GCU has sound rapport with high school musicians

May 16, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The relationships Grand Canyon University has built through its Strategic Educational Alliances make a difference.

So do its facilities.

Take, for example, a recent visit by students who perform in the worship band at Scottsdale Christian Academy. They spent two days in GCU’s state-of-the-art recording studio working on the tracks for songs they had written, but for two of them it also was a chance to get a better feel for a place they’ll get to know quite well during the 2017-18 academic year.

Scottsdale Christian Academy senior Logan Myers (left) sings in the Grand Canyon University recording studio, accompanied by Jared Utterback, the school’s director of spiritual life, playing the guitar.

Logan Myers and Danniella Kutnerian are looking forward to being roommates in GCU’s Acacia Hall starting in August, and both intend to be involved in the Center for Worship Arts program and Chapel bands.

Myers, who lives in Scottsdale, plans to major in Elementary Education, but she’s equally excited about her minor in Worship Arts. She said she has been singing since she was 3, which is “kind of weird because no one in my family knows how to do music.”

Kutnerian, from Paradise Valley, is going to be a Biology major, a precursor, she hopes, to eventually becoming a physician assistant. But she also has had a passion for music ever since she started writing songs at age 10.

Both of the songs they were recording had special meaning for them.

Myers wrote “My Only Truth” because she was feeling the stress of her senior year in high school. Once she got the words on paper, she relaxed, toured GCU for the second time in a year and decided that it was the place for her.

The welcome she got when she toured the recording studio made her decision easier: “When I walked in, there were kids in here talking. They said, ‘Are you going to go here?’ It was really friendly, and that’s the type of people I want to be with.”

Kutnerian went on a mission trip to Mexico, was baptized there and felt the inspiration for a song called “Revival.”

“When I came up in the water, I was like new again,” she said. “I just sat down and started writing.”

The students from Scottsdale Christian had recorded in a studio before, but never one this big.

Both had one high-profile singing experience at GCU: They were part of a Scottsdale Christian chorus that sang the national anthem before a basketball game.

“It was a cool experience for them, singing in front of that many people,” said Jared Utterback, Scottsdale Christian’s director of spiritual life. “I’d like to see them sing in the Chapel bands.”

For Utterback, getting another look at campus is like time travel. He remembers visiting when it was much smaller, and his first look at the recording studio was an eye-opener.

“It’s a lot bigger and just really nice,” he said. “It’s a very nice studio.”

The visit was made possible by Strategic Educational Alliances, which has built relationships with schools across the nation, and the Canyon Christian Schools Consortium, which has more than 2,000 members, including Scottsdale Christian.

Greg Harman, assistant vice president for academic alliances, gets a list of available dates from Eric Johnson, manager of the recording studio, and then works with the other GCU alliance directors to get the word out to music directors at Arizona schools so they are aware of the opportunity.

“We like to call it a value-added benefit,” Harman said.

GCU, in turn, will benefit in the fall from bringing in freshmen, such as Myers and Kutnerian, who will bring even more talent to the Worship Arts program and the Chapel bands. They see a smooth transition.

“It’s like our school, only bigger with more options of stuff to do,” Myers said.

And value-added places to sing.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or rick.vacek@gcu.edu.





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