When Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers put their songs and voices together, there is a delicate and powerful magic that commands the room to attention. The multi-instrumentalist indie-folk duo is known as Frances Luke Accord, and they are what NPR’s Mountain Stage calls “the definition of lean-in music.” Rich, up-close tenor harmonies lend their timeless songwriting an urgency that is compared to Simon & Garfunkel, Bon Iver, and Jose Gonzalez.
This month’s student spotlight belongs to Nico Barboza. Nico is a Senior Music Business Major with a heart for not only worship but also jazz. We had the opportunity to talk with Nico about his life and plans for his future career.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your experiences at Lee.
Nico: During my time at Lee I have had many opportunities to grow as a musician. I have been a part of LeeU Worship for almost four years and was also part of Campus Choir for three semesters. After that I decided that it was time to focus more in my technique and truly dive into what my emphasis consisted of, jazz. That was when I joined Small Jazz under Dr. Nathan Warner. By that point I had been learning jazz concepts, but when I joined the ensemble it was time to finally put into practice all the information I had been given for the last three semesters. There are three people at Lee that I owe everything to for investing in me, believing in me, and above all teaching me everything I need to know for when I graduate and go into the real music business. Those people are Nathan Warner, Shawn Perkinson, and Alan Wyatt. They played a huge role in my music career, as well as personal life and I am forever grateful for them. Because of their guidance and by the grace of God I have had incredible opportunities to work with some of the best musicians in the industry.
Q: What are your plans for your future career?
Nico: The plan is to move to Nashville and work as a musician, whether it’s touring or session work. I have been blessed to work frequently with some of the best musicians and artists in the business, as well as being mentored by them, so I am really excited for that time to come.
Q: What are you doing right now to make these plans happen?
Nico: I am working a lot and networking with different people. I am currently part of a project called The Circle Session, which has been pushing me to be the best musician I can be and has already opened doors for the next chapter in my life. It is in my nature to constantly want to learn something new and discover new things, so it has been the perfect place to find my sound and who I am as a musician while being able to share music and learn from the best around. I am also currently playing for Chris Blue, so that has been a lot of fun. He is easily one of the best artists I have worked with and such an awesome guy. Really, that whole team is awesome. They are like family. There are more things that I can’t quite talk about just yet but should be able to soon!
Q: What has been your favorite Bible verse this school year?
Nico: My favorite verse has always been Colossians 3:23-24. In everything I do, especially music, I just want to glorify God and be used by Him. After all, it is all because of Him; from what I do and the talent that He gave me to everything that has happened and continues to happen in my life.
We are so thankful to have students like Nico here at Lee, and we can’t wait to see your success!
Dr. Doug Warner is this month’s Faculty Spotlight! Dr. Warner is our trombone professor, and conductor of the trombone ensemble. We were able to snatch some time out of his busy schedule to ask him a few questions.
Q: How long have you been teaching at Lee?
Dr. Warner: Well, that’s a bit complicated! I claim this as my 18th year, because I joined the full time faculty in the fall of 2002. But I taught as a part time faculty member for the four years before that (1998-2002). To further cloud the issue—I taught in a very part time capacity (low brass applied lessons only, of which there were usually only 2 per semester back in those days) from 1989 or 1990 to 1996. Suffice it to say that I’ve been affiliated with Lee for a fairly long time.
Q: What is your favorite part of teaching here?
Dr. Warner: This one is easy—the students! I love interacting with, instructing, guiding, counseling, inspiring, and encouraging all the young adults I get to work with every day. I don’t mean to sound clichéd, but I truly believe that having an impact on students is what God has called me to do. I want to have a positive impact of some sort on every student with whom I interact, whether it’s encouraging them to grow in their walk with God, teaching them to achieve as performers, inspiring them to love (or at least not live in fear of!) music history, or just listening to them talk about their struggles, dreams, and aspirations.
Q: What do you like to do outside of teaching?
Dr. Warner: Well, I also enjoy performing as a trombonist. I am truly blessed to be able to teach full time and perform part time as Principal Trombonist of the Chattanooga Symphony. Of course, I love to spend time with my wife and two daughters. I enjoy traveling. And, at this time of year, I love to follow college football!
Q: What is one goal you have for the School of Music?
Dr. Warner: My goal for the School of Music is that we continue to grow, not only in size, but also in the level of the graduates we produce. Ideally, I would like to see us adapt to the changing times and the changes in goals of our current students, while also demonstrating leadership in the community of Christian higher education by modeling to the world what pursuing excellence in all styles of music looks like.
We are so thankful to have Dr. Warner as part of our staff, and we appreciate all of his teaching over the years!
P.S. Take a look at some fun pictures with Dr. Warner during Halloween where Dr. Warner, his secretary Mrs. Karla Hyder, and their students workers dressed as Toy Story Characters!
Lee University students come to school with several genres in their repertoire. Four Lee students have come together this semester to create their own barbershop quartet. These students are freshmen music majors with a passion for barbershop and quartet harmonies.
View some videos of them on our Instagram here!
We had a chance to talk to the lead Andrew Easterling about his experience.
“So starting off with how long we have been doing this, we actually just started doing barbershop with us four together this year. We all met through our residence hall and discovered each others love for barbershop. Jordan was the only one who had never sung barbershop before, but once we introduced it to him, he was hooked. Wyatt, Hayden and myself have sung with different barbershop choruses before, including Crimson Pride Chorus based out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Sound of Tennessee based here in Cleveland, Tennessee. All three of us have been involved in barbershop for a number of years now and our love and passion for barbershop continues to grow everyday. Jordan is actually standing in right now as a fourth member while we continue to search for a fourth person to sing bass because of his busy schedule. Our current formation is myself on Lead, Wyatt McCarter on Bass, Hayden Rupert on Baritone, and Jordan Narkates on Tenor. We absolutely love singing with each other and it’s a privilege to be best friends with these guys. Our favorite part about barbershop is the intricate, tight harmony that allows us to produce such a rich and full quartet sound. It is something that everyone can be apart of, which we love to include others in our singing. We are planning on attempting to qualify for the 2020 International Varsity Quartet Contest in Los Angeles, California. We are so excited for this new journey with each other and we can’t wait to keep the whole world singing!”
We are so proud of these young men and their love of music. We wish them the very best!