USMB musician among 19 individuals leading music at PA 2015


MWC global assembly music ensemble announced

By Phyllis Pellman Good for Mennonite World Conference


USMB musician Clyde Ferguson Jr., from Lenoir, NC, is one of 19 musicians selected to lead the morning and evening worship each day at the Mennonite World Conference assembly to be held July 21-26 at the Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, Pa.

“During the next few weeks, we’ll be learning each other’s stories,” says Marcy Hostetler, leader of the group. “It’s so important to love and respect the people you work with.”

The 11 vocalists and eight instrumentalists come from India, Congo, Ethiopia, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Indonesia, Colombia and the United States. Ferguson is the only instrumentalist that does not live in south-central Pennsylvania.

“We wanted the instrumental ensemble to be able to rehearse well before the rest of the group arrives so we have a strong foundation,” says Hostetler.

The group was selected from musicians who submitted resumes, sound clips or YouTube links, plus references.

“We had many talented applicants, but we looked at more than their musical ability,” she said. “We wanted to represent all the continents. We wanted gender balance. International experience and diverse musical involvement were pluses.”

Each day at PA 2015 will feature a different continent—including the music. Latin American music, with its particular rhythms and styles, will be highlighted on Tuesday; Asian music on Wednesday; African music on Thursday; European music on Friday and North American music on Saturday. 

“We’ll get together about four days ahead of the conference to rehearse together, to become acquainted—and to become a group who can lead all who attend in wonderful worship,” says Hostetler. “Of course, we’ll be singing in a variety of languages, which requires special effort, too. One of the criteria for being in the groups is being able to communicate in English. We need at least one common language.” 

Hostetler says, “The more prepared we are, the more open and flexible we can be. When we selected the musicians, we looked for those with multiple skills—who can both play and sing—and who respect and understand the value of true worship.

Don McNiven is working with Hostetler as the group coordinator. “Remember—at PA 2015 we’re all going to be singing, with the ensemble leading and supporting us,” says McNiven. “Unified voices, lifted in multi-cultural worship in response to our Creator, Savior and Lord, will be just a taste of the worship we read about in Revelation.”


Meet some ensemble members

Clyde Ferguson Jr. builds diddly bows, a single-stringed instrument. His band, Pop Ferguson Blues, has been recognized by the African American National Heritage group and has been included in North Carolina classroom curricula because of its contribution to North Carolina history. Ferguson has taught for 26 years in North Carolina public schools, directing school bands for many of those years. He’s also developed a dropout prevention program called “Reach’em to Teach’em.” He is a member of the USMB Leadership Board.

Singer Dodó Miranda grew up in DR Congo, a refugee from Angola. At age five, he begged to attend adult choir practice with his parents and officially joined the choir at age eight. As an adult, he has participated in music festivals in South Africa, France, Norway and the U.S. He is in high demand in Angola, where he is featured regularly on national TV and radio as a gospel musician.

Nohemy Ruth García of Spain has a three-octave range. She has sung for three years with the Philharmonic Choirs of the Sydney, Australia Opera House. Also a songwriter, she was commissioned to write a song of peace to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the bobbin in Madrid, which killed 191 and injured 1,800 in 2004.

Marisol Arriage Aranda of Mexico is a graduate of Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Mexico City and has pastored two Mennonite churches, one with a large community center. She sings soprano in Abba Padre Musical Integration and leads music in workshops offered by Women in Action for Peace in Mexico.

Who are the singers and instrumentalists?

Members of the vocal ensemble are: Debora Agustinus (Indonesia), Marisol Aranda (Mexico), Nohemy Ruth García (Spain), Dawit Getachew (Ethiopia), Emily Grimes (U.S.), Nina Marie Horsch (Germany), Patience Lola (Congo), Dodó Miranda (Congo), Anugraha Mochary (India), Anna Showalter (U.S.) and Mark Wenger (U.S.)

Members of the instrumental ensemble are: Clyde Ferguson (U.S.), Christy Kauffman (U.S.), Ryan Kauffman (U.S.), Abby Madden (U.S.), Frances Miller (U.S.), Wilar Mora (Colombia), Jeff Raught (U.S.) and Daryl Snider (U.S.)

Phyllis Pellman Good is a writer and editor for Mennonite World Conference



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