Gabriella Reyes: Music Performance major, choir and band member
March 26, 2012
Though Gabriella Reyes originally planned to attend a college closer to her home in Meriden, Connecticut, she felt God calling her to branch out. So at the last minute, Gabriella decided to join her sister at Evangel University. The current sophomore is thriving in the Music Department and, as a Music Performance major, is discovering new ways to minister and hone her skills as a musician. Because of her passion for classical vocal performance, Gabriella hopes to minister to audiences in that venue in addition to traditional church audiences. All in all, Gabriella knows that God has given her a gift, and she is working to sing a skillful song unto Him.
Why did you choose Evangel?
Financially it was the best option. I had the opportunity to go to schools closer to home like the University of Connecticut and The Boston Conservatory of Music, but I felt led to venture away from home. Although it was more than 1,200 miles always from home, my attraction to the school was based upon its spiritual lifestyles and community. Luckily, my older sister was out here already, so being so far was not too bad.
Did you receive financial aid?
Thank the great God I did! Even though coming to Evangel was a last-minute decision, it was not too late to receive a great financial aid package. I also received the Zimmerman Grant for being a daughter of an Assemblies of God credentialed pastor. If it were not for the awesome package I received my first year, I would not be here at Evangel. Most of my school bill is covered, praise God!
Were there any obstacles you overcame in coming to Evangel?
The obstacles were there; they usually emerge when a student leaves home for the first time. Flying more than a thousand miles away from home was the biggest obstacle. Thankfully, the community of girls that I was placed with is filled with love, making the environment homey and comforting.
How did you decide on your particular area of study?
I began singing at a very young age, always helping my father in the church. I took on other instruments as I grew up which helped my passion for music grow into something more than just being a bystander. I delved into perfecting my craft so that I could also make exquisite music. I soon learned that the gift that God gave me had more use than just in the church. I could use it to minister to many more people in this world. By studying music and training myself classically, I can sing a skillful song unto Him.
What are the benefits of attending a smaller university?
The best part of the smaller university is its larger opportunities to become connected with the people surrounding you. This includes the professors getting to know you by name. They have fewer students to teach which in turn allows for one-on-one attention. Also, the student body doesn’t seem like a sea of unfamiliar faces. It’s nice to be able to recognize most people by name.
In what ensembles are you a member? What instrument or vocal part do you play or sing?
I am a part of the Concert Choir, University Chorale, Symphonic Band, Concert Orchestra and the Opera Scenes Workshop. I will be joining the new marching band in the fall and hopefully the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. I sing second soprano in the choirs, I sang a Mezzo Soprano in the Opera Workshop’s Cosi fan tutte, and I also play the tuba in the orchestra and the band. I have played tuba for four years and the saxophone for seven years.
What do you like about being an Evangel student?
I love how every person I interact with on campus shares God’s love in your life. If they aren’t in the classroom sharing their knowledge, professors are here for me to help me out. If she isn’t just living with me in my room, my roommate is there to encourage me, pray with me, love on me. If she isn’t just making sure I am fed, Miss Joan is there to give me that extra grandmother “lovin’” that I miss oh so much. Everyone wants me to succeed; they want God’s plan for my life to blossom at Evangel.
What kind of educational/service/leadership opportunities have you encountered?
I was able to just plug myself in right away as a freshman. There were plenty of opportunities for me to get involved with including floor council and the free LEAD 200 credit. Also getting involved with the Concert Choir and Orchestra has been a huge part of my first year at Evangel. I was able to travel on tours to more than 15 states that I had never visited before. As a performance major, I had the opportunity to do solo work with the orchestra as their vocal soloist. It turned out to be more than just performing; it showed me that I could use my gift for ministry. Another opportunity I was blessed to have was a workshop with Michael Sust, a professional Baritone/Bass singer. He gave me wonderful critique which has enhanced my understanding of vocal studies.
What are your personal and career/ministry goals after college?
God willing, I plan on continuing my studies in vocal performance at a conservatory of music. Upon receiving my master’s degree in vocal performance, I would like to move to the city or maybe Europe to seek a career as an opera singer. After setting a career and gaining experience, I would love to continue my studies and receive a doctoral degree in musical studies so that I can teach in a conservatory of music. My main goal in doing so is to have a unique ministry. I want everyone I work with to know that I serve an almighty God. I plan on reaching that population of people in the higher, more “sophisticated,” class that otherwise, I would never interact with. They need Jesus just as much everyone else. I feel that with God’s gift, I can reach them.
Why should a prospective student choose Evangel?
Evangel has more opportunity than any of the other Assemblies of God higher education schools. We have the advantage of being the national Assemblies of God university. We live up to our name by offering over 100 majors and concentrations, giving any student a chance to switch majors if they need to. The most important advantage Evangel has on any other university in America is that God is so involved in our lives in everything that we do. You can build your lifestyle and your spiritual life that will continue with you for the rest of your life. God will be the foundation of your education.