Wayland music department planning mission to Spain in 2003

For years, Wayland Baptist University's music department has entertained different audiences while training young people for careers in music. In the summer of 2003, the department will carry its talents to a new audience when it embarks on a mission trip to Spain.

Slated for May 16-27, 2003, the trip is another facet of a joint effort between the Texas Baptist Partnership Missions and the Spanish Baptist Union. Several groups within the Caprock Plains association have already visited the country, with other trips planned in the future.

According to Robert Black, assistant professor of music at Wayland and the trip coordinator, the primary ministry of the trip will be accomplished through performances in various churches and other venues while overseas. Wayland's instrumental groups, choirs, handbells and Spirit vocal ensemble will be featured on the trip, with music faculty serving as sponsors.

"We're going primarily to work with churches and perform in a variety of places," said Black "Our purpose is to encourage the churches in their work in Spain. Because we are going in under the invitation of the churches, we'll be able to lend some credibility to the Baptist efforts there."

Black said the trip will also be valuable to Wayland music students, many of whom have never had the opportunity to travel or perform abroad or interact with a different culture. The group's work will center around Valencia, a city of 700,000 on the eastern side of Spain near the Mediterranean and the headquarters of the Spanish Baptist Union. The group will also be visiting the Spanish capital city of Madrid.

The trip will also involve some exchanges with dignitaries in Spain, giving Wayland students a chance to present gifts of friendship from Texas as a show of goodwill.

Wayland's faculty will be involved in the effort as well. Dr. Ann Stutes, chair of the music department and assistant professor of music, will be leading the handbell ensemble, while Timothy Kelley, assistant professor and director of Wayland's instrumental studies program, will be leading those students. Dr. Scott Herrington, professor of music, will be leading the choral ensembles on the trip. Black will direct Spirit.

The trip is designed for Wayland music students, but Black said others may join the trip as well. Black said non-music students, WBU alums and other residents may travel with the music students, and all have the option of performing with the group or not.

"If someone wants to pull out their flute and play with us, that'd be great too. Or, they can just travel with us and watch the performances," he said, adding that the cost for those individuals will be slightly higher than for music students.

Black said music students will be involved in several fundraising efforts to help raise the money for travel expenses, including the sale of ads for performance programs through the school year. The trip is expected to cost around $2,000 per person, which includes airfare from Dallas to Madrid, bus transportation to Dallas, chartered buses while in Spain, double-occupancy stays in hotels, two meals each day, sightseeing excursions, trip insurance and taxes. Trip participants must pay for their own passport, souvenirs, snacks, noon meal and tips.

Individuals interested in joining the trip must have a down payment of $350 paid by Nov. 1. The balance of the trip cost will be paid in installments over the remaining months, with the final payment due April 1.

Black said students will be encouraging family, friends and their hometown churches to "adopt" them for the mission, to provide prayer support and possible financial assistance. Persons wishing to donate to the trip may contact Black.