A new music ministry develops at Hartland Institute
By Natasha Towns and Kevin Wahl
“That was wonderful! Thank you so much. The music was excellent!” exclaimed the host at the Baptist Retirement Center.
“Hartland Strings” was not a planned outreach, but God has used it to reach many lives. It started when five Hartland College students arrived on campus within the same year. These include violinists Esther Borges, Christian Paúl, and Natasha Towns, violist Matthew Farley, and cellist Henry Higgins. Every one of them possessed a talent and deep love for music.
“I love music!” Natasha enthuses. “At the first college I attended, I majored in music. I had hoped I would find other musicians here at Hartland, but I didn’t expect it to be like this.”
They never imagined that their small “jam sessions” would turn into a ministry. Playing in chapel morphed into performing at Hartland convocations, graduations, and camp meetings, plus regional Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) sessions!
Then the opportunity came to play at the Baptist Retirement Center in Culpeper. They were hosting their “Donor Appreciation Dinner,” a thank-you benefit for their supporters. “The host called me about his urgent need for musicians for the dinner,” relates Paige Stimpel, events coordinator for Hartland World Mission. “He had contacted musicians in the surrounding areas, but none could help him.”
The students were extremely busy, but each one saw an opportunity to get to know the community better, and determined to perform. They sacrificed their time to reach out to those people and were blessed. The host even placed Hartland Strings’ name on the program for the dinner.
Fortunato Jardinico accompanied Hartland Strings with his flute, while Henry started out on piano. For the first half hour, Fortunato and Henry played piano and flute music while the guests arrived.
Then, classical string and hymn arrangements flooded the air while the guests were served. They chatted over the sound of the music. Every now and then a guest would stop and just listen to the music, smiling at the musicians.
During the dinner, before all the guests, the host thanked Hartland Strings for presenting the music. After the dinner, he expressed his gratitude to each of them personally. He shook their hands, saying, “It was perfect—the guests loved the music! Please come again!”
Praise God for this new ministry at Hartland Institute!