Dr. Bonnie Jenkins: Director of HeartSong
May 1, 2014
Dr. Bonnie Jenkins has a full-circle Evangel story dating back to 1971. That’s when she began studying music at EU en route to a bachelors degree in Music Education. Her first stint teaching in the music department began immediately after graduation and continued until 1987.
Jenkins and her husband Doug then spent a number of years traveling and performing worship concerts for, among others, Billy Graham and the Assemblies of God’ “Revivaltime” and “Turning Point” broadcasts. Jenkins began teaching music again at Central Bible College in 1993 and transitioned to Evangel with consolidation in 2013.
Jenkins is director of the traveling worship group HeartSong, which has been touring and performing ministry events for 21 years. Doug serves as Director of CBC Alumni and Church Relations.
How did you first develop a love for music?
I am a preacher’s kid and music was a part of our lives from day one. My parents were self-taught musicians who played instruments and sang in church on a regular basis. As a young child, I began singing solos in church and then was involved in band and choir at school. I played drums and bassoon, as well as singing in musicals and the choirs during middle school and high school.
What has been the highlight(s) of you career performing or teaching music?
Singing for a Billy Graham crusade and several of his television Christmas specials was definitely something we felt very honored to do. I also love college-aged students. Directing HeartSong over the past 21 years has been a special journey. Working with students to help them achieve musical excellence and showing them how to use music to advance the Kingdom is a wonderful calling.
HeartSong: 20 years of music ministry
What is the best aspect of the music department at Evangel?
Evangel has always had a strong music department with wonderful music ensembles. Of course, the gifted students that we get to work with is a special part of the department. I feel blessed to work with students who are not only committed to pursuing musical excellence but who have given their gifts back to God.
For students, what are the benefits of attending a smaller school while studying music?
Our students often get individual attention and they know that the faculty care personally about each of them both academically and personally. A smaller student body affords each teacher more time with individuals and small groups. Having attended both Evangel and some very large state universities, I can personally testify that a smaller Christian University is the best learning environment.
What type of music do enjoy, just for personal entertainment in your free time?
I actually love most genres. Classical music is for the moments that I want to relax. I also enjoy R & B, gospel, and contemporary Christian music. I find the various melodic and harmonic complexities of each style very interesting and challenging. I must admit that sometimes it’s hard to turn off the music theory mind and just enjoy the sounds.
What musical efforts are you involved with outside of the classroom, either EU ensembles or church/civic groups?
HeartSong seems to keep me very busy. During the spring semester HeartSong is more active in traveling on weekends. I thoroughly enjoy the time spent with the students on the bus and particularly enjoy the ministry aspect of HeartSong in the churches.
What is the best part about working in music at a school that is Christ-centered?
I have always taught in a Christ-centered institution. There were other opportunities to be in a secular setting but I knew my heart would always be to teach and train Christian young people who were going to use their talents for music ministry or as Christian musicians who would impact the world. Being able to freely speak of God’s faithfulness and provision is truly a blessing. I pray that my passion for using music to proclaim Christ has been caught by the students I have worked with.