By Grace Berryhill | Staff Writer
Dr. Joshua Chism started his first day as Whitworth University’s Associate Director of Choral Activities, Coordinator for Music Education and Director of the Ponderosa Tenor Bass Choir after only visiting the state of Washington two times before getting hired.
Chism is originally from Missouri and described his wife and himself as “middle of the country people.”
After finishing up his dissertation and PhD at the University of Oklahoma, Chism knew he wanted to stay close to Missouri, but had a change of heart because of Whitworth University’s core values. “One reason that I entertained the notion of applying at a small, private, liberal-arts university in Spokane, Washington—in a part of the country that I’d never visited—was because of the university’s focus on academics, the Christian faith and the convergence of the two.”
There were many factors that distinguished Chism as a worthy candidate for Associate Director of Choral Activities. “You can just see that he was full of passion for music education, and that’s what this position is about,” said Director of Choral Activities Dr. Xiaosha Lin.
Lin said she and the university were incredibly impressed with Chism’s interview last spring and his niche PhD in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Conducting and Choral Pedagogy.
Though Chism aims to teach his students music, he wants to go a little deeper. “My teaching philosophy is related to the rationale for why I took this position,” he said. “As faculty, it is our responsibility and privilege to positively impact students—mind, heart and spirit. I believe that wholeheartedly.”
Chism encourages students of all skills and levels to join the Whitworth choral programs. He said, “What is so important and unique about what we do here in the music department, and unlike many other facets of higher education, is the sense of belonging that is cultivated in our ensembles. We come together unified with a common love, passion, and skill.”
“I can’t think of one person on the face of the Earth that doesn’t want to belong to something in some way, shape, or form,” he said. “Come and sing, come and belong.”