Grammy Award-winning artist Michael W. Smith hopes to share the secrets of his success with students at Liberty University this coming fall.
He’ll be joined by Kevin Jonas, the father and original manager of the Jonas Brothers, the megapopular sibling rock trio.
Both will play key roles at the new Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music, which opens Aug. 1 at Liberty, a conservative evangelical Christian university based in Virginia.
Smith, a Christian artist with crossover success, will direct the center.
Jonas’ role is still being defined but will involve working with Liberty students to record and promote their work as well as connect with mainstream artists interested in signing with the new music label it plans to launch alongside the center.
The school hopes the center and label—working name: Liberty Music Group—will not only give students experience recording an album but also will attract artists—both mainstream and Christian—from across the country, according to Vernon M. Whaley, dean of the School of Music.
“Our mission for the university is training and equipping champions for Christ,” Whaley said. “What I tell my students is it doesn’t matter what kind of music you’re going to go into, God’s called you to take worship to the nations.”
Liberty’s School of Music has about 980 resident students, according to the dean.
When it opened its music and worship program in 2005, it grew exponentially semester to semester—89 students, then 210, then 318, now nearly 700.
So, Whaley said, “We decided, ‘OK, we’re going to claim the territory for training and equipping for worship majors and worship pastors and those who are going to be involved on a vocational basis in the area of worship.'”
The new center will take that training to the “mainstream market,” which the school views as a place for evangelism.
“The passion we have is not just to train a bunch of people to go into the music industry—or just go into the Christian music industry, for that matter—but to be equipped as musicians that go into the music industry fully equipped to do what they believe God’s called them to do, whether it’s the mainstream market or the faith-based market,” said Whaley.
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SOURCE: Charisma News