, she says, “There’s no need to
As a freelance stage manager, Friday works at
worry about your career. Sure, you’ve got goals,
opera companies including the Los Angeles Opera,
but God ultimately has goals bigger than you
the San Diego Opera and the Boston Lyric Opera.
“In opera, a stage manager is more of a producer,”
Her favorite operas are anything by Mozart,
she says. “You keep everybody on their deadlines.
Handel and Puccini. She thrives in the cultured
During the performance you run the show as kind
atmosphere of the opera, which often brings
of air traffic control: calling light cues, curtain
people from many countries together for the same
cues, following along in the score, cueing artists on
stage and making sure the entire production runs smoothly. I’m in a headset listening to sometimes six different people talking.” Friday discovered opera while attending
Friday hopes one day to go into opera administration as general director running a company.
“It’s possible to work at a professional company and maintain your integrity and standards and rely on God to give you work.”
“There’s so much to learn from one opera and the people and the things they talk about,” Friday says. “I’ve never seen anything like it in entertainment. It’s why I love it.”
Vanguard and serving in an internship at a local opera company. “I had no idea what opera was before taking the internship. I had never even seen one, but I knew after that internship that I had to go into opera,” she says. “I never get tired of it. Opera is so emotional, it doesn’t matter what language they are singing. You’ll find something you can connect to through the story.” As a student at VU, she was honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for outstanding achievement in stage management. After graduating in 2004 with a degree in theater she spent a year serving as the theater company manager while applying to graduate schools. She was accepted to the prestigious program at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and graduated there in 2008. “Vanguard professors David Pecoraro and Sue Berkompas were instrumental in giving me the confidence to go into an MFA program, and to help me to realize that you can be successful
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Training for the Actors may get the applause, but the people behind the scenes make the show go on. In Vanguard’s theater program, every student must participate backstage as part of the technical crew which includes designers, stage managers, make-up artists and light and sound technicians. These student crews produce seven professional-quality shows every year for a substantial subscriber base. And to their surprise, many students discover they like being behind
Vanguard. Her chosen specialty: make-up and costumes. “Not a lot of people know how much work goes on backstage,” she says. “It was a surprise to me. To participate in a process from the beginning to the end is very satisfying. It makes me want to do more of it.” Many VU theater alums find jobs in the entertainment
the curtain better than under the klieg lights.
industry, and also ministry, education and other fields.
“We provide a workshop-like educational environment
“Theater is good preparation for a lot of different walks
for students to learn, grow and discover while producing plays for real audiences,” says Paul Eggington, technical director, scenic designer and adjunct professor of theater. “Students get a taste of every part of the theater process and are given the chance to discover hidden gifts and find their own place. Some start out as performers and
of life,” says Eggington. “We have an excellent track record of producing professionals in every part of the entertainment business. We regularly send graduates to prestigious graduate schools in stage management and acting. We have an alum who’s become a leading production designer in Hollywood and others who have
wind up as lighting technicians and vice versa.”
worked as actors on various hit shows.”
That was the case for Katie Thornberg, a junior and
Thornberg, who during shows can be found in the
stage manager for several Vanguard theater shows. She intended to go into acting — until she got a taste of backstage work. “I fell in love with it,” she says. “I like seeing a show develop from paper to stage. You’re in production meetings, throwing around ideas. It’s an awesome journey.” Techs often comprise more than two-thirds of the people involved in any stage production. They create the world in which the story takes place, with scenery and sets, lighting, costumes, props, make-up and more. Once designers and builders create the world, a crew of students runs each production, managing the stage, the audience and the actors, and handling the unexpected. “Stage management is probably the hardest job in theater,” says Eggington. “You have to be a diplomat, a mother to the actors, keep everything moving and keep your cool in very challenging situations.” Annie Torr from Castle Rock, Colorado, says she has learned “every single aspect” of theater tech at
20 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
booth behind the audience calling light and sound cues, says she “absolutely” wants to do this for a living. She already is accustomed to running a cast of a dozen actors and a crew of 20 techs, and she is hoping for more. She works at Disneyland in attractions and wants one day to stage manage at the theme park. “The tech majors at Vanguard are small but mighty,” she says. “We don’t get formally recognized during a show, but the satisfaction comes from knowing that the show wouldn’t go on without us. I cannot stress enough how much I love doing what I do.” Eggington says it’s wonderful to see students grow so dramatically through their experience in the Vanguard theater program. “We provide a safe place in which to take risks, make mistakes, develop confidence, grow in the Lord and really find themselves.” he says. “Vanguard is a pretty wonderful place.”
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Southern California offers a cornucopia of music events, but which ones are worth checking out? As a professional musician and professor at Vanguard, I’m pretty plugged in to the scene. Let me suggest some upcoming concerts to put on your calendar.
Chris Botti and Michael W. Smith at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Close to campus is the Segerstrom Center for the Arts where trumpeter Chris Botti, a fabulous musician who crosses over easily from jazz to rock to classical, will play April 12-14. You may recognize Botti from his tour with Sting and his duets with top artists. I’ve seen him live and you won’t be disappointed. Botti is a charismatic showman and Segerstrom is a terrific venue. The acoustics are warm and you can hear every detail coming off the stage, no matter how many instruments are playing. Another good Segerstrom show to catch is Christian music artist Michael W. Smith, playing December 15-17 with the Pacific Symphony. If your tastes lean toward classical, go for Beethoven’s popular ninth symphony in May, which includes Ode to Joy. In January, the Pacific Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony — a romantic piece of music with an amazing finale you will never forget.
