by Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (November 2017) – In 2014, Visible Music College came to Lansing, opening their second campus. The college was created by Ken Steorts with a first location in downtown Memphis. Visible has since opened a campus in Dallas with plans for further expansion in other corners of the U.S.
The Christian-centered music school offers degree programs in Modern Music, Music Production, and Music Business. With small classes and staff-to-student ratio, the programs can be highly individualized. “We currently serve over 160 students across all of our teaching locations—primarily undergraduates working on their Bachelor’s degree—but that number also includes about a dozen or so working towards a Master’s of Arts in Leadership we have recently begun, as well as about a dozen students working on a one-year certificate program,” said Cameron Harvey. Ph.D., Vice President of Academics.
This past spring the college graduated three individuals who had been transfer students. In 2018 the first students will graduate who started at the Lansing campus.
Students put in time performing as part of their education. “Our students serve as musicians for churches, we provide public concerts regularly, and we host open mic nights for community artists to perform at,” said Harvey.
The college is located at 3404 Lake Street, just north of Ridge Road, in a building that dates back to the late 1800s and has served as village hall, courthouse, police station, and firehouse. The building’s old jail cells became storage areas, and the old apparatus floor of the fire station is now a stage and performance area where the garage door is raised when the weather is mild, creating an open, inviting space.
On that stage, the school hosts a range of concerts most Fridays during the fall and spring semesters. Those concerts are open to the public. “Some Friday nights are student performances, which include a range of genres of music, including pop, rock, funk, blues and gospel,” said Harvey. “We also do Worship Nights where students lead a time of worship music open to anyone. Finally, we do Open Mic Nights about once per month where anyone in the community can perform.”
Kristian Black, a student at Visible Music College Chicago, said he was intrigued by the school when it opened just a couple blocks from his home. “It’s a great environment to build your craft,” he said. “The staff is great and helpful. The students are welcoming, and there’s never a lack of opportunities to learn.”
Black said he has made valuable connections through the professional development and lecture series. “There’s also a lot of hands-on experience, which I think is necessary for learning anything regarding music.” He also appreciates the overall experience of being surrounded by other creative artists and having access to a recording studio.
Those sentiments were echoed by student Lacy Blonn who has lived in Lansing most of her life. “I’ve always been involved with music, ever since beginning band with Mr. Alllie at Memorial Junior High School. So, when Visible came to Lansing, I felt a call to pursue my passion in life—worship leading. It was a great decision,” she said. Blonn cites Visible’s three-fold focus: developing talent, growing in faith, and becoming productive professional—as key to helping her achieve success in her career as well as her personal life and community involvement.
Part of the community
Harvey is pleased at how the college has become part of the Lansing community. “Our students and staff use the local shops and restaurants in downtown Lansing,” he said. “We have studio recording services available to local musicians and our students. We encourage the arts in our community. We put on an annual Christmas show for all denominations and the public. We bring touring musicians and speakers into Lansing. We are able to provide a connection for Lansing to the wider higher ed market of Chicago.”
That annual Christmas show took place this past Sunday at Living Word Church.