Langley, British Columbia—The vocal talents that Jessica MacKnee displayed on the West Coast have taken her all of the way to Martha’s Vineyard on the East Coast. The recent graduate of Trinity Western University was accepted into the Contemporary Music Center on Martha’s Vineyard, an island 5 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, most widely known as the U.S. presidential getaway. For the next few months, MacKnee will gain performance experience and knowledge of the music business under the direction of two long-time industry leaders, Warren Pettit and Tom Willett.
“This is an incredible opportunity to create an original repertoire of music and work with other musicians in a creative learning environment,” says MacKnee. “It’s giving me a chance to do what I love—writing, singing and working with the people here—without any other distractions.”
MacKnee recently signed with Offshore Entertainment Group, a management, booking and public relations firm in Massachusetts, and is working on her debut album of original work, which will draw from her love of acoustic rock, folk and jazz. Her semester will include regular concert appearances in the Boston area as well as a multi-city tour of the East Coast.
The upcoming performances should come naturally to MacKnee, who just last year solo performed for more than 4,000 audience members in the TWU student and alumni production, A Maze of Grace.
“Having opportunities to perform publicly, such as in the Trinity Western choirs and in A Maze of Grace, really helped my confidence,” says MacKnee, who was a member of TWU’s Chamber Singers, Chamber Choir and Jazz Choir for two years.
During her last year at Trinity Western, MacKnee gave leadership to a team that led worship music at daily chapel services for TWU students.
“Working with a team and writing music for worship really stretched me as a singer and as a pianist, and confirmed where my heart is with music,” says MacKnee.
Warren Pettit, director of the Contemporary Music Center, acknowledged MacKnee’s enthusiasm and talent, noting she “has a passion for art and music that is both thoughtful and contagious.”
The Contemporary Music Center (CMC) is one of ten off-campus study initiatives offered by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, giving students an opportunity to live and work with fellow musicians, music business students and industry professionals, while offering academic credit.
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,000 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2012-08-21