By Hannah Moody
On Friday, April 4, around 300 guests attended the “Evening with Dan Forrest” concert in the music recital hall at TMC. This year marks Dr. Paul Plew’s 35th year of leading the music department, and department members decided to turn the concert into a surprise anniversary celebration.
In recognition of Plew’s work, department faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors commissioned composer Dan Forrest to write a piece for Plew. The idea for the commissioned piece came from fellow TMC professor, Dr. Carolyn Simons, who began considering it after hearing Forrest last year. Forrest composed a song to the text of “And Can It Be,” by Charles Wesley, which was fitting since Plew spent his last sabbatical studying Wesley's life and work.
The piece was sung that night by The Master's College Chorale under Plew’s direction. At the finish, he was presented with an inscribed copy of the piece. The inscription read:
“Commissioned by The Master's College Family, Friends, and Alumni to the glory of God and in honor of Dr. Paul T. Plew for 35 years as Chairman of the Department of Music."
Five alumni of the college also spoke that night, sharing with the audience what Plew had meant to them, and to the college. They shared how Plew had set a standard for excellence in music and been an example in his faithfulness, both to the college and to his church.
He was also recognized for his ability to prioritize, setting an example of putting his relationship with Christ first, his family second and finally, his craft.
Plew was surprised by and grateful for the gift, and posted a response on Facebook later,
“Thank you for a wonderful 35 years of music making with the greatest students and Music Faculty on Earth. ... I am humbled. And to Dan Forrest I must say it was a privilege to work with you, thank you for being there and I absolutely love the work, "And Can It Be." Love it. My heart is overflowing.”
The night was heartwarming opportunity for all those who had been influenced by Plew’s heart for his God, his music and the people around him to respond in gratitude with equally overflowing hearts.
Hannah Moody is a senior communication major.