Trevecca student to showcase creative arts through innovative research project

From operas to carillon compositions and documentaries, Trevecca’s Faculty-Led Research Experience (FLARE) projects in the creative arts have taken a variety of forms over the years.

This year, students built on that foundation by creating “Medley: An Experimental Interdepartmental FLARE Anthology of Music, Film, Theatre, and Dance.” The presentation is set for April 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. each night in the Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall.

The FLARE project, part of Trevecca’s Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), allows undergraduates to experience research first-hand. “Medley” began simply as “Music, Movies and Movement: The Creative Arts Project,” a FLARE proposal anchored by faculty members from School of Music and Worship Arts and the School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Communication Studies, including Dr. Eric Wilson, Prof. Seth Conley, Dr. Jeff Frame and Prof. Blake Houchin.

“Much like the opera projects in the past, and the film Your Kingdom Come, [‘Medley’] wound up being interdisciplinary,” said Wilson, associate professor of music and chair of the music department. “It grew out of the continued desire for interdepartmental interactions.”

Whether composers, filmmakers, musicians or performers, students were challenged with creating a series of short works that brought ideas to life and allowed them to combine their talents and expertise. Intent on encouraging creativity, faculty members outlined basic concepts, then tried to stay out of the students’ way.

“The thing that has been beautiful about this year is that most of the faculty-mentor team has been completely hands-off on this one,” Wilson said. “The students who have proposed the projects and have taken the lead on their individual projects have been so strong and getting the business done. They pulled their teams together and managed everything very well.”

Junior Ethan Campbell focused on producing “Bell Tower Talks,” Trevecca’s student body podcast. Campbell says he wanted to create a “reliable source for campus news,” but also craft content that would be useful to the student body.

“We consistently use our media arts abilities when recording the material for each episode,” he said when describing the project. “We also use journalism skills to conduct interviews and collect event announcements. We also had a student from the music department create our theme music.

“Then in our Halloween special,” Campbell continued, “we had some of Trevecca’s theater students come in and do an audio drama for us that was written by a couple of communications students.”

Mariana Da Silva, senior, and her team took a different approach, creating a music video that combined videography and music. Featuring worship arts major Brian McHaney’s song “Move My Soul,” the video required a lot of resources.

“[Dr. Wells] was our costume designer and did a phenomenal job and helped us out tremendously,” Da Silva said. “We pulled from the FLARE’s funds to get those costumes, and Dr. Wilson provided us access to that. We used the Trevecca media art department’s film equipment—Prof. Conley was very gracious to allow us to check equipment out even though it wasn’t for a film class.”

Logistics also proved to be an issue, Da Silva and her team learned. They recorded the song in the sound studio in Wakefield and had to find time and spaces on campus to rehearse dancers.

“One of the crucial aspects for this music video was rehearsing with the dancers,” Da Silva said. “We contacted Leasa Williams [Trevecca’s director of conferences, events and custodial services] very often about acquiring space to be able to use and are very thankful to her.”

Wilson says these real-life experiences are an important part of the process, something he and the other faculty members hoped students would gain from the experience.

“[This type of FLARE project] helps students to work with one another in real-world scenarios that they’re likely to encounter after they graduate from here,” he said.

Da Silva hopes her team’s the final product, which will premiere this weekend, will “paint a beautiful picture” for the audience.

“This song is about longing and crying out to God in a very imaginative way,” Da Silva said. “Hopefully, it speaks to the audience as it spoke to me.”

“Medley” will be presented this weekend on April 12 and 13 in the Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall, located in the Jackson Center.

By Moira Kurtz
Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695