Extra header image

June 2023

Twists of Broughton's journey show God's faithfulness

 At 60, Bobby Broughton is finally realizing some of his longtime dreams as a musician. He’s recorded his first album in Nashville and is about to head to the studio for the second one. And he’s building a ministry as a music evangelist around the country.

And while those dreams are coming true about 20 years later than he thought they might, he says

Leading worship

the entire journey has been a tribute to God’s faithfulness for he and wife Alison, both 1985 graduates of Wayland.

“I never would have dreamed of doing these things at 60. It’s been a roller coaster ride but we always want to communicate – and I do it through my music and preaching – that life with Christ does pay,” says Bobby. “He stays with us through the hard times; He is there for us and wants to help us.”

The music begins

Bobby’s first foray into music performance happened during high school.  Soon after, he toured with the Continentals and began to love writing music and attending clinics for musicians. Then he came to Plainview to study his craft formally.

The couple met at Wayland, and Alison began teaching immediately after graduation while Bobby worked on a Master of Fine Arts degree at Texas Tech and served as an intern in the student and music ministries at First Baptist Lubbock. After that degree was completed, he moved into full-time ministry, first with students and worship dually, then just in student ministry. All the while, Bobby continued to share the inspiration he’d received from God through writing original music that he used in student ministry and saw published in youth musicals and collections.

Soon, he got the chance to go into worship ministry solely and after serving a few years in south Texas, the Broughtons were called to serve at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth with John Lee, an accomplished writer and arranger himself whom Bobby had met and learned from while at FBC Lubbock. While there, Bobby continued to battle kidney stones.  On one severe occasion, while waiting to pass a stone, a doctor prescribed a new painkiller, oxycontin. Before long, Bobby found himself addicted to the medicine but kept that hidden.

“The problem was that I became so prideful that I did not want to admit that I had a problem and go to someone, and that became sin. I hid it from Alison, my family and my church. I was still doing my job well, but eventually I withdrew completely from ministry with the excuse that I was burned out.  After that, I spiraled even further,” he recalls. “By the time I had to admit what was going on, a lot of things had been destroyed. I went back to confess to the church, and it wasn’t what I expected. The church loved us and embraced us and got me the help I needed and my loving wife, Alison, never left my side.”

A moment of silence

That low period of healing was tough for Bobby, who said he was out of ministry for eight years and was not singing or writing music. But the Lord provided and sustained the couple while they stayed faithful to attend church as he healed from the emotional and spiritual damage and the enemy’s lies about being unworthy of ministry.

“God did bring us back, and it was a wonderful, slow process where the Lord restored us fully,” he said.

During that time, the couple moved to Muleshoe to help care for Alison’s mother, and they attended the First Baptist Church there under the leadership of WBU alumnus Dr. Stacy Conner. There, they found added encouragement and healing, and Stacy urged him to get back into ministry. That happened soon when Bobby took the interim position in music in nearby Friona, then was asked to stay full-time in that position. When the pastor left, they asked him to interim preach, then asked him to fill that position as well.

Back to the music

In Friona, the Lord used the church to minister to the Broughtons once more as Bobby was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma cancer in his leg in 2014.  In 2015, after radiation treatments he had surgery that removed all of the muscle from the back of his leg and the entire hamstringBroughton-journey-cover.jpg muscle. Doctors predicted he might never walk again, but God wasn’t done.

“The Lord performed a miraculous work, and within two weeks, I was standing and preaching in the pulpit again and walking normally,” Bobby recalls. “For my follow-up, I walked into the doctor’s office without assistance, and his very words were ‘that’s impossible’ and I said, ‘I know.’ He had promised to do his best, and I said God would do the rest. And He did.” The couple has published a testimony book about the miraculous experience and share it everywhere they go.

After serving a church in San Angelo, the Broughtons returned to Mount Vernon, Texas, to care for Bobby’s aging parents, then followed God’s call to Childress to serve. But after nine months, he got the opportunity to record his first fully funded album and the Lord made clear a new direction. The couple resigned and returned to Mount Vernon to set up a base for what is now their full-time music ministry.

