The Intersection of Art and Faith

The intersection of art and faith occupies not only my work hours, but also my weekends, evenings, waking thoughts, and even dreams. Since these delicate crosshairs mark two indispensable continuums of my life’s work and play, I endeavor to pen some musings. My aim is not to persuade so much as to invite others to discover that beauty itself resides at this sacred intersection.

Motivated by the writings and speech of author Makoto Fujimura, the founder of an artist movement he calls “culture care,” I undertake this project on which I have ruminated for many years. Caring for culture is, for the Christian artist, a divine responsibility. We minister through music and the arts to our communities, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and families by acting as agents of collaboration, re-integration of beauty to our surroundings, and positive change. Beauty is a God-given gift to all mankind, exhibited in a million different ways and creative endeavors. Artists are the stewards of beauty–we make choices each day whether to add or withhold beauty from our artistic efforts and creations. Beauty is at the heart of not only great works of art, but also acts of compassion, peace agreements, great sacrifice for the good of others, and physical healing through the medical arts. Strengthening a child’s confidence at a critical moment of frailty is an act of beauty, where faith and art intersect. Pressing onward towards virtue amid difficulty illustrates the beauty of perseverance.

My point here is that we are all artists when we creatively solve problems or offer something good to a neighbor. At the same time we are all ministers when our actions bless the world around us in some way. Embracing this reality, that our planet and societies being leveled by destructive forces can be healed and stabilized by culture care led by artists, I move forward into this exploration of beauty at the intersection of faith and art.


Jazz Singing: A Guide to Pedagogy and Performance

Welcome to a new year and my new book! Jazz Singing: A Guide to Pedagogy and Performance (Rowman & Littlefield 2022) was written as a culmination of my years of pursuing a dual career as a touring musician and a professor of voice and jazz. Still teaching and singing, I continue to love learning (and will apply those future gleanings toward my second edition of this book). JS has several target audiences: working singers, teachers of singing, instrumentalists who teach singers, student singers, choir directors, and jazz aficionados. The book may be used to fill in gaps in one’s education related to voice science; microphone technique; teaching jazz to classical singers; helping classical voice teachers navigate jazz style when singing and/or teaching; mixing to create authentic jazz, music theatre, CCM, opera, or classical styles; crossover singing; and finding one’s own natural, healthy voice. The book amounts to 90,000 words dedicated to singing well and teaching others how to do it with a jazz sensibility. Illustrations and images contribute visual aids to the written text (I am particularly proud of my freehand sketch of the anatomy of the ear!). My Mix Continuum, which I have used since the mid 1990s in lessons and singing classes, teaches singers to balance resonance and tone color options for maximum efficiency, vocal comfort, and authenticity in any given style. There are scores of exercises peppered throughout the book that will give singers and teachers new ideas for exploring concepts in a jazz context. 

One facet that sets this volume apart from all the rest is the descriptive segments (featured in several chapters) that illustrate techniques and approaches used by the greatest jazz singers of the past century, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Nat Cole, Tony Bennett, and others. Readers are encouraged to listen to the artist described to hear a specific stylistic choice or technique for themselves. Several different sub-genres of jazz and various jazz styles are discussed, and several types of vocal improvisation are explored. There is also a chapter on the use of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a means for growing musicianship in both the voice studio and the vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal. Topics of mindfulness, expression, stage presence, phrasing, and stage etiquette round out this comprehensive volume in just under three hundred pages. 

I am overjoyed that this labor of love has finally been completed and is being introduced to the world! Readers are encouraged to ask me questions or invite me to teach a workshop in their region so that I may work with your students and elucidate any concepts that may invite demonstration. If you like what you read, I warmly encourage you to leave a favorable review on Goodreads and Amazon so that other seekers may also find this book. It took a village to prepare this singer to write it, and now I’m grateful for the honor of sharing what I have learned. Happy reading! ☺


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