Classical greats at the Disney Concert Hall
Another great music venue is the Disney Concert Hall, located in downtown Los Angeles. I had the privilege of playing there recently as the Los Angeles Philharmonic presented Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, featuring jazz musician Herbie Hancock as soloist. It was an awesome concert to be part of. In January and February the L.A. Phil is doing all of Mahler’s symphonies. If you’re new to Mahler I’d pick his ninth — it’s highly romantic with joyous melodies. Or you might choose his second, which includes themes from his family life interwoven into the music, or his fourth, which is his shortest symphony While enjoying the Philharmonic, don’t forget to watch conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who at 29 years old is taking the symphony world by storm. He’s a dynamic and emotional conductor and you can feel his passion for the music. I’ve played under him a number of times and always experience the music in a new way. For an interesting view sit behind — yes, behind — the orchestra. Such seating is now available. You’ll be able to watch the conductor and get a little more percussion and French horn, since those instruments are placed at the back of the orchestra.
Hillsong at the Nokia Theater
I was at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles recently and the sound was excellent. There’s not a bad seat in the house. It’s located right across from the Staples Center, an area that’s been cleaned up and is safe to visit. One of my favorite Christian groups, Hillsong, will be there December 5. I expect it to be a rousing, Spirit-filled concert. Also keep your eye on the Gibson Theater, which, like the Nokia, offers an interesting calendar, good parking and easy highway access. The Gibson is located at Universal CityWalk. Bryan Setzer (of the Stray Cats) will lead his Orchestra there December 17 to jump and swing through the Christmas canon. That should be an exciting show.
22 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Local jazz clubs If you like jazz in smaller settings, Los Angeles offers a wealth of little venues where you can hear some of the best musicians today. The Baked Potato (near Universal CityWalk) is so intimate that you’re almost sitting on top of the band. You can catch anything from singer-songwriters to Latin jazz to fusion jazz. Top musicians drop by just to play.
Vitello’s in Studio City is where many big-name jazz artists play. You can see bands led by Bob Mintzer, Bill Holman and Bill Cunliffe. Or consider the Catalina in Hollywood which has a great ambience — nice tablecloths, mood lighting and delicious (if pricey) food. The stage sits right in the middle of the room.
I hope these suggestions inspire you to get out there and enjoy the musical plenitude of Southern California. See you there!
Ken Foerch Foerch is a professor of music at Vanguard, a professional musician and former member of the “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. He played “Hail to the Chief” daily for eight years at White House functions.
Giving from a Heart of Love
Dixie Arnold, a retired Orange County principal and teacher, fell in love with Vanguard the moment she heard the choir sing at a large community-wide prayer breakfast.
Vanguard I wanted to start something for future
Little did she know that within weeks she would begin
The quality of the theater and music programs was
the world to do such good for God and to spread that
a second career there, and that she and husband Ed,
also a big motivator.
around wherever they go is such an honor to me.”
“Dr. Melton absolutely blew us away right from the
Whenever Ed emcees community events, he makes
start,” Ed says. “The plays are magnificent. I would
sure the check is made out to the Dr. Dixie Arnold
put the theater and music performances up against
any other performances, anywhere.”
The Arnolds continue to attend theater, music
The Arnolds feel especially moved to help the Theater
and athletic events together, and enjoy the bond it
program’s new construction project which will
creates between them and the Vanguard community.
expand and elevate the quality of the Lyceum Theater,
They bring their grandkids to games, plays and
The Arnolds discovered a welcoming, loving
providing a backstage, a lobby and restrooms, and
community and became instant fixtures at basketball
greatly increasing the safety, comfort and useable
“I’d love to see my grandchildren go to Vanguard,”
games, plays and music performances. They have
space for audiences and students.
Ed says. “You know they’ll be in good hands. I look
“We want to give the students a better place to learn
at the number of professors with their doctorates,
the crafts of theater and music,” says Dixie. “When
and that’s impressive for a school this size. President
a well-known television sports anchor and emcee, would become stalwart supporters of the Vanguard community, giving generously of their time, energy and finances. “Everything in my life has led me to Vanguard,” says Dixie. “Every experience, my principalship, my 30 years of teaching was all God preparing me to come here.”
expressed their support in many ways, including being lead donors with gifts of $100,000 to the theater program and $50,000 to the music program.
teachers. The students here love people. They shine in different ways with different personalities and strengths. Knowing that I’m part of sending them into
we attend Vanguard theater performances, Eddy and
Carol Taylor is just unbelievable. I have watched
“We donate because we believe in Vanguard,” says
I often say, ‘Who can we invite so they can see these
her leadership over the past couple of years. I can’t
Dixie. “We want so much to affect the lives of
wonderful performances and maybe donate?’ We want
emphasize enough how impressed I am with her as a
students. The theater and music departments are so
to stand up and say, ‘Come on! Pass the hat!’”
human being and as a leader.”
