Alumnus Profile: Jacob Weber
WHAT YOU DO • • • Throughout the year, I serve as the principal organist for all worship services. During the summer I plan the music for the church and school year. The various ensembles that I direct include the children's choir, adult choir, children's handbell choir, adult handbell choir, and the adult brass. I also oversee the K-8 music curriculum for the school and the various music festivals we host at the school. Finally, while the school year is in session, my weekdays are consumed with practicing, teaching music classes, piano and instrumental lessons.
Probably one of the greatest joys and passions that I have is the time I spend composing for the Church. Within the last year and a half, my composing workload and craft has blossomed. Ever since publishing my first children's choir manuscript with Concordia Publishing House (St. Louis, MO) I have had ample opportunity via commissions to compose for the Church, including texts and music for Concordia Publishing House's (CPH) Sunday school curriculum, CPH's new children's hymnal resource entitled “My First Hymnal,” and a new organ prelude series highlighting all hymn tunes in Lutheran Service Book, composed by a plethora of composers. However, my latest and most exciting project is a unique new organ series entitled “Soli Deo Gloria: 8 Distinctive Chorale Preludes for Every Organist, Set 1” released by Concordia Publishing House in May 2012. Many of the compositions in the first set of this series were composed and performed at Bethany for the New Music Recital and for Bethany student weddings. It is exciting and inspiring for me to have a “home” for my work as I compose throughout my lifetime. Aside from publishing with CPH, Northwestern Publishing House (Milwaukee, WI) also publishes my choral and organ settings.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • The passion God has instilled in me for music is what draws me to my field. Serving Christ and His Church in order to further the preaching of the Gospel through music is an incredible motivation. Throughout my life I have been encouraged to take up a career in music, but I was also encouraged to consider a different route in life due to the lack of fulltime jobs in the music field. This did not stop me, and I must say it inspired and motivated me even more to explore my prayer and dream of becoming a fulltime musician and to prove that I could successfully secure a job in my field.
HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • As I teach children the joy of music and hymnody, it is my hope that they will grab ahold of what they learn and take it with them throughout their lives and one day teach their own children or classroom. Additionally, composition and publishing have always been life goals, and I'm blessed by God to have accomplished it so early in my life. Through my composing, I pray that my music will fill parishes throughout the country and edify all those who hear it by interpreting the texts on which the music is based.
HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • At Bethany, your professors aren't just your teachers, they're your friends. How incredibly unique a Bethany education is! Additionally, the music degree prepares you for many areas of the music field, whether you're interested in theory, history, composition, performance, or pursuing further education. Bethany has the resources and the professors that will ultimately allow you to succeed and accomplish great things. In order to fulfill my requirements for my music major, I was expected to complete field experience. Through this endeavor, I gained leadership experience and skills that would help me in my career, and ultimately aid in landing a job after graduation.
WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST • • • What I remember most about Bethany was the worship life. Chapel on a daily basis just could not be beat. I was certainly blessed by this at Bethany, as the Holy Spirit worked faith in my heart during a very strong, yet a very weak time of my life. I also remember the freedom to study and excel in my field with the assistance of my professors and colleagues. It was such an incredible blessing to be at Bethany for my degree because it allowed me to gain confidence and knowledge in what I do. Every day was a new experience full of hands-on learning.
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • Continue to work hard to achieve your goals and your dreams. If you are a music major and you second guess your job options after graduation, stay optimistic and work towards becoming really good at whatever it is you do...performing, composing, teaching, etc. Search for jobs, apply, get interview experience, and overall get exposed to what the world has to offer. Make connections with others in your field. Establishing these from the get-go could potentially set you up for your first fulltime endeavor.
If you're like me, you'll look forward to every opportunity you have to step foot on campus as an alumnus. Strive to leave an impression and make a difference. Be your unique self and stand up for who you are. Never give up. Continually pray for faith, strength, and perseverance. Most of all enjoy every moment of your Bethany education!