In a program that harmonizes musical training, theological rigor and industry awareness, Prairie College’s Songwriting & Recording Diploma has graduated three more students, contributing more talent to the Canadian music scene. The program was founded by JUNO award-winning singer and songwriter, Brian Doerksen, in 2014, building on the College’s pre-existing Worship Arts department. Since its inception, the program has garnered recognition in Christian music and beyond, most recently with 2019 graduates Kearstin Pfeiferr and Zach Parkinson nominated in the 2020 Canadian Gospel Music Awards for ‘Folk Song of the Year’ and Joseph Tennant nominated in the YYC Music Awards ‘Folk Recording of the Year.’
This early-career recognition for graduates is a nod to the caliber of the faculty involved in the creation and delivery of the program and the commitment to maximize learning in and out of the classroom. Brian Doerksen, now an adjunct faculty member, is a multi-award-winning Christian artist who regularly contributes to teaching alongside other artists like Matt Brouwer, Jaylene Johnson and JUNO-award-winning producer Stephen Rendall. Providing administrative leadership are Dr. Mark Jonah (Doctor of Worship Studies from Robert. E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies) and Denis Baptista, a Brazilian born composer who was one of nine honored in the prestigious 2020 Canadian National Composition Competition by the Orchestre Metropolitan in Montreal. All Songwriting students get hands-on experience in the studio with producer/recording engineer Mark Troyer, known for his work with CCMA and JUNO award winners like Garth Richardson.
The songwriting stream of Prairie’s Music and Worship Arts Program prioritizes how to navigate the Christian music industry and puts students through the real-life experience of recording, producing, and working with other musicians to produce an EP of their own by the end of the two-year program. The last cohort of graduates includes:
- Northern Ontario grown, Joshua Bellingham who produced an alternative pop album that focuses on life and its deeper meaning using unique metaphors and anecdotes that yet somehow remain relatable.
- Stu MacLean, another Ontarian, is in the finishing stages of releasing his album full of folky, fun songs that will be sure to keep your foot tapping and your lips smiling.
- Sneha Reddy, born and raised in India, who released an album that combines her Indian heritage with life lessons, hopes, and dreams resulting in an incandescent musical creation.
For students applying to Prairie who don’t want to commit to a full two years or who are more interested in other aspects of Christian music, Prairie College also offers a Certificate in Musicianship and a Bachelor in Worship Leading and Music. Both of these programs require applicants to submit video demos as part of the application process as students must have raw musical talent to succeed in these programs.
The program aims to foster artists who are seeking a rigorous, real-life education that equips them to create music — professionally or for fun— that opens hearts and minds to the sacred in a style that opens doors.
To learn more about the program visit:
ABOUT PRAIRIE COLLEGE
Christ-centred and career-oriented, Prairie College is a private, interdenominational Christian college in Three Hills, Alberta (just over one hour north of Calgary International Airport). With a commitment to academic excellence and spiritual discipleship, combined with a genuine and welcoming community, the school offers a formative life-changing experience.
With 300 students from all corners of the globe, 30 programs, and a network of 17,000 alumni, this dynamic campus community is globally-minded and driven to meet the greatest needs of the world.