Born thousands of miles apart, a shared interest in music brought Philip and Michelle Noel to Trevecca’s campus in the fall of 2011.
Eight years later, the couple is living out their dream of being professional musicians.
Creating a bond through music
The two developed a friendship in the summer of 2012, while serving in Trevecca’s worship band Awaken, a co-ed vocal group that shares the gospel of Christ through music.
After performing over the summer, Philip and Michelle went on a ski retreat where Philip broke his collarbone on his first trip down the mountain. He was rushed to the emergency room, and Michelle accompanied him and held his hand in comfort.
“That was the defining moment where our friendship blossomed into something bigger,” the couple said.
They’ve been together ever since.
Philip grew up in San Diego discovering a passion for music in eighth grade where he began to play bass guitar at his church and joined his first punk rock band that summer. Michelle, a native of Mayfield, Ky., grew up performing in community theatre and singing in the choir at her church.
The couple’s love for music and Christ originated early on, which led them to the Hill to pursue an education in Trevecca’s School of Music and Worship Arts.
Philip, a 2014 graduate with a degree in commercial music, secured a career in the music industry, touring extensively across the country and abroad. Michelle, a classical voice major, now serves as the worship leader at Grace Church of the Nazarene in Columbia, Tenn.
A pathway to success
The road to success was not an easy process for the young married couple. It was a path that required several part-time jobs, early morning meetings and long nights in hope of meeting someone for a gig.
In the last three years, Philip has toured with country artist Seth Ennis and opened for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.
Philip is currently touring internationally with country singer, Carly Pearce, who is opening up the main stage at C2C: Country to Country tour in Dublin and London. From there, Philip travels to Australia to perform at the country’s largest country music festival, CMC.
Michelle is now excelling in her role at Grace Church of the Nazarene as worship leader where she heads the worship band, choir and drama ministry.
Michelle says she had no intentions of worship being her career path, but her experience in Trevecca’s worship band, Awaken, guided her into her calling in ministry.
A recipe for success
With the stresses of travel and both working full-time jobs, the two attribute a love for each other and Christ to making their hectic schedule work.
“We were young when we first got married, and we’ve had to grow up together. That’s been difficult at times,” Michelle said. “With the distance, I think we’ve developed a good rhythm and routine with the travel.”
Philip says that he loves married life with Michelle, especially in his line of work. Her support is critical while he’s on the road.
“It would be lonely in my work without her, and it gives me something to look forward to coming home to from being on the road,” Philip added.
Being musicians has also allowed the couple to take their passion for music and use it as an outlet to spend time together when Philip isn’t on the road. When Philip is able to be home on Sunday’s he plays bass at Michelle’s church while she sings. The two recently performed together at M19, a conference for Nazarene leaders in Kansas City, MO.
“It’s so much fun and such a joy to do those type of events together,” Michelle said.
Reflecting back on Trevecca
As they continue their path forward in the music industry, Philip and Michelle reflect back on their experiences at Trevecca as an important milestone in the development of their skills that both say “were critical in leading them to where they are now.”
“As musicians, we had a lot more opportunities than other schools because Trevecca is smaller,” the couple said. “We were constantly performing in chapel or at Trojan Idol and that allowed us the opportunity to craft our skills.”
The couple agree that the School of Music and Worship Arts is a remarkable program that provides an understanding of what it means to be a professional in music. The Noels give a lot of the credit to the talented and passionate professors in the school.
“A major strength of the commercial music program is Jeff Cox,” Philip said. “He was my mentor and without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. He guided me through what it means to be a professional and provided me with guidance that has helped me get to where I’m at today.”
Michelle shares that same opinion.
“I had wonderful professors and was able to sing with choral ensembles that helped shape my voice and technique,” she added. “The experiences provided at Trevecca coupled with great instructors was pivotal in my development as a musician.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about Trevecca’s School of Music and Worship Arts, visit trevecca.edu/music.