The Arnolds also give freely to students going on
Dixie says they look forward to supporting
missions trips and in other ways of sharing their faith.
Vanguard’s efforts in the future.
As chair of the liberal studies department, Dixie uses
“Being here is God’s plan for my life,” she says. “He
Ed says he fell in love with Vanguard because of
her extensive background to train future teachers and
built within me everything he wanted me to do at
also started a scholarship for students who “reflect
Vanguard. God knew this was where we were going
and shine the light of Christ.”
incredible, every one of their plays and performances is so wonderful. We decided to give to help make things even better for students.”
“I was so impressed with them,” he says. “The character of these kids and their love of God. You just couldn’t
“Everywhere I’ve been, I have tried to give to people
ask for better. You want to give back and help.”
who have a need,” Dixie says. “When I came to
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Running for God’s Glory Daniel Okabe, a junior at Vanguard, knew he could run; he just didn’t know he could run faster than most everyone else. “In Uganda we never timed ourselves,” says the son of a minister from that country. “Whoever came in first was the winner.” Children there commonly ran eight miles to deliver a letter for their parents. Only when Okabe came to the U.S. to attend college did he discover his talent. In the past three years he has run ten marathons, including the New York, Boston and Los Angeles marathons. Now, as a member of the Vanguard track and cross country teams, he says he is running for God’s glory. “When I’m running in races like the New York and Boston marathons, all I think about is God,” Okabe says. “Sometimes when I reach a mile where I’m feeling pressure, I’ll think about how God has been so loving to me. I think of all the friends and people I have met who have encouraged me, and that drives me to finish the race. I say, ‘I’m doing this for the Lord.’ Sometimes I use the scripture, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ That gives me strength to get through everything.” Okabe came to the U.S. for one purpose: to save his father’s Christian radio station. His father, a pastor in Uganda, has planted 150 churches, started an orphanage which serves hundreds of children and founded the only Christian radio station in northeastern Uganda. But that station was recently threatened with closure when the government mandated that station operators must have an Associate of Arts degree. “I was very eager to come to the U.S. and get a degree in radio broadcasting to save our radio station and keep it alive to spread God’s word,” Daniel says. Though the dream seemed out of reach, American supporters of the radio station rallied and Daniel was able to come to Orange County to study for his AA degree at a community college. He then heard of Vanguard University and latched onto an even higher goal: to earn his bachelor’s degree at Vanguard.
24 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Trish Fisher, chair of the business department at the School for Professional Studies at Vanguard, was impressed by Okabe’s spirit and talent, and is helping him raise support. “Daniel has an amazingly pure trust that God is in control and will provide no matter what,” says Fisher. “He understands real thirst and real hunger when there is no food; and he knows the joy that comes from experiencing God’s provision. His spirit seems not to be daunted even when he has what we may consider an insurmountable task ahead of him. When you are with Daniel, you actually feel his love for God. It’s like an electrical force field all around him.” Okabe is raising funds to attend Vanguard and earned scholarships in music and athletics. He had run his first marathon just two year earlier and had no idea how to train. At the time, he didn’t even know if a marathon was 26 kilometers or 26 miles. Still, he kept pace with the leaders for 18 miles, then hit the wall. He finished in 3.35. In his next race, the Los Angeles marathon, he finished in 3.02, a major reduction in time. Now he runs marathons in 2.45 and came in tenth overall in the Orange County marathon. The Los Angeles Times ran a story about Okabe’s remarkable journey in January. Okabe uses each race as a ministry opportunity and says running marathons “has become my way of sharing the gospel. I send emails to friends and supporters telling about race day, showing photographs and telling how God strengthened me.” On the Vanguard cross country team, Okabe has experienced training for the first time. The biggest change: learning to run faster. “For me, five miles is nothing, so Coach Bryan Wilkins is training me to have a faster pace,” says Okabe. “There’s a lot for me to learn here. I am thankful to coach Wilkins.”
Wilkins sees a bright future for his Ugandan distance runner. “He’s super energetic and has a great attitude,” says Wilkins. “The thing about Daniel is he’s been a selfmotivated, self-trained athlete. He has talent and a heart to train and work hard. I have big expectations as to what he’s going to do in our program.” Ultimately, Okabe’s purpose remains ministry, not marathons. Upon graduating he intends to return to Uganda and preach the gospel through radio and kids’ ministry, just as he did before coming to the U.S. “My goal is to reach many people in Uganda through radio ministry and to bring salvation to people’s lives through the power of Jesus Christ,” he says. “Over the past three years, I have seen God move powerfully in my life, and I have always thanked God for what He has done for me. I’m already looking forward to going to Uganda because I believe it’s all about God’s kingdom. I want to get focused on serving children in the orphanage and be involved with radio. My main goal is to expand God’s kingdom in Uganda.” With his degree, he will have accomplished his purpose of keeping his father’s radio station open. For now, he still can’t believe he gets to attend Vanguard University. “I’m amazed,” he says. “In Uganda it’s very rare to get such a great education, to come and study at a great institution like Vanguard. I have to give God the glory for everything. When I came to Vanguard I enjoyed it because I felt God’s presence. Everybody is loving, they go to chapel and different activities. The lecturers pray before starting class. I am studying New Testament and Old Testament. Wow! It’s just very wonderful to me. I’m very grateful to be at a Christ-centered university. I believe it’s where God wants me to be so I can be a servant for the Lord when I go back to Uganda.”
