Tim McGowan ‘16, a vocal music performance major studying with Professor Mitchell Hutchings at Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College, won first place in his division at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Central New York Finger Lakes district competition. McGowan’s win at this October event qualifies him for a larger scale NATS competition in NYC in March of 2014.
McGowan shares, “There were quite a few competitors there, it was so eye-opening and inspiring being a believer in the competition. I almost felt like because I was singing for the glory of God that I had a peace about me that was hard to come by walking through the halls lined with nervous singers that day.” He continues, “I felt like it was the first time that I truly gave my singing completely to God and trusted in him.”
McGowan competed in the musical theater category, and really wanted to sing one song in particular called “A World Without You.” He explains, “It is about the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit which is so real in our lives as Christians. I was thrilled to be able, in a way, to share my story of Christ’s victory in my heart in a secular venue of competition, especially in the winners’ concert, to share with everyone there. I just had a peace in my heart that was so new to me. I put it in God’s hands. It’s great that people congratulate me, but really they should be giving all the glory to God! I wouldn’t even be at Houghton if He hadn’t redirected my life.”
Houghton assistant professor of voice and opera and director of Lyric Opera Mitchell Hutchings said, “It is no small feat to win one's category at the Central New York Finger Lakes Chapter auditions of NATS. A multitude of talented students came from many nationally recognized music programs to compete in these auditions. I was happy to see Tim win. He represented himself, his family, his professors, and the Greatbatch School of Music with the highest degree of excellence.”
But beyond commenting on McGowan’s win, Hutchings has more to say. “Tim is the very definition of a Houghton student,” explains Hutchings. “He is a Western New Yorker that has received recognition in singing, dancing, acting, track and field, cross country, and marching band. He excels at so many activities within his major and through extracurricular pursuits. He is firm in his faith and belief in Jesus Christ; and, from what I have witnessed, he plays an essential part in the student body community.”
In terms of how McGowan found himself at Houghton, he shares, “It’s funny how Houghton found me, in a way. I had applied to four private and state schools as an English/history major.” He goes on to explain that it was God who directed him back toward music and brought him to Houghton. “One night in April of my senior year [of high school], I just filled out the necessary paperwork for Houghton athletics, my music teacher made some calls, and the next day I was auditioning for Houghton’s music department. I had already verbally committed to run cross-country for [another school], and paid my deposit. But I felt a calling back to music, and Houghton College had everything I wanted, which I tried to ignore, but it was so obvious that I was meant to be here.”
McGowan had another exciting win in 2013 as a trumpet player with the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps of Dansville, N.Y. The White Sabers won first place in the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) Class A Championship competition with a record-breaking score of 85.93. McGowan marched as the lead mellophone player for two years with the corps, but this past summer, he made the transition to the trumpet section.
He explains more about the experience, “The DCA World Championship consists of two competitions in one weekend. The preliminary round is open to all drum and bugle corps. To qualify for the world finals in class A, a corps must place in the top four, based on their scores from preliminaries. This year, the White Sabers entered preliminaries in second place, stole first place, and broke the DCA World Class A scoring record with our championship performance. It was thrilling.”
McGowan gives more detail about the corps, saying, “It’s a performing group that takes the sophistication of classical music and combines it with the athleticism of military precision. The White Sabers have a storied tradition that began in 1928 and continues to grow even today in the year 2013. It takes so much passion to make it through nine- to 12-hour-a-day rehearsals. I get lost in time though, playing for God’s glory and disciplining my body.” The corps won titles in high brass, high color guard, high visual effect, and high percussion.
Hutchings hints at more to come from McGowan, saying, “After seeing Tim perform the song ‘A World Without You’ in the winners’ concert [at NATS], I am extremely excited to see him perform the entire role of Adam in the Houghton College Lyric Theater spring production of Stephen Schwartz's “Children of Eden.” It is not to be missed!”