Into the studio

While In Nashville, Bobby was blessed to work with top musicians and to record many of his ownBroughtons.jpg songs. He also included three covers on the album he entitled The Journey.

“It was an incredible experience, and the Lord spoke to me that He was giving me back those years away from ministry to allow me to do some things I’ve dreamed of for years,” he said. “I really hadn’t done much since we left Travis Avenue and the Lord has given some great things back to me.”

Currently he’s preparing to head back to the studio for his second album, which he titled Split Decision due to the mix of styles among the nine new Christian songs.

“I have southern gospel roots so I love that style, but I also love contemporary worship and the old hymns. We couldn’t decide what to put on the next album so I did half southern gospel and half contemporary,” he laughed.

Meanwhile, the couple seeks to book with churches for everything from revivals, preaching, Celebrate Recovery groups, retreats, concerts and whatever else God sends their way. He can be reached through his website at www.mountingupmusic.com.

In all of it, Bobby said the couple is faithful to share the goodness of God throughout their journey of both highs and lows, which include everything from a miscarriage and infertility in their early marriage to Alison’s family and personal struggle with mental health issues that the Lord has helped her to victoriously overcome for years. She has been substituting this past year in nearby Mount Pleasant, and she plans to teach in a Christian school and daycare associated with their church home in Mount Vernon beginning soon.

“Our testimony through this whole ministerial process is that we haven’t had it easy; we’ve been through some great challenges in life, and that’s reflected in the music,” says Bobby. “The songs I sing are songs of urgency about salvation and reliance upon the Lord and how He’s always there for you through thick and thin.”

Bobby’s first album, THE JOURNEY, can be found under the artist name on most of the major streaming services: Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer. His new album will be released this summer.


Williams hitting high notes in music career

Rachel Morgan Williams has been singing and performing for the majority of her life, whether on a high school stage, the Wayland stage or as a professional and longtime resident of Chicago. But in this season of life, she’s finally running on all cylinders both as the lead singer of a Chicago band and as a private vocal coach.

A native of Plainview, Rachel stayed in her hometown for college, earning a bachelor’s degree in both vocal performance and theatre in 2010.

Williams on the mic. 

Shortly thereafter, she and husband Jordy, a 2009 graduate in English, headed north to Chicago, where they both got immersed in the arts scene there.

“When I left Wayland, I had this anxiety not knowing what I wanted to do. I tried a lot of things – sketch comedy, film, plays and musicals, even a little bit of modeling,” she laughs. “I eventually found the most stable work in cover bands and did that for a while.”

Committing to music

While theatre tugged at her heart, Rachel said the lifestyle made it impossible to do both, so she chose music. Around 2016, she began teaching voice lessons and now has a full slate of clientele, mostly adults of all ages who range from active performers to hobbyists. As a studied vocalist, the work came naturally.

“I think voice training is something I’ve always found fascinating, and I was taking lessons with Jennie Lynn Hodges while in high school and then worked with Dr. Jeff Kensmoe at Wayland. It was fascinating to me how he could understand what was going on in a voice and just the little adjustments you can make, and I always thought it would be a fun thing to go into,” she recalls. “Then I found Somatic Voicework,™ started by Jeannie LoVetri, which is a vocal pedagogy method that is style-flexible. It’s not based on a musical style but more body-based. It’s helped me navigate all kinds of different people with different backgrounds and ages and bodies and interests.”

Finding a great fit for her home studio, Rachel studied consistently and completed the Somatic certification. She is now an associate faculty member, able to present at workshops or conferences led by the founder. Her lessons are held heavily via Zoom, especially since the pandemic proved that method workable.

Covering the hits

While that work has remained stable, Rachel’s cover band resume is a bit more varied. Her first gig was in a country band for four years, which she found ironic as a displaced Texan. She then sang with a pop rock “party band” for about nine months, finding their touring schedule around the Midwest just a bit too much to balance. After some substitute roles, she landed again with a rock cover band “just to keep my voice moving” while in somewhat of a vocal identity crisis. She was writing original music, but found some of her work great ideas that just didn’t show off her vocal talents well.

