Music major appreciates high standard for excellence and opportunities to perform in different arenas
Jonathan Bumpus, '17, is a jazz performance major and active member in many musical groups on campus, including jazz ensemble I, wind symphony, orchestra, jazz combos and trombone choir.
"Part of being a great musician is being able to bring a high level of musicality into different settings, and playing in multiple ensembles has allowed me to figure out how to do that," says Bumpus. "It might not be possible to play in the top orchestra, wind symphony and jazz band at a larger university or conservatory, so I definitely appreciate that about Whitworth. Though each ensemble director is very different, they have a few core things in common: high expectations of students, passion for the music, professionalism, and the fact that they have the students' best interests in mind. That makes it a joy to work with them!"
In middle school, Bumpus discovered a passion for jazz and decided to pursue music after seeing Ryan Keberle, trombonist and son of Professor of Music Dan Keberle, perform with the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble. Little did Bumpus know that just a few short years later, he would be an active member of the same musical group.
"When I started looking at colleges, I knew that I wanted to be involved in music at a high level, but initially I wasn't sure about committing completely to music," says Bumpus. "I started out as a music and chemistry double major. Although I enjoyed my science classes, I found myself drawn to music more and more, and I eventually couldn't see myself doing anything else."
In deciding where to go to college, Bumpus found that Whitworth fulfilled all the priorities on his list: a strong music department within a larger university rather than just a conservatory; a tightly knit campus community; and professors who really prioritize teaching in addition to their own work.
"I also loved Whitworth's mission of a Christian education and what that means for students, with the resources of campus ministry, the biblical literature and core gen ed requirements, and the fact that my professors would share my faith and help me grow in it," says Bumpus. "Plus, my parents and several other relatives graduated from Whitworth, so it was on my list of colleges since before I was born!"
He's also appreciative for the financial aid available through donors and scholarships and for the opportunities funded by this assistance.
"I'm very thankful for the donors who make the music and academic scholarships possible; I wouldn't have been able to attend Whitworth without the support of scholarships," says Bumpus. "I'm also thankful for the way Whitworth prioritizes the music department. Between the guest artist concerts (including concerts with Pat Metheny, Chris Potter and Arturo Sandoval), the numerous tours I've gotten to go on (Italy, California, New York City/Washington, D.C., and Thailand), and the construction of the new Cowles Music Center, it's clear that Whitworth is a place where music is highly valued, and that means a lot to me as a music student."
In addition to playing Whitworth-run music performance groups, Bumpus spends his free time getting involved with other musical opportunities around campus, such as playing on a Hosanna team, a student-led worship service every Tuesday night.
"It's so powerful to be a part of a community of students that choose to take time out of their busy schedules and come together to worship God," Says Bumpus. "Whitworth's campus ministry has been a great influence on my faith: small groups, chapel services, and Hosanna have all been really important to me. I also took New Testament from Roger Mohrlang and it was probably the hardest yet most rewarding class I have ever taken. Additionally, the music faculty set great examples of what it means to be Christian musicians. They emphasize the fact that we make music for the glory of God, not for ourselves, and that has been very influential on me."
After graduation, Bumpus hopes to pursue a graduate degree in music and possibly teach at a university like Whitworth someday. One thing is for sure though - he plans to continue performing, studying and writing music.