Hearn Innovators in Christian Music Lecture Series Presents Singer-Songwriter Ken MedemaSept. 16, 2011
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Born almost blind in 1942, Ken Medema began playing the piano when he was five years old. Three years later, he began taking classical music lessons in braille, playing by ear and improvising. Now, more than 60 years later, he has released 26 albums and regularly performs across the United States, Canada and Europe.
Presented by Baylor University's Center for Christian Music, Medema will give a presentation as a part of the Hearn Innovators Christian Music Lecture Series at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Recital Hall II of Waco Hall on the Baylor campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The lecture series brings to Baylor people who are thinking creatively and blazing new trails in the field of Christian Music. Presenters are on campus for a three to four day residency and speak in classes, make public presentations and visit with students in small groups and one-on-one.
Medema, on campus from Monday, Sept. 19, through Wednesday, Sept. 21, will also present during Baylor University chapel at 9:05 a.m., 10:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Monday in Waco Hall, and during George W. Truett Theological Seminary chapel at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Paul W. Powell Chapel of Truett Seminary on the Baylor campus.
Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., Medema has only ever been able to distinguish light from darkness and see outlines of major objects. As a child, he did not feel accepted because of his blindness and spent a lot of time by himself. Early on, he turned to music for comfort.
In 1969, Medema received his bachelor's degree in music therapy at Michigan State University before he began working as a music therapist in Fort Wayne, Ind., and later Essex County Hospital in New Jersey. He began his career as a performing and recording artist in 1973, recording albums for Word and Shawnee Press. He founded his own label, Brier Patch Music, in 1985.
Through Brier Patch Music, based in Grandville, Mich., Medema schedules his events, as well as publishes his music. His lyrics provide social commentary on justice, hunger, poverty, homelessness and Christian charity. His performances include songs improvised both musically and lyrically by accepting audience recommendations or sermon topics. He performs in national and worldwide church congregations, campuses, youth gatherings and annual assemblies.
Medema lives in San Francisco, Calif., with his wife Jane. They spend their time reading books, watching movies and enjoying the company of their grandchildren, Charlotte and Henry.
Waco Hall is at 624 Speight Ave.
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by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805