Then she found out from a former bandmate that The Claudettes were looking to fill their lead singer vacancy and had immediate interest in the group who performs a mix of originals and covers. She had seen the band – whom she described as “roots-based… bluesy, jazzy, rocky, punky” – in several live performances and really loved their style. They felt the same connection with Rachel, and the match was made. She officially joined the group in January and the band has performed six concerts so far.

Even more importantly, the gig has given Rachel a new outlet to hone her personal vocal talent.

The Claudettes

“Teaching is wonderful, and it’s very fulfilling, but I liken it to being a mother; you have to be your own person and have your own interests too,” she says. “In all these cover bands, it’s all of the hits, so all loud and high and belty and energy at a 10 all the time. So your voice is going the same direction all the time, and there isn’t a lot of time for nuance and, honestly, just being connected and listening to the band. I was craving some of that too, the soft, nuanced and intimate stuff. When this band came along, it was all the things I was wanting.”

Rachel said she loves that she is able to bring her theatre background into play with The Claudettes, using her command of stage presence when performing funny, romantic or even creepy songs. And while she feels she’s still trying to settle her voice into the band, her vocal training and teaching methods are helping her keep her dream alive. 

“Somatic Voicework is helping me get there faster, and I’m practicing every 30 minutes that I have free,” she says. Rachel’s vocal studio can be found online at https://www.rachelannewilliams.com/.


Alumnus living opera dream around the country

It’s pretty uncommon for someone’s summer plans to include changing their voice. But then again, Artega Wright is a pretty uncommon guy.

After years of auditions, apprenticeships and opportunities, Artega is finally living his dream as an opera performer around the country. And from his first role at Wayland as an undergraduate to his most recent role – making his New York debut as Talpa in the On Site Opera production of Il Tabarro in mid-May – he has grown and learned and expanded his talent and his skills.

But in his trademark humor, Artega admits that “living the dream” has not been simple.

“The journey hasn’t been easy to say the least,” laughed Artega. “It’s been a lot of trial and error and growing and praying. It’s not for the faint of heart for sure.”

Like many who strive for careers in the performing arts, Artega experienced his share of “nos” along the audition trail, relying on restaurant jobs to make ends meet between productions. There were several internal conversations of giving up, he admits, but his admittedly stubborn nature won out.

A dream begins

A native of the Dallas area, Artega came to Wayland with dreams of becoming an opera performer. After years of study – and one break year at another university before returning to his Pioneer roots – he completed his music degree in 2014. After a year off to explore opportunities, he opted to earn a Master of Vocal Performance degree at SMU in Dallas, wrapping up that degree in May 2017.

He then moved to Chicago, a Midwest arts hub, where he began researching and auditioning and

Wright sings in play. 

began racking up career highlights.

“I got my first big gig singing for Kathleen Battle, a world-renowned soprano,” noted Artega. “She had a rough career with the Metropolitan Opera and was making her comeback and did a recital in Chicago. I was able to be in the ensemble there.”

Artega was hired to do chorus work with the Chicago Opera Theatre, earning their respect and more roles. He performed in Moby Dick, Freedom Riders and Quamino’s Map, an opera about African Americans who were enlisted to fight for the British side during the revolution in exchange for their freedom from slavery.

The big break

In 2022, Artega spent the summer with the Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist, getting additional valuable training. But most notably, he finally got to move from the understudy position – called “covering” in the opera world – to the stage as one of the leads in Porgy and Bess.

“COVID hit again hard and that last week of production we were down to just a few people,” he recalled. “At 6 a.m. I got the call that I was going on. I was stunned, but I got on my knees and prayed. I knew I was ready.

“That was the final show of the summer. I got to perform alongside Simon Estes in one of his last roles of his five-decade career in that show, so it was kind of full circle for me. I was so inspired and grateful to work with him and learn from him.”

