One of the main reasons I chose to attend Wheaton College was the school’s excellent athletic program. I had the incredible opportunity to be part of both the football and swim teams, both of which won Conference titles during my collegiate career. My time with both teams was a challenging yet wonderful experience, but I realized that neither of these sports were truly my passion. During my junior year I took some time to do some soul searching, and before I knew it, God opened my eyes to the answer that was always right in front of me: music.
Music had always been a passion of mine. During the off-season, I took part in open mics at the Stupe (our campus café), helped with on-campus concerts at the Conservatory of Music and at Edman Chapel, and wrote music reviews for the Wheaton College newspaper, The Record. After discovering an area of my life with endless possibilities, I wondered what my next step would be.
By chance, at a concert in downtown Chicago, I ran into a Wheaton grad who told me about her experience at the Contemporary Music Center, a semester-long study abroad experience sponsored by CCCU BestSemester in Nashville, Tennessee (BestSemester hosts programs for Christian college students all around the world). She explained how the CMC offers Christian college students from across the country an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of music industry, while putting to practice their faith in the world of music. I jumped at the chance to learn more about the music industry, and was accepted into the program for fall semester 2013.
The CMC is a program unlike any other in the country. I was accepted into the Business track (there are artist and technical tracks, too), and attended classes concentrating on booking shows, promoting, and touring. I also managed two up-and-coming artists in the program. I scheduled rehearsal times for each artist’s band, created online websites and social media presences for them, and catered to any other desires they had, such as photo shoots and music video opportunities. The icing on the cake of the semester arrived when I had the honor of being selected as tour manager: I had the responsibility of booking shows, hotels, bus rental, and equipment trucks for our 10-day live tour through Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. In the midst of all of this, I was able to find time to continue to create music and perform with aspiring artists from all across the country.
I fell in love with Nashville, and this wasn’t only because of the music, creativity, and wonderful people I met, but the fact that I was experiencing “the real world.” It was a time of growth for me—not only in the field of music, but for my love and pursuit of Christ. I am so thankful for my preparation at Wheaton and the BestSemester study abroad program for the opportunity. I challenge all students to take a semester to explore, learn, and grow in a field of interest, and more importantly, in their pursuit of Jesus Christ.
Tim Lyons will graduate from Wheaton in May 2014 with a degree in Communication (Media Studies).