“Sometimes when I reach a mile where I’m feeling pressure, I’ll think about how God has been so loving to me. I think of all the friends and people I have met who have encouraged me, and that drives me to finish the race. I say, ‘I’m doing this for the Lord.’”
Daniel Okabe Student & Distance Runner Uganda
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Class Notes ’40s Clarence “Eugene” Hunt ’48 lives with his wife Mary Olive, their daughter Merry-zoe and her husband Harry in Tomball, Texas. Eugene continues his calling of evangelism wherever he is able, while Mary Olive has her own ministry of praying for women. Before settling in Texas, the Hunts ministered in Venezuela for 28 years. They now keep in touch with their Venezuelan friends through Facebook. They praise God for 63 years of marriage and ministry.
’50s Ralph Hiatt ’56 served with his late wife Frances (Bingham 1953-1954) as pastors in Northern California after graduating from SCBC. They moved to Argentina in 1963, spending their life there in ministry and retiring from Assemblies of God World Missions in 2008. Since Frances went to be with the Lord, Ralph has returned to Cordoba, Argentina, and ministers there with thrilling results. He keeps up with old friends and shares his adventures at his blog, ralphhiatt.blogspot.com.
’60s Gary Archer ’68 and wife Sharon recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Gary spent many years in pastoral ministry before working at Vanguard as the director of church relations for eleven years. He is now the senior adults pastor at Ventura Missionary Church (vmc.net).
John Snyder ’68 is the founder and pastor of Community321, an online church and community (community321.com). John has had many articles in academic journals and newspapers, and authored a new book from Thomas Nelson, Your 100 Day Prayer. He and his family are planting churches in Europe and will be starting the first online church of Basel, Switzerland. Carolyn (Haugan 1965-1967) and James Tracy ’70 live in Loveland, Colo., where Jim is the senior pastor of Celebration Church (celebrationchurch.me). Carolyn teaches piano lessons and is a care-giver with Visiting Angels, a national company that helps senior citizens remain in their homes despite failing health. They both enjoy working in the church together. Carolyn especially enjoys teaching children’s church and interpreting for the deaf.
’70s Charles Barfoot ’70 is completing his PhD at Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley. He works at Arizona State University as a faculty associate. His work on the role of women in Pentecostalism has been widely cited in the Sociology of Religion. A major biography of the famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and the Making of Modern Pentecostalism, 1890-1926 was published this year. His other research interests include a sociohistorical study of A.A. Allen and Miracle Valley in southeastern Arizona. Kurt Dahlin ’78, MA ’92 founded The Breakwater Church where he pastors and has a
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26 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
ministry bringing the gospel and water to Africa for over 16 years (waterwellsforafrica.org). This past summer, Kurt’s outreach led multiple teams that ministered to 15,000 people in Malawi, Africa. He is grateful for his time at Vanguard and continues to celebrate what God is doing at Vanguard and in his own life. Daniel Holford ’75 is director of Trinity Ministries Group, a private non-profit counseling center. Trinity Ministries was recently awarded a citation by the Tulare County District Attorney’s office for “dedication to helping crime victims and our community.” He is especially delighted at the accomplishments of his Vanguard Alumni daughters, Mikaela ’09 who was recently promoted to case supervisor at CASA Orange County, a children’s advocacy group, and Cambria (Holford ’06) Larson, the assistant stage manager for the East Coast tour of Cathy Rigby-McCoy’s Peter Pan. Peter Kuzmic ’71 co-founded and directs Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia, the first evangelical theological school in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. He also founded Timisoara Theological Institute in Romania and is a distinguished professor of world missions and European studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He continually thanks God for Vanguard and is thoroughly blessed by the growth of his ministry. Rebecca (Mitchell ’65-’66) and Dale Myhill ’70 relocated from Alaska to Lake Stevens, Wash., to be near their sons and grandchildren Noah, 5, and Sophia, 3. Dale worked as a case manager for Volunteers of Alaska, finding homes for the chronically homeless. Since retiring from the University of Alaska at Anchorage in 2007, Rebecca enjoys volunteer work and watching her grandchildren. They attend Snohomish Faith Assembly where
they facilitate a home group. They also just celebrated 42 years of marriage. Lafe A. Murray ’77 lives in Chandler, Ariz., where he pastors the Congregational Church of the Valley. Mark Thallander ’72 is happy that two Mark Thallander Foundation recordings, Festival of Faith and Love Divine, earned Silver Angel awards for family-friendly media. A former assistant professor of music at Vanguard, Mark is now the president of the Mark Thallander Foundation where he is blessed to promote growth in faith and community through the gifts of music and work with choral leaders across the nation.
