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Foot-stomping jam session draws faculty & students at Midwestern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s student center was filled with foot-stomping, hand-clapping, smile-wearing students, professors and staff Jan. 6. Participants brought seven six-string guitars, one 12-string guitar, two mandolins, one fiddle and several voices they used to praise God and have fun in an acoustic jam session.
Calling it a ” big success,” Dave Conte, manager of the Baptist Book Store and adjunct instructor of diploma studies at the Kansas City, Mo., campus, said, ” Success means that several people came and were involved and kept playing. We’re just trying to get a spirit of fellowship where the music transcends from professors to students.”
The song list ranged from ” Amazing Grace” and ” The Old Rugged Cross” to other bluegrass tunes like ” Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and ” The Leaving Train.”
As people found out about Conte’s 30 years experience of playing the guitar, they approached him to teach lessons or just get together to play. But on the suggestion of a professor to set up a coffeehouse scene, Conte decided to encourage a regular jam session.
Among the participants: Bruce Merrick, assistant professor of Christian education, who, before going into the ministry, performed at Silver Dollar City in Branson and as a member of the McCoy Family Singers. With 30 years of experience, Merrick played his guitar and sang with other faculty and students.
The jam session is open to all levels, Conte said. ” It allows beginners to work into an established sound and stretches them a little more,” the store manager said. ” It also shows the potential of what can be accomplished by practicing.”
” We plan to do one in the spring,” Conte said.
” We don’t get a lot of time for fellowship around here so it’s nice to just unwind,” said M.Div. student Jerry Owens.

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  • Andrew Aldredge