The Chamber Singers and String Ensemble of Missouri Baptist University will be presenting the U.S. premiere of “Song of Songs,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the Pillsbury Chapel. Admission is free.

Joining them will be MBU’s chorale and soprano Becky Thorn, an MBU graduate.

All three groups, along with various soloists, will collaborate to re-enact the Biblical book, “Song of Songs,” also known as “Song of Solomon.”

“We have a great team of singers who always put their best foot forward. They are very enjoyable to sing with with, as well as to socialize with outside of class,” said Shavon Swearengen, a junior music ministry major who is a member of the MBU chorale.

The original text was written by Patrick Hawes, but MBU’s Music Department will be presenting a slightly altered version coming from his brother, Andrew Hawes, according to an email from Dr. Larry Smith, chair of the Fine Arts Division.

“The music is very engaging and will be appreciated by all ages,” Smith said in an email. “The melodies and harmonies interpret the texts in an illuminating and intimate celebration of love.”

The performance will tell the story of love reflecting the relationship of Christ and the church as told in the book of Song of Solomon in the Bible.

“I’ve read Song of Solomon and there are concepts that really stand out to me in this book. I would definitely want to see a production like this,” said Jeanette Rock, a senior psychology major. Along with the “Song of Songs,” “Dark Night of the Soul,” by Ola Gjeilo, will also be presented.

The music of Gjeilo is to convey the story of St. John of the Cross.

Smith, who is also choral director and professor of music, anticipates a big crowd because of the rarity of a U.S. premiere on campus.

Brandon Riley, an MBU graduate and former member of MBU’s theatre program, said, “I’ve always enjoyed the chamber singers and wish that I could attend but I know that it will be a great show.”

The predominant story includes imagery of the “bride and the bridegroom, the beloved, the vine and the fruit,” Smith explained. “All reflect both the intimacy of human love and also provide the imagery so abundant in the relationship of Christ and the church, a relationship referenced specifically in the final movement.”

For more information on MBU’s Fine Arts’ programs, visit the school’s website,

“The songs provide us with insight into the deepest of human relationships and the deepest desire of all, the desire to know God and be one with Him,” Smith said.

By Brittany Clayton

Brittany Clayton is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline, the student news network of Missouri Baptist University. Clayton is a senior majoring in communications and a member of the JV basketball team at MBU. She is also a member of Peaceful Living Outreach Ministries, an organization started by her parents, Fred and Stacey Clayton. Clayton enjoys interacting with customers at Plaza Motors BMW Dealership, where she works part time.