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HeartSong ministers at historic sites during Italy tour

April 1, 2014 | Anna Lester

Any college student would love a trip to Italy for spring break. For the members of HeartSong, a traveling music group from Evangel University, this dream became a reality in March.

“This was the trip of a lifetime in every way,” says Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, HeartSong director. “We sang at churches and other venues around Rome. We even sang at the Colosseum, which was definitely a highlight.”

In addition to performing during the 13-day trip to Italy, the students got to experience Rome’s rich culture and history through art, museums and landmarks, including the Sistine Chapel and the paintings of Michelangelo.

The group found special meaning in a trip to a prison cell believed to have held the Apostle Paul.

“We saw where he was chained. It was very dark, damp and cold,” she says. “It is still hard to comprehend how Paul wrote of his strong faith in Christ and sent encouragement to others while in prison.”

HeartSong consists of 22 students who perform a variety of styles including contemporary, worship, gospel and traditional. The group travels the midwest during the school year and does national tours during the summer.

Doug Jenkins, husband of Bonnie, books the HeartSong tours. For this trip, he went along to assist with the logistics.

“With the consolidation of CBC and Evangel, we saw this trip as a unifying opportunity to get students excited about a new group,” says Doug, who now serves as director of CBC alumni and church relations for Evangel.

The tour also helped promote the release of HeartSong’s new album, Nothing Is Impossible. The album was released on CD and iTunes last November.

Bonnie has served as HeartSong director since its genesis in 1993. She currently serves as a professor of music at Evangel.

She says that one more cultural highlight was waiting for the students at each mealtime.

“Of course, tasting real Italian home-cooked food was a separate experience in itself.”

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