Credo 2017: In Their Own Words

Credo’s family grew this July, bringing into the fold the class of 2017. For those of you who have been to one of Credo’s summer programs, or who have had children or grandchildren attend, you know that something truly remarkable happens during those summer weeks. Deep, meaningful friendships are formed that last a lifetime. Game-changing musical breakthroughs happen everyday. Students encounter people and experiences that change the way they view the world and their place in it.


This summer was no different. For this post-camp newsletter we wanted to let Credo 2017 “speak for itself”. So we sat down with two students and two faculty members to ask them to share a bit about their time at Credo this summer:

This was the first summer at Credo for both Trisha Doo and Jason Arevalo, and both were surprised by the reach of Credo's mission: “What surprised me about the festival was how personally challenging it was. I knew that I'd be invited to work a lot in my music, but I didn't realize that I'd be invited to consider and think about my life in a very spiritual and critical manner,” Jason recalled. Trisha had similar expectations: “Coming into Credo, I thought it would be like any other festival: purely music. However within the first few days, I learned that Credo is so much more than just music and developing your gift. What sets Credo apart from any festival that I have attended is that Credo changes the focus from performing to reaching and serving others with or without your music.”

Ms Anne Williams (cello faculty) and Dr Lee Joiner (violin faculty) on the other hand, have been faculty members at Credo since the very beginning. “Credo is one of the highlights of my year” explains Ms Williams, “Where else can I have Christian fellowship with colleagues, participate in challenging, excellent performances, and have the chance to mentor talented students?”


Dr Joiner even says that Credo is a retreat, in a way (a retreat with a lot of hard work): “The combination of hearing my colleagues and the students speak in morning sing about the challenges they face and the way the Lord has taught them never fails to encourage me in my journey with the Lord. Whether it is the sports/faith analogies that Michael Davis brought, or the consideration of Chronos versus Kairos approaches to time that Elizabeth Larson shared, or C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy that Jim Howsman cited, by the end of the two weeks that I am at Credo I have a larger and richer, but also more nuanced, comprehension of how God is at work in the world.”

Faculty and students find themselves in conversations throughout the day on all manner of subjects. When Jason asked Dr. Joiner for advice on his junior recital, the two didn’t just talk about which pieces would work best for Jason’s technical and musical development. Dr Joiner encouraged him to use the opportunity to work through repertoire that would inform his whole being, both musically and spiritually.

While Credo takes place over a relatively short period of time when compared with the school year, significant changes happen very quickly! Trisha told us that “during the first week of Credo, I will be honest with you, I was quite overwhelmed. I came in with the mentality that I had to be perfect. I cared so much about what people thought of my playing that I forgot what my whole purpose of playing really was.” She recalled the moment before walking out on stage for her first concert at Credo: “I finally realized what it meant to truly let God use me. It wasn’t about God helping me to play perfectly so that I could impress others. I was willing to let go of my own pride and instead glorify God regardless of the outcome. I have never been filled with more peace and joy than I was that night.”


As Oberlin Conservatory students, Trisha and Jason were already familiar with the town, the practice rooms and the dorms. But Oberlin takes on a different feel during the summer: “I love Oberlin during the academic year, but being able to come during the summer and just focus on creating music with a community of people who want to share their gifts with others is something that I never got the chance to experience until now,” Trisha remarked.

After three weeks in Oberlin some of the students, including Trisha and Jason, participated in Credo's one-week orchestra intensive in Chicago. Jason said that “the relative quietness of the town of Oberlin allowed the group to grow really close together during those first few weeks. Chicago - in all of its hustle, bustle and busyness - really gave us an energy boost for that fourth and final week.”


In both Chicago and Oberlin some of the most meaningful experiences happened during Credo’s Service Days. For Trisha, picking up trash along the highway was just as important as playing outside a food bank in Lawndale (Chicago). And Jason was especially moved by his time with the kids at the PACE program (a community education program for under-served students). He recalls “At first their general sentiment was “what’s this all about?” But by the end we were all friends, the kids were clapping, conducting, moving about and earnestly asking questions and answering ours too! You could tell that these kids were very inspired, encouraged and joyful that we came."

Everyone who experiences Credo leaves with stories like these. Our Credo stories stick with us, change us and hopefully inspire us to continue to Develop the Gift, Acknowledge the Source and Respond with Service throughout the year.

We want to extend our sincere thanks to all of the students, faculty, volunteers, parents, and donors for making Credo 2017 so special!