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home : news : news Friday, April 29, 2016

10/10/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Sarah Stofer (far left) plays bass in her college’s chapel music team, leading hundreds of students every Tuesday morning. Since graduating from Central Community High School, DeWitt, in 2010, Stofer has become more and more involved with music at her college, Northwestern in Orange City. Photo by Kati Heng
Stofer grows from marching with CCHS band to leading worship for college

By Kati Heng
Special to The Observer

By Kati Heng

Special to The Observer

Low Moor native Sarah Stofer grew up around music and is now sharing her gift each week with the other students at her school.

"My dad was in a military band for 20 odd years," Stofer said. "After that, he played bass on church worship teams."

It's no surprise that Stofer, now a junior music performance major at Northwestern College (NWC) in Orange City, has grown up to be an impressive musician herself, this year earning one of seven positions on NWC's chapel music team.

After some less-than-perfect flute lessons in fourth grade, Stofer switched to larger instruments.

"Flute didn't go so well," Stofer said. But that didn't stop her.

She learned the trombone in seventh grade, the euphonium in eighth, picked up the sousaphone for the Central Community High School (CCHS) marching band and learned bass from her father soon after.

While in high school, Stofer was involved with CCHS's concert band, as well as its jazz and marching bands, competing with each group at various competitions. She also filled in for her father by playing bass for DeWitt Evangelical Free Church when he couldn't make it. In addition, Stofer played bass for the Clinton Symphony Orchestra a few times.

Stofer entered college with a music scholarship after graduating from CCHS in 2010. During her freshman and sophomore years at college, Stofer played with traveling worship teams, which involved visiting and performing in various churches throughout the area nearly every Sunday morning.

This fall, Stofer auditioned and earned a place as the bass player for NWC's chapel worship team, a group that performs for the hundreds of students and professors every Tuesday during the school's chapel services.

"It's pretty cool being on the team," Stofer said. "I like bringing others with me into worship. Plus, as a bass player, I love the really big sub-woofers."

Each week, Stofer receives a list of songs from the team's student leader detailing what songs they will be playing the following Tuesday. If she hasn't played the songs before, Stofer has less than a week to learn them.

"It's not too bad since I'm on the bass," Stofer said. "Once I get to know the songs better I start to add in more than just the basic chords."

Her team practices together for a couple hours on Monday and does a quick run-through of the songs on Tuesday before chapel begins.

Working with a new chapel music group each year can be hard, but Stofer said she enjoys getting to know the others on her team.

"We learn to work together over the semester," Stofer said.

Of course, the chapel worship team isn't all Stofer does at NWC. She also plays the euphonium for the symphonic band, trombone for the jazz band and the upright bass for the orchestra. She also takes piano lessons and plays on the worship team for churches in Orange City.

"I didn't have a home church when I was on traveling worship teams the past years, so this is nice," Stofer said

For the past two summers, Stofer also has played electric and upright bass for the Clinton Showboat Theatre and plans to help with the chamber orchestra for next summer's performances of "The Sound of Music."

As a music performance major, Stofer is required to perform a recital her junior and senior years of college. Her first recital will be with her sister, Rebekah, April 14 at NWC.


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