’80s Diane (Miller ’86) Howard and husband Larry celebrated 25 years of marriage in May. They live in Lancaster with daughters Leslie, 13, and Damaris, 10. Larry teaches at Antelope Valley Christian School while Diane is a dorm parent to 40 international students. Ava (Evans ’82) Oleson received her DMin from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in April. Marvin Ray Risco ’88 lives with his wife of 22 years, Jeanette, and their daughter Francesca in Seattle. Since being at Vanguard, they have lived and worked in Southern California, Munich, Germany, and Montevideo, Uruguay. Jeanette has her own business as a designer of handpainted porcelain pieces (etsy.com/shop/Jrisco). Marvin is the managing director of Weyerhaeuser Solutions and vice president of international operations. Ray is fluent in Spanish, conversational in Portuguese and has managed businesses in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. He received an MBA from Pepperdine after completing a double major in business administration and accounting from Vanguard. Teresa Rodriguez ’84 is a maternal/child health specialist offering counseling, professional
A Garden in the City Two years ago Darren
caring for the poor and needy and the promise
Rouanzoin ‘06 left his position at
of being “a well watered garden.” The verse
Rock Harbor church in Costa Mesa
also includes the exhortation to “rebuild the
to plant a church in downtown Long
foundations of the city and repair the broken
Beach. Today, The Garden Church
streets for the generations to come.”
draws 300 people, meets in a night club and spends a good deal of time on projects such as feeding the homeless, helping at an AIDS hospice and tending a community garden. “We didn’t want to plant a church that was just about Sundays,” Rouanzoin says. “We wanted people who knew how to live out their faith.”
“It’s an all-in mentality and everyone has a part to play,” says Rouanzoin. The church created a community garden of 7,000 square feet in the middle of Long Beach and gave away 400 pounds of produce to neighbors their first season. Rouanzoin says they are seeing healings, prophecy and people
Rouanzoin was 22 and the junior member of
encountering the Holy Spirit in the midst of
the Rock Harbor staff when God directed him
gatherings and serving together.
and his wife and wife Alexandra (Hodges) Rouanzoin ‘07 to plant a church in Long Beach, which he calls one of the most secular cities in America. The church is led by many young VU alums in partnership with people like VU professor Bill Dogterom who shares teaching duties on Sunday mornings. “It’s all collaborative, done in teams,” Rouanzoin says. “God is just opening amazing doors.” The Garden Church’s foundational purpose is found in Isaiah 58:11-12 which speaks of
“We’re creating space for God to move, and we’re seeing it happen,” he says. Rouanzoin says his relationships with religion professors at Vanguard were “phenomenal. I owe a lot to the grooming I received at Vanguard. I transferred from a UC school as a theater major. As soon as I came to Vanguard and came back to faith, my life was transformed and I went into ministry.” To learn more, visit thegardenlb.org.
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
care, education and support to women during their childbearing years and after. She also studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and has great interest in social issues. She continues to devote herself to women’s health care and midwifery.
’90s Robert “Bobby” Bloom ’94 has joined the Robert Bosch LLC North America Automotive Aftermarket Division as vice president, independent aftermarket sales. Bloom is responsible for independent aftermarket sales, customer service and category management in the United States. Deborah (Gunzel ’94) Gatchel is very involved with a non-profit organization called Grace Community Outreach in Ghana, West Africa (facebook.com/gracecommunityoutreach). The outreach began as a vacation Bible school program and has since grown to include soccer camps with an annual tournament in 20 villages. Grace Community Outreach also opened five libraries last summer and hopes to open an additional five. Deborah is writing curriculum for a school the ministry plans to start. At that point, she will relocate from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Ghana. Jennifer (Kurtz ’98) Hall and husband Greg live in La Center, Wash. Greg is a special education teacher. Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom, a volunteer coordinator for First Class Home School Ministries and on leadership in a mothers group at church. They are proud parents of Caleb, 12, Hannah, 6, and Madelyn Hope, 1. Angelita Kisena ’97 is an active duty US Naval Officer (LTJG) and has been serving for 13 years. She is stationed at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., where she is a clinical nurse manager for the plastic surgery and wound clinic. Her duty station will change to Sigonella, Italy, in December. She is a proud mother to son Maksahmus Osakueva Kisena, 7.
28 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
Kimberly (Olson ’97) and Reece Lemmon ’98 have four children, Megan, Shannon, Jack and Kristen. Kimberly is a kindergarten teacher at Water of Life Christian School. Reece completed an MTS from Fuller Theological Seminary and has been the youth director at La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church for almost 13 years. The Lemmons live in Rancho Cucamonga. Natasha Nelson ’98 and her sister Chelsey founded Yogurtini, a self-serve frozen yogurt company in Tempe, Ariz. Since their first shop opened in November 2008, Yogurtini has expanded with ten franchises and received media accolades that include “Top 35 Entrepreneurs under 35” by the Arizona Republic and AZ magazine, and a feature in Inc. magazine on “How to Give Your Franchise a Personal Touch” (yogurtini.com/franchise). Natasha and Chelsey have a heart for Haiti, Sudan and many parts of Africa. Yogurtini has worked with the community and philanthropic communities to raise thousands of dollars for worthy causes. Nicole (Byrd ’94) Scheider lives in Phoenix where she is the manager of communications for the Phoenix International Raceway (phoenixraceway.com). Nicole Suydam ’95 is the vice presidet of development for Goodwill of Orange County. She was selected as a “40 under 40 Top Professionals” in OC Metro in spring 2011. Bradley Switzer ’99 attended medical school at St. George’s University Medical School and has been an internal medicine physician for 6 years. His primary location is at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. Brad was recently featured in the Telegram & Gazette for resolving a medical mystery in one of his patients.
