Western Music Institute-“In Christ alone”
WMI inspires youth to higher levels of musicianship and Christian living.
by Joy Lee –
This year, the Western Music Institute (WMI), led by Territorial Music Secretary Neil Smith, recorded its highest attendance with 136 students representing every division in the territory, and including 15 international students from Canada, England, Argentina, and South Africa. Special guests were Colonels Dick and Vibeke Krommenhoek, currently serving respectively as the General’s representative for global evangelization and international youth ministries coordinator; on October 1 they will assume leadership of the Finland and Estonia Territory. The institute concluded its 10-day intensive training with a final festival on August 16 at the Tustin Ranch Corps.
Developing the theme “In Christ Alone,” WMI leaders encouraged delegates to examine the identity of Christ. Every evening, WMI Chaplain Major Kelly Pontsler reflected on one of the seven I AM statements found in the gospel of John: I am the light of the world…before Abraham was, I am…I am the bread of life…I am the good shepherd…I am the resurrection and the life…I am the way, the truth, and the life…I am the vine. “If we are going to stand in Christ alone, we need to know who Christ is,” said Pontsler. In the morning, delegates gathered in small groups to discuss how the different aspects of Christ’s identity impact our personal lives. On the last day, Krommenhoek challenged the students to ask, “Who am I in Christ?” and to take risks for Christ in the world. “One person standing up for Christ, even when it is risky, can make a difference in tremendous ways,” said Krommenhoek.
Throughout the week, the Krommenhoeks challenged the students to a higher standard of music and Christian living in both the classroom and in conversation. Colonel Dick Krommenhoek led the WMI Band and the WMI Chorus and Vibeke Krommenhoek led the Jewish folk dance elective and the leadership class.
This year’s WMI was the first with the expanded Territorial Music Department team in leadership. Music Education Director, Stuart Watson, organized the music skills classes and Creative Ministries Director, Marjory Watson, led the vocal school.
This year also featured a percussion track with former International Staff Band percussionist Stephen Yalden instructing all the percussionists during both the major classes and elective sessions. The percussion ensemble performed “Lord of the Dance” at the final concert and a selection from the movie Drumline on Friday night.
Jesus Nkunku (Concord Corps) received the $1000 Watt Scholarship. Nick Helms (Pasadena Tabernacle) received the Stillwell Award, with Daniel Summers (Salem Citadel) in 2nd place and Katie Steinhauer (Fresno Citadel) in 3rd place. The Crestmont Award was given to Pasadena Tabernacle with Torrance Corps in 2nd place and Concord Corps in 3rd place. WMI Pins were awarded to the following delegates: Cornet Pin—Nick Helms (Pasadena Tabernacle), Brindley Venables (North York, Corps—Canada), and Daniel Prince (Concord Corps); Euphonium Pin—Adam Fyn (Woodstock Corps—Canada); Trombone Pin—Barrington Venables (North York Corps—Canada) and James Allen (Pasadena Tabernacle); Percussion Pin—Katie Steinhauer (Fresno Citadel) and Vimbayi Kaziboni (Pasadena Tabernacle); Soprano Pin—Aleen Bradley (Pasadena Tabernacle); Alto Pin—Shalini Henry-John (Pasadena Tabernacle); Tenor Pin—Tyler Fagerstrom (Asian American Yerba Buena [AAYB]); Bass Pin—Ryan Eng (AAYB); Praise and Worship—Loren Toy (AAYB).