By Sergio Legorreta
Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and author Carrie Newcomer will be returning to Baylor on Monday. She will speak and sing during Chapel.
Newcomer said she will present songs and reflections on the topic of “showing up.”
“We live such busy lives in our culture, this is especially so for students,” Newcomer said. “It is easy to be distracted by all the multitasking, deadlines, invasive media. It is a decision we make daily. We have to intentionally choose to be present – to show up for our own lives.”
Ryan Richardson, associate chaplain and director of worship, said Newcomer’s performance on Monday may feel similar to an episode of “Live from the Artists Den.”
“Carrie will perform songs and tell stories related to God’s work in the world and the various ways we humans interact with one another and with God,” Richardson said.
Newcomer will be performing songs from various releases, including her most recent book and CD, “A Permeable Life.”
According to Newcomer’s website, “A Permeable Life’ is about what “presses out from the heart, what comes in at a slant and what shimmers below the surface of things,” Newcomer has been an artist for over 20 years, and she has received numerous awards and attention from media and music magazines such as the Public Broadcasting System, Boston Globe, Rolling Stone and Billboard.
According to Billboard’s website, Newcomer has been influential in the contemporary folk scene since the 1990s, writing emotional songs about personal, political and spiritual issues.
Baylor’s Department of Religion partnered with Newcomer for more than just her musical acclaim. Newcomer is not just an artist – she has collaborated on several hunger, environmental and interfaith dialogue projects.
Richardson says Newcomer’s previous visits to Baylor have positively impacted students.
“Carrie has proven to ethically and carefully write songs that reflect the life of the Church,” Richardson said.
Monday evening, Newcomer will give a private concert to the religion department. Newcomer will also be present at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for a Psalms and Wisdom Literature class headed by Bill Bellinger, chair of the religion department. Bellinger’s course studies the Old Testament, and he said Newcomer would be helpful with analyzing the book of Psalms.
“She’s a very active Quaker, and she has done a lot of workshops,” Bellinger said. “She’s going to help us to think about this ancient poetry – the book of Psalms – and how to read and communicate its message in our daily lives. Specifically, how the medium of poetry can express spirituality.”
Newcomer has collaborated with Baylor twice in the past. She spoke and performed during Chapel services on Feb. 25, 2009. Newcomer also performed for graduate students in February 2011 at a Wabash Center’s Teaching Initiative conference.
Richardson said when planning Chapel and Newcomer’s visit, Baylor sought to positively impact students’ spiritual formation.
“We are wanting students to feel nurtured towards spiritual growth, healing, balance in life and depth of faith,” Richardson said.