’00s Leslie (Schaefer ’00) Ballard recently started Peritus, a business which provides design, eLearning development and learning technology consulting services. She lives in Nashville with husband Mike.
Gary Blackard ’08 is a vice president with Xerox and recently published a new book. Relevance in the Workplace: Using the Bible to Impact Your Job. Gary is also the president of a non-profit organization called Eagle Peak Leadership (EaglePeak.org) which is devoted to integrating work and faith according to the Bible. He has spent many years in travel and is thankful for his wife Debra and children Joseph and Crystal. Ashley DeYoung ’11 began working at San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland as an ER scribe for physicians immediately after graduating in May. She is applying to medical school and hoping to go on medical mission trips. Adam Hearron ’11 works for an industrial supply company in Bakersfield. He plans to start a non-profit organization based out of Central Asia. Carrie (Yarbrough ’07) Kuhlman created a non-profit organization to teach photography to children in Africa and share their photos with the world (throughtheirlens.net). Caitlin MacyBeckwith ’07 lives in Seattle and recently became a member of a traveling theatre group, the Road Company at Taproot Theatre (taproottheatre.org). The Road Company puts together one-act plays addressing bullying prevention and features them in schools throughout the state. Caitlin feels blessed to have a full-time job that allows her to do theater, traveling and outreach. She feels equipped for the job by her experience in Vanguard players, choir tours and missions trips. Sandra Ramirez ’08 lives in Bakersfield. She has been a ninth grade English and ELD (9-12) teacher and is currently pursuing her MA. Sandra sells art supplies, unique scarves (refurbedtees.com) and custom TOMS shoes artwork (etsy.com/shop/artsysandra).
Matt Ross ’09 is an agent with Liberty Mutual Insurance servicing Orange County and has worked there since graduating. He recently received his FAA private pilot’s license and is a member of the Airline Owners and Pilots Association. He also has a open water diver certification and plays kickball, softball and baseball in local leagues. Matt continues to be involved at Vanguard, helping with RA training, SIFE and Welcome Week. Josh Rossi ’04 has lived in New York City for six years and is the systems engineer at a financial technology company. Jonathan Rowden ’07 just received his MM in jazz performance from Cal State Fullerton, and has had the privilege of appearing on stage with Dave Pietro, Barbara Morrison and Bashirrah Creswell. Jonathan resides in Brea with wife Rachyl and is the worship leader at Walnut Valley Vineyard. He also teaches private lessons (jonathanrowden.com). Alicia Wong ’02 founded Kaleidoscope, a business that helps women and children rise out of poverty and into a hopeful future. Alicia recently spent time traveling and serving in Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. She lives in Alameda. Jennifer Wright ’05 relocated to Colorado Springs this summer to work as a second grade teacher.
Just Married Carrie (McIntyre ’05) married Rudy Cano at Kapalua Bay Beach in Hawaii on June 11. They live in San Diego where Rudy works as a helicopter mechanic. Carrie worked
’60s alums come home for reunion The ‘60s decade held its first
“We’re so thankful for the moving of the Holy
reunion on the Vanguard campus in
Spirit in our time together,” says Saalinger.
July. Billed as a kind of homecoming under the theme “We Are Going Home for a Party,” the weekend gathering drew nearly 200 people who had graduated or attended in the 1960s, plus a few from the late ‘50s and early ‘70s.
The weekend was spent in various gatherings, from dinners and lunches to sing-alongs and times of sharing, prayer and renewing acquaintances. The Saturday night sing-along led by Jerry English ’63 has been a highlight of the last two reunions. Other
“I was so happy with how it turned out,” says
gatherings were led by professor Phil
reunion organizer Vonni Franks ’65. “How
Robinette ’64 and alums Wayne Cagle
could I not be when we had so many attend?
’64 and Ginger Walstrom Haan ’65
People were thrilled and excited about being
who all stepped up to help at the last minute
when health issues prevented the assigned
Franks has been instrumental in co-organizing
leader of the gatherings from attending.
reunions year after year for a group of alums
Dianne Haneke ’64, co-organizer of the
which seems to enjoy a special closeness. She
previous three reunions and a retired professor
is also a longtime donor to the Vanguard library
in Austin, Texas, says ’60s alums feel especially
and was instrumental in establishing the Library
close because they experienced Vanguard’s
transition to a four-year school, the cultural
“I just love Vanguard,” Franks says. “I made close friends while there and have remained connected even though I left the area [to live in Fresno].” The ‘60s decade has proven particularly loyal with people traveling from all over to attend reunions. Sharon “Smitty” (Smith) Saalinger ’59-’63 says “there’s such a bond. Many of us feel like family.” In the weeks since the reunion people have reported real touches from God.
changes and political turmoil of the time, and the small size of the student population which allowed everyone to know everyone else. That sense of belonging has been passed down through the generations at Vanguard. “It is just a close community,” says Haneke, who set up the Meyers-Haneke scholarship to help students fund their education and graduate as teachers. “The foundations that were laid were so collegial, so tight-knit. We care about each other.”
