Huntington, Ind.— Drew Wutke is a busy man. From dancing and singing on stage with Cotton Patch Gospel throughout the summer to being stretched in his classes on campus, he has accomplished and learned a lot since arriving at Huntington College in 2001. And he credits it to the education and experiences the College has offered him during his three years on campus.
Drew, a native of Girard, Kansas, stumbled upon Huntington College when he received a theatre brochure in the mail. He knew he wanted to go to a small, Christian college, so he decided to visit the campus during a scholarship weekend.
“Everyone goes out of their way at Huntington College to have a great relationship with you, even if you’re just visiting,” says Drew, a music education major. “Everyone makes it their job to make you feel at home, and it’s hard not to feel that way. Because I visited the campus and felt the most at home here, HC became the best choice for me.”
"Without Christ, it’s just a show or just a concerto. But with faith and passion for Christ in everything I do, it becomes so much more."
Drew, who has been on the Dean’s List at HC every semester and holds membership in the education honor society, Kappa Delta Pi, entered into the music department lacking experience in an organized choir and having little background in classical music.
“I was really overwhelmed when I started in the music program,” admits Drew. “But I knew this was something God wanted me to do and something that my professors believed I could do. When I realized this was the time God had given me to train in this area, my outlook on rehearsals and practices changed. I started to practice and perform knowing that this was the direction in which God was leading.”
Helping Drew along the way has been Dr. George Killian, professor of choral education and choir director. “I respect him not only as a person and a man of God, but I’m learning about how good of a teacher and a communicator of music he is. There are innate things that one expects a conductor or teacher to have, and he’s teaching all of his future music teachers how to attain those. Having him be so supportive of me as a student, teacher and choir member has meant so much.”
Just last spring Drew experienced the biggest accomplishment and highlight of his academic and musical career thus far. He was named a Concerto Winner, earning a scholarship and having the privilege to perform with the Huntington College Orchestra in an April concert. In October of 2002, Drew auditioned for the Concerto Winners Concert and never thought he stood a chance at winning. But the next day, he found out he had won and the rehearsals started for the grand event in late April.
“I never even thought I was going to win - never!” says Drew. “It was such a validating feeling that I had worked hard and that I really was a quality musician. Everyone that was important to me came to support me, and the evening was just wonderful!”
Drew has been able to use his talents on the theatre stage as well, combining his music and acting skills. He has been involved in many productions since his freshman year, including the nine-week summer tour of Cotton Patch Gospel. In the spring, Drew was approached by Dr. Don “Doc” Rainbow, director of the tour. Doc asked Drew if he would direct the music for the show as well as play a part in the production.
“One of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do was prepare the cast, teach them music and then watch it all come together,” remembers Drew. “It was a huge privilege for me to be asked to do that, and I am forever grateful to Doc for trusting me with the music and role in Cotton Patch.”
After a two and a half week “boot camp” on campus, the cast took off for their 48-show tour through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. With a toe-tapping musical billed as the “greatest story ever retold,” Drew found that singing, dancing and playing every night was exhausting yet ultimately rewarding. He admits that even though some nights felt more like a show and not a ministry, the Lord continued to prove himself in ways that the cast didn’t always see or understand.
“It was amazing that the Lord would allow Cotton Patch Gospel and the cast to spread his Good News and allow people to look at Christ’s story in a different light, applying it to their lives and seeing how much Jesus was like us,” Drew states. “I was so humbled and so thankful that the Lord used this production we put together in which we sang, acted and even messed up at times! He took something that we wanted to give to him, and he turned it into something that touched people and put joy and excitement into their hearts!”
After the tour, Drew was very thankful for the small amount of time he had before the start of the school year. But soon enough, it was back to Indiana to start his junior year at HC – a year that so far has already been hectic. As a member of the choir, Drew will perform on October 17, in Barkley Square Jazz Concert and follow it with the 18th Annual Church Music Concert on November 9, among many other performances throughout the holiday season. He is doing behind-the-scenes work for the theatre production, The Life of Galileo, and was just cast as Will Parker for the upcoming production of Roger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, held November 20 through 22 at HC.
“Every production and concert has been so much fun and rewarding,” says Drew. “I wouldn’t do it any other way, and I am thankful that Huntington College has offered me the opportunity to be involved in the music and theatre departments. Both departments value what I bring to the shows and concerts, as they do for everyone involved. It makes each of us feel special and important.”
Drew is planning on graduating from the College in May, 2005. From there, he sees his future wide open. He’s very interested in giving children who don’t have a quality music background a solid understanding of music from someone who loves the Lord and is really committed to making their music education worthwhile. He is very serious about his commitment to getting students excited and interested in music.
Huntington College has helped open the doors to Drew’s future. He says that he has learned so much through his classes and his involvements. “Something I long for in my life is a true passion for what I do, and knowing that Christ infuses my excitement and happiness about music and theatre is what gives me worth. Without Christ, it’s just a show or just a concerto. But with faith and passion for Christ in everything I do, it becomes so much more. At Huntington, I have learned how to sacrifice what I do for the good of Christ and then just be blessed as God gives back.”
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