Nov.16 marks one year since Samford’s Worship Arts Ensemble made its debut in Brock Recital Hall. The group is led by Eric Mathis, associate professor of music worship and director of Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts.
Mathis defined WAE as an “18-voice, five-piece band, auditioned ensemble is committed to creating a unique, versatile worship experience using a wide range of music and all the arts,” according to a Samford press release.
In the year that it has been on campus, WAE has been defining itself, differentiating itself from other Samford singing groups.
“We didn’t want to try and copy A Capella Choir or University Chorale, we wanted to be our own group,” Glaze said. “So, that gave WAE the ability to try all kinds of music and really include the band in the pieces.”
Despite the rigor of the group, it is not exclusive to School of the Arts students.
“The unique things about WAE is that we are comprised of students across all majors,” group member Samantha Glaze said. “There are music majors, worship leader majors, business majors and science majors.”
And this conglomeration of different personalities and majors came together over the past year to create a special connection between singers and band members. Glaze’s favorite memory from the first year of WAE was a retreat that the group took after the first couple weeks of class, which helped the the group get to know each other and get more confident in a non-classroom setting.
“Most of the group did not know each other as well when we started this semester, so when we sang together we were timid, quiet, and stiff,” Glaze said.
As for how things were after the retreat, Glaze said that “the group began to blend as we listened to each other and grew in confidence and sound. It isn’t until the group is comfortable together that the group blends and sounds full.”
Since the group is small, each person has a lot they are able to lend to the sound and experience of WAE.
“Each person in the group adds a unique sound whether through their voice or the instrument they play, and the group would not be the same with a voice or instrument missing,” Glaze said. “I’m so proud of how we have grown and changed.”
[photo courtesy of Samantha Glaze]