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
at Vanguard in the School of Communication before their move. She is currently the administrative assistant to the associate provost at National University where Rudy is pursuing a degree in business. Carrie plans to compete in another marathon at the end of this year. Katie (Frenken ’10) and Zechariah Franks ’09 married on May 21. They live in Salt Lake City. Zack works at the University of Utah in the molecular medicine program as a laboratory technician and leads a small group at their church. Katie is the store manager at RubySnap, a gourmet cookie shop in downtown Salt Lake City (rubysnap.com). RubySnap was recently voted Best Bakery in Utah. Stephanie (Hillon ’03) Kearns and husband Adrian were married at Vibiana in Los Angeles in April 2010 and now reside
Vanguard blessed by gift from alums’ estate In May, Vanguard University was
The Markeys loved Vanguard and gave
blessed with a gift of more than
generously on many occasions. They funded
$100,000 from the estate of
the Markey-White Christian Educators
Ralph and Alberta Markey.
Scholarship Fund along with their niece and
“The love the Markeys had for Vanguard has formed a spiritual legacy that will continue to bless and educate young people,” says Mark McAnlis, director of gift planning at Vanguard University. “Such is the blessing of those who give their lives and assets to the cause of Christ.” The Markeys were longtime Vanguard supporters and pastors in the Assemblies of God. Ralph Markey met and married Alberta Olson in 1935. Ralph served on the board of Vanguard University (then Southern California Bible College) in the 1950s and as a presbyter for the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God. As a pastor and builder of the Garden Grove Assembly of God Church, Markey founded one of the first Christian schools in Orange County.
30 vanguard magazine spring/summer 2011
VU alum, Ruby (West) White ’59, and nephew-in-law, Raymond White ’58, a Vanguard alum and professor emeritus. The scholarship fund has grown to more than $50,000. In 2004 they gave the University a substantial gift to furnish the offices of the Department of Religion in the Heath Academic Center. Alberta passed away in October 2010. The Markey Trust gave nearly $200,000 to the University in the Markeys’ lifetimes. Their niece, Jeenie Gordon ’74 is also a faithful Vanguard supporter. To find out how you can support Vanguard through planned giving contact Mark McAnlis or visit give.vanguard.edu.
in Anaheim Hills. Jenn (Castro ’03) Robertson married Chris on March 20 in Paso Robles. Jenn has spent the last several years working with holistic ministries and foundations and continues to consult with nonprofits and ministry startups. Chris and Jenn are professional wedding photographers (chrisandjennphotos.com). Ashley (Kooyers ’09) and Chase Waterhouse ’09 were married in Dana Point overlooking the harbor on March 11. Ashley is the community event coordinator in San Clemente while Chase is a computer technician for Apple in Newport Beach. They make their home in Laguna Beach. Jessica (Mean ’07) Wilschke married Tom on September 4. They will honeymoon in Australia in late fall.
They live in Chicago where Jessica is the interactive marketing manager for a nonprofit organization.
Future Alumni Annie (Barnes ’01) Boateng attends Del Rey Hills Church in Playa del Rey where her husband Sarpong is the youth leader. Annie is a stay-at-home mom to Oliver, 4, and baby Indie, born in March 2011. Cameron Carter ’98, MA ’00 and wife Tonia have a new addition to their growing family: Piper Morgan, born July 21. She was welcomed by brother Logan, 6, sister Alexis, 4, and grandparents Doris (Cook ’64) and Dail Carter ’64. Amber (Tarleton) and Stephen Fussle ’05 had a daughter, Ka’iulani Rachelle, on June 20. They live in Kahului, Hawaii, where Stephen is the pastor and Amber is the worship pastor at The Awakening Church (awakeningonline.org). Dana (Nelson ’05) and Gabriel Goldman ’04 welcomed daughter Emery Mae on December 14, 2010. She has one big sister, Brinley Rae, 2.
Heather Joy (Wells ’98) Hubbert and husband Daron are excited about the birth of their twins Emma Joy and Evan David on December 7, 2010. Heather is the assistant dean of students at Cal Baptist University. The Hubberts live in Corona. Tricia (Wilson ’04) Kovely and husband Andrew welcomed their first son Rowen William on July 11, 2010. They live in Newport Beach where Andrew is a production manager at a local advertising agency and Tricia is a stay-athome mom.
In Memory Roger Clark ’70 passed away May 15. Irene (Crabaugh ’60) Crawford passed away July 8. Steve Graner ’75 passed away July 22. Frances (Bingham 1953-1954) Hiatt passed away October 5, 2010.
Larry Hyatt ’65 passed away in January 2008. Col. John Lindvall ’50 passed away July 14.
Amanda (Cooper ’09 MTS) Lebrecht is the director of student success and retention at Vanguard. She and husband Phil, an engineer, welcomed daughter Cayla Lynn on September 12, 2010.
Kent Mutschler ’65 passed away July 11.
Sara (Bradley ’04) and Josh Peevyhouse ’04 have been full-time missionaries for two years with Christian Surfers. They are proud to introduce the newest surfer to the family, Jamin Michael Peevyhouse born September 5.
Mary Lou (Hopkins ’40) Wantland passed away October 18, 2010.
