If the only thing that a musician was responsible for would be to insure correct notes and rhythms, there would be scant justification to have any of us around. Music has no particularly visible traces, but it certainly has significant effects on those who make music. It can mirror the soul, or it can urge the soul to a different place. It can comfort, or it can discomfort. Music can be here, and elsewhere. Answers to questions about the nature and meaning of music are complex: answers can be yes, or no, or both, and all at the same time. There is no better laboratory for exploring this phenomena that by using a hymnal.
Join us for the 2017 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies with special guest Dr. Kenneth Nafziger. Nafziger will lecture on “Melting the Boundaries of Our Being: Explorations in Singing Together.”
Nafziger will return to lead a Hymn Sing on February 5th.
Kenneth Nafziger is a graduate of Goshen College (B.A. in music) and of the University of Oregon (D.M.A. in music history and literature). He also was a post-doctoral conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart, Germany.
The current academic year ends a 39-year teaching career in Eastern Mennonite University’s music department. His teaching responsibilities have included Chamber Singers, conducting, church music, world music, and interdisciplinary and honors courses.
Nafziger was music editor of Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992), editor of its accompaniment handbook, and assistant to the editor of Sing the Journey (2005) and Sing the Story (2007). He was also responsible for the four acclaimed CDs of hymns found in the hymnal supplements. He co-authored with Marlene Kropf Singing, a Mennonite Voice, released in 2001. He originated and co-led the January Music and Worship Leaders Weekend at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, which this past January met for the 30th year.
Since June 1993, Nafziger has been artistic director and conductor of the annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival (Harrisonburg, Va.). The festival is a ten-day feast of music, with a professional orchestra, a choir, and soloists of national and international renown. This summer’s festival will be a festive 25th anniversary observance.
In June 2015, Nafziger was awarded the 2015 Circle of Excellence in the Arts Award, “for outstanding accomplishments and sustained contributions in the arts, improving the cultural vitality of the Shenandoah Valley.” The award is given by the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, the Valley Arts Council, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University. In other community involvement, Nafziger is also the artistic director and conductor of Winchester Musica Viva (in Winchester, Va.), a chamber choir of about 20 singers.
He is active throughout the United States and across Canada as a church music workshop leader, guest conductor and clinician. Nafziger has also made many trips to Cuba, where he worked as a guest orchestral and choral conductor, taught courses and workshops, and led EMU Chamber Singers.