More than a summer program

A report from Outreach Coordinator/Artist-in-Residence Rebecca Shasberger

When alumni think of Credo, many picture the warm days they spent in Oberlin rehearsing, performing, doing service projects, and singing hymns while enjoying the bonfire in Tappan Square. One of the things I love most about Credo though is that neither its spirit nor its work is limited to Oberlin, or even to the summer months. Even now, as snow swirls outside the Credo office, Credites around the country are living out the Credo mission of developing the gift, acknowledging the source, and responding with service. I’d like to share with you some particularly special ways that this mission has been engaged around the country this winter.

Last month Credo alumni Hector Gonzalez (‘11, ‘12) and J.B. Weiners (‘08, ‘09) gathered at The Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles to share music with those facing the harsh realities of life on Skid Row. J.B. reflected on their performance - part of the Music With a Mission concert series - noting that "everyone we talked with said they were grateful for the moment of peace in the midst of a long and chaotic day. Coming in the from the street reminded us of the realities of Skid Row – poverty, homelessness, mental illness, drug use, physical abuse – and providing a respite from that was enough to make it worthwhile for us." In December another group of Credo alumni - Chrishantha Vedhanayagam (‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘06), Patti Garvey (‘99, ‘03), and Jake Muzzy (‘00, ‘01) - along with faculty member Jennie Brown found great delight in performing for the residents at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago.

 Alumni perform at The Midnight Mission in LA

Alumni perform at The Midnight Mission in LA

 Alumni and faculty perform at a correctional center in Chicago

Alumni and faculty perform at a correctional center in Chicago

As Credo’s inaugural Outreach Coordinator/Artist-in-Residence it’s also been my pleasure to respond with service through music throughout the midwest over the last few months. Back in December I joined some staff members in St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s annual Christmas concert. It was inspiring and encouraging to see members of the Cleveland community sharing their own gifts of music, especially since they don’t often have the chance in the midst of their busy lives as nurses, doctors, and security guards. In recent weeks I’ve performed with Credo faculty Bryan Dumm for caregivers at Night to Shine, a prom for young people with special needs put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation as well as a a concert of music spanning continents and centuries at a senior center in Chicago with pianist Natalie Sherer. Of course a highlight of the winter was joining the mission trips to serve those affected by the hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico.  (You can read more about that trip here if you missed it.)

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What a joy it is to be part of a “summer” festival that continues around the year! If you’d like to connect with Credo alumni in your area to serve your local community with music please send an email my way; I would be so pleased to help you make that vision a reality.

Rebecca can be reached at rebecca.shasberger@credomusic.org