This process transcends rehearsing and recording to the level of distributing music on a broad scale. These musicians can share their work with family, friends, and potential colleagues beyond inviting them to attend an event. Harms’ personal favorite part of buying an album has always been flipping through the album booklet to glimpse what life was like behind the scenes, and as part of this process, he intentionally created a digital booklet to honor everyone’s work and the story behind this exciting collaboration, which not only connected different performance groups within the Department of Music and Theatre, but across programs as well. Art major Halle Rittgers ’21 created the album artwork, called Indigo and Ochre, and Harms loves how the image represents the heart of jazz combined with something new and fresh with the addition of stringed instruments. He encourages listeners to play the music while reading the booklet for a wholly personalized experience.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the whole process? It’s just the beginning. The EP is called “Bethel University Jazz with Strings, Volume I” for a reason. Although COVID-19 has required creative thinking, quick adaptability, and loosely held expectations, this season has also provided the opportunity to take advantage of newly available resources, like rehearsal time and funds that weren’t applied to live performances. Lord willing, Harms says, Bethel can continue to foster an innovative environment for students to become artists by incorporating fresh dreams with time-honored traditions, whether that be creating another EP or something so far unimagined. “Every way we can help students have the opportunity to create, we are further cultivating their foundation from which they can be a gigging life musician, whether that's gigging in the venues or gigging in a competition; scoring for film, animation shorts, and documentaries; producing sound for podcasts; creating advertising pieces, music videos, or a soundtrack for gaming—every opportunity that's out there in which you hear music,” Harms says.

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