Muriel (Romes ’36) Park passed away May 15. Gwendolyn (Van Beek ’61) Miller passed away May 27, 2010. O. Louise Scott ’85 passed away May 5.
Beverly (Gary ’76) Williamson passed away May 24.
vanguard tweets LizzyPaulos Lizzy Paulos
KristineGrimes Kristine Grimes
Completely blessed by the service at @VanguardU with amazing speaker and Pastor Rick Warren. Cant wait to be a part of @SBLdrAcdmy one day!
“If you spoke to your friends the way you talk to yourself, would you have any friends?” - Pastor Vince #VUChapel @VanguardU
rene_j_molina Rene J Molina
Brittney_Joy Brittney Roberts
@VanguardU wow. :) hi. Well it was really nice I liked the school so much! Lord willing that’ll be my future school next Fall 2012. :)
At my old stomping grounds (@VanguardU) to give a lecture on #socialmediamarketing. #heregoesnothin
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johnnygiovati Johnny Giovati
@ThePrincetonRev names @VanguardU “A Best in the West” College ow.ly/7mNxm
At @VanguardU to see the brand new towers lobby!! I am so proud of my school! So proud to be @VanguardAlumni #lovethelobby
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
A Chance to Lead I was a freshman when I got a call from Leonard Nipper, the business manager at Southern California College, now Vanguard University. Leonard knew me from church; I was the precocious 19-year-old choir director
churches across America. Next year we’re singing
at Christ Church of Westminster. He told me
at the Sydney Opera House, premiering a choral
Vanguard’s choral conductor had resigned — did
collection I composed called Hymns Alive. We’ll
I mind filling in until they replaced him?
take our second trip to Eastern Europe to premier
I was just naïve enough to say yes, though it meant directing and grading fellow students, many of whom were older than me. The assignment started sooner than I expected. Rosemary
music in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. And on July 4 we’re taking 160 singers to Normandy, France, to sing there and in London for the U.S. Olympians before the 2012 Olympics.
Jackson ’84 booked us that summer up and
I’ll always be grateful to Vanguard for believing
down the West Coast, giving me four weeks to
in me. I learned how to manage people and that
plan our first performance. I put a singing group
everyone wants to be part of something excellent.
together called Charity, got everyone outfits, wrote
We all rise as high as our leadership. I learned to
some music, rehearsed for ten days straight and hit
set the bar beyond expectations so people could
the road, performing with the group almost daily
thrive. God is worthy of our best!
for two months at churches and camp meetings.
But one of the best lessons I learned at Vanguard
Phil Barfoot is CEO and president of Christian Copyright Alliance and Celebration Concert Tours
That coming school year, I directed the Vanguard
is that you have to love people. If you do, they’ll
Singers and Band for the entire year and can
be on your team. The phrase “people don’t care
He is married to Sheri
say with confidence that I learned more that year
how much you know until they know how much
(Burroughs ’87) Barfoot.
than at any other time in my career! We traveled
you care” really is true. I work with people from
extensively and released a record that fall.
all over the country every week and the most
I actually look back on that experience as the beginning of my career. Today I am doing exactly
important thing I do is make sure they know I care for them. That makes all the difference.
what I did then: composing music, directing choirs,
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do what I love to
touring the U.S. and producing choir recordings.
do. My passion has always been to get the local
The company I started, Celebration Concert Tours
church outside the four walls. I’m honored to have
International, puts choirs together and takes them
produced more than 500 custom choir recordings
on tours around the world. We are premiering a
for local churches through Christian Copyright
Christmas musical I composed titled “The Hope
Alliance. It was Vanguard University that taught me
of Christmas” in Carnegie Hall this November
to love people and gave me the chance to learn
with a 400-voice choir made up of members from
32 vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
a vine of his own planting
Ralph Carmichael ’44-’48 and Nat King Cole in Capitol Records studio A, c. 1960.
“This was one of many visits Nat and I made to studio A to record an album. I did several albums for Nat, starting with the Christmas album which remains popular these many years later. “The year or two prior to the session pictured here, I had written the music for Nat’s road show. We traveled with a group of a dozen or so voices. Nat’s dad was a preacher, so Nat had a Christian background. For the finale of the show he wanted a rather lengthy medley of spirituals. The singers were dressed in robes and singing on a riser behind Nat. Behind them was a big scrim that had a cross projected onto it. Nat would come on dressed in his Sunday morning suit like he was a preacher, and sing.
“My mom [well-known Bible teacher and early Assemblies of God preacher Adele Carmichael] was going through a difficult time accepting that I was doing secular music. I got her tickets to a show we were doing at the Greek Theater. When we got to this finale and Nat came out and did the spirituals, I was set. Mom accepted my career choice from then on. You really couldn’t work for a nicer person than Nat Cole. He was rather quiet and non-demonstrative. He showed his appreciation. Recording with him was a wonderful experience.
“The last time I was in studio A was in 2009 when I wrote music for the Oscars which we pre-recorded at Capitol. They’ve done a lot to the studio since my first time there in the late ’50s when it had just opened. Studios A and B both have very high ceilings, and it’s set up now with a divider so they can become one gigantic studio. It’s a wonderful place to record.”
vanguard magazine Fall/Winter 2011
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