New Life Singers Make the Most of Tour
By Doug Carroll
Gabe Salazar reasons that he has learned how to plan a choral trip, simply because he knows how not to plan one.
The recent tour of Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas by GCU’s New Life Singers was pulled together in a mad rush by Salazar, the director of the 14-member choir and its four-piece backing band. When an originally scheduled tour of the Pacific Northwest fell through, he began Googling.
After hundreds of emails and calls by Salazar to churches in the three states, New Life had itself an itinerary and departed immediately after Commencement. Over two weeks, the group gave 16 performances and spent nearly a full day in a Denver recording studio that had been used by Kanye West and Jordin Sparks, working on the soundtrack for a promotional video.
Back on campus last week after 4,500 miles of riding a bus, Salazar appeared tired but happy.
“It’s been a learning year,” he said, “but now our name is out there and we have a year under our belt. I’m not so worried about the music. That comes together easily. It’s logistics, logistics, logistics.”
The tour followed a six-day, 11-performance trip to California over spring break. Salazar said he’d like to add short weekend engagements to the spring and early summer tours next school year. He’d also like to expand the group’s material, so that it can sing before a wider variety of audiences.
“That shows our versatility as musicians,” he said.
This year, New Life totaled more than 100 performances, and some of those gigs were full-on, hourlong concerts.
“GCU was new to all of the churches we visited (in May),” Salazar said. “The comment I got the most was that people could see the passion we had. Our students got excited about presenting our music to people.”
In selecting the choir, Salazar said he looks for more than vocal talent.
“They need to have spiritual maturity and a commitment to this,” he said. “We’re basically on call. If Brian Mueller says we need to be somewhere tomorrow, we’ll be there.”
The traveling isn’t over for Salazar. Next weekend, he leaves on a two-week music missions trip to Rwanda, as part of a group of nine that will work with the Rwandan Children’s Choir and also build a house for a widow.
Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.