Among his career highlights so far are reprising a role he held at Wayland ironically, playing Baltazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Dayton Opera. When the COVID pandemic hit, causing the arts world to come to a screeching halt, Artega was fortunate to get involved with MIOpera, who produced several virtual operas with performers recording themselves singing the parts, then edited into a full show. Many of those are still streamable on YouTube.

“We did Don Pasquale, with several changes of settings and outfits there in my apartment. We also did Rigoletto by Verdi and several scenes from Don Giovanni,” he said. “They kept that going until the world started opening back up again.”

On the horizon

His next stint has Artega spending September to November as a resident artist with the Portland Opera, which includes roles in their season’s show, training in various aspects of the artform and daily voice lessons. He will return in January 2024 to the program and wrap in May. During the holiday break, he’s planning a trip overseas to audition in Germany, a country known for 180 opera companies, and he’s already working on learning the language.

Artega with performance group (New York) 

Though now living in Columbus since COVID struck, Artega is officially taking the summer off to retrain his voice from the bass baritone he’s sung for years to a regular baritone thanks to a natural change he laughingly blames on his age. But at 35, he is finally hitting his stride and loving his work.

“To hear that people feel moved when I sing and tell me that it touched their heart or lifted their spirit, that is the reward. It’s almost like music therapy, and I love making people feel that way even just with my voice,” says Artega. “I love the fact that I carry my (late) mom with me and the aspiration to find something I love and cling to it. That’s what I did, and I don’t think I could ever give that up totally.”


Devotional: Live a life full of joy

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13)

“I’d make more mistakes next time,” would probably be a response from a good handful of people, if they were asked what they would do if they had their life to live over again. You would probably relax or limber up. Maybe be sillier than ever or take fewer things seriously. Would you take more chances, as in maybe climb more mountains and swim more rivers? Or just maybe, you would eat more ice cream and less beans.5344-joy-18045931280-1-1.jpg

In His final prayer, Jesus prayed that His disciples would experience the full measure of his joy—now. He prayed for us to have His joy in the middle of rush-hour traffic, screaming kids and a darkening world. He doesn’t want us to wait for heaven to be full of joy.

Jesus’ joy has a divine purpose: to reveal Him. He desires to fill us with overflowing joy, to proclaim His victory to the world over life’s worst conditions—even in the face of hurricanes, plagues, terrorism and nuclear disaster. Joy flows from a foundation of truth. So many times, we focus on imaginary troubles. But Jesus reminds us that joy comes from knowing the Father through the Son. As you reflect on your life, whether you’re 18, 38, 48 or 88, choose to live in fullness of joy by taking the time to pick more daisies … and by living each moment fully aware of God’s love for you.

Questions to Reflect:

  • On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your joy factor?
  • Do you relate to the words expressed about allowing imaginary troubles to interrupt joy?
  • What might you do today to experience more joy?


In the mix

In the early days of Wayland, like many colleges after the turn of the century, financial struggles were common. Almost every student who came to Wayland College worked while earning their education, many in campus roles from janitor to food server.

It was not uncommon for moms and dads to send their young charges off to Wayland with vegetables or livestock in tow as payment for their tuition, and the burgeoning college accepted such “trade” willingly as it meant food for the cafeteria for weeks if not longer.

Such creativity in accounting was not afforded only to students, however, faculty and staff were also often on the receiving end.  Such was the case for the late Susette Fowler Fox, one of the early music faculty members at Wayland.

“In 1905, my father sold his cattle and bought land 200 or 300 miles farther west in Texas and we settled down on this frontier near Plainview, in the Texas panhandle. In 1910, I returned to Starkville (Mississippi) to enter A&M, where I finished in 1913,” states Fox in her memoirs.  “I again returned to West Texas and taught music in Wayland Baptist College in Plainview.”

Hereford cow

“The college was young and as usual was in financial difficulties. In settling my bill at the end of the year, the board offered me the college cow in part payment. My father took her to the farm 25 miles away and put her with his herd. She was not much to look at among his Herefords, but each year she brought a fine Herford calf that did not show many markings of her mixed ancestry.”

She named the cow…Wayland.

(Excerpt from “The Wayland Century”-100 Years of Presidents, Policies, and Pictures)