Brent Beesley - Music Performance
Brent Beesley got a glimpse of heaven at Southeastern. That's how this 2001 grad felt when he used to lead worship at chapel and see people crying out to God.
"It was just a sweet time," said Beesley, fondly recalling his tenure as Southeastern's main worship leader from 1997 to 2001.
Beesley, who majored in music and music performance, continues to use his gifts and training as a music pastor at River of Life Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Memphis, Tennessee. Beesley leads worship, directs choirs and meets the audio and multi-media production needs for the 550-member church.
Beesley, an Ontario, Canada native, learned of Southeastern when he was about 15. He had visited the school with his parents, then-itinerant ministers who led a chapel service at Southeastern. After being home-schooled, Beesley, who has taken violin lessons since he was three, began attending a music conservatory in Canada. During one spring break while attending the music school, Beesley felt a call to transfer to Southeastern.
In addition to leading chapel worship, music professors and music courses at Southeastern prepared Beesley for his career as a music pastor. Current and former Southeastern professors' examples of discipline, dedication, commitment and intellectual reflection helped Beesley grow as a musician and person. These instructors included former Southeastern piano and orchestration teachers Michelle and Chris Treadway, respectively, former adjunct strings professor Dr. William Hayden, who is a professor at University of South Florida, and trumpet professor Paul Butcher.
Of all his courses, Beesley says his jazz band and string trio classes did the most to prepare him for music ministry. These classes taught him the importance of doing more listening to the playing of other ensemble members than to his own playing. The classes also taught him the technique of blending his playing to match the volume of other ensemble players so listeners hear the group and not individuals.
In addition to listening and blending, the jazz band and string trio classes taught Beesley of different styles in music performance. Styles of playing can range from soft to R&B to Classical, and include a slew of others, Beesley said. Even though he practiced these techniques-listening, blending and employing different styles-with instruments while at Southeastern, Beesley has applied these principles to more vocals-driven church music as a music pastor, he said.
Despite his extensive training in music at Southeastern, Beesley says he mostly treasures how God brought him closer to Himself while he was a student here. God enabled Beesley to express his deepening relationship with the Father though his leading of chapel worship-a ministry that was uncannily similar to the path his career would take.