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Announcing the Brehm New Music Initiative at Fuller Theological Seminary

Bill Brehm full

The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary is delighted to announce the formation of the Brehm New Music Initiative (BNMI). Set to officially begin in July of 2015 as a 3-year program, this initiative is made possible through a generous new gift from William K. (Bill) and Delores S. (Dee) Brehm.

The focus of the initiative is to stimulate the creation of new music for both church worship and concert hall, covering a variety of styles of musical expression. The new music will include commissioned works and invited submissions. These works will range from music for congregations to sing and play as well as music for choir accompanied by full orchestra.

Dr. Ed Willmington, the Director of the Fred Bock Institute of Music will oversee the direction of the BNMI project. “Bill and Dee Brehm have long had a passion for encouraging the creation of new music for various purposes,” says Dr. Willmington. “They understand firsthand the power of music as a force for inspiration and as a means for people to express their faith. This significant creative project will allow several pipelines of new music to be created that will live out their vision. What a marvelous and exciting opportunity this is for composers to create, as well as for those who will perform and worship by means of the music that will be created.”

"The Brehm Center and the Bock Institute are committed to encouraging and investing in the production of new choral music for the church because the commercial support for such music has diminished", remarks Bill Brehm, former Fuller Board Chair. "Our BNMI is designed to reduce publishers' risks by providing encouragement and financial support for the creation of new choral works, including their preparation for publication. Thus our goal is to relieve the publisher of most of the 'front-end' efforts associated with the publication process, and in this fashion help secure its viability. Ultimately, this is about keeping alive a beautiful art form with a long, treasured history of connection to worship and the life of the church.”

The newly created music will be distributed in various forms, from online methods to standard publishing systems. This includes offering some of the music through the Brehm Center’s publishing imprint, Jubal House. Jubal House provides print product, audio and video score samples, as well as resources for using the music in creative context. In addition, the music will be available at various conferences and may be heard through recordings and performances as the music is created.

Gospel TrinityThe initial fruits of this initiative have already arrived. The first of the more major works is a new orchestra and choir expression of the historic Te Deum text. Well-known composer Dan Forrest composed this dynamic work in three movements. Te Deum has already been performed in Carnegie Hall, with another performance planned there in 2016. Recently, Forrest also wrote a chamber style instrumental accompaniment for the work for those who don’t have the space or resources to use a full orchestration, which is also available. Excerpts may be heard of the Forrest Te Deum at JubalHouse.com.

The most recently commissioned work is a composition focused on the theological concept of the Trinity. Written with a movement for each of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and an added Gloria Patri, composer Rosephanye Powell brings a unique and engaging Gospel flavor to the musical expression. Gospel Trinity also features opportunities for soloists, and is fully orchestration as well. Rosephanye’s highly singable writing in Gospel Trinity will make the new work accessible for both church, school, and community choir. It will be available in mid-2015.

The Brehm New Music Initiative has been laying the foundation for future creative efforts by connecting with several composers who write in various genres. These works range from songs of worship to more extended compositions that have already found their way into major concert halls. Creative choral pieces have been created for use in church worship and schools. Each composition has been created with a specific theological theme, historic significance, or creative function in mind.

The progress and opportunities related to the Brehm New Music Initiative will be documented on the website of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller.edu or BrehmCenter.com.

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