June 9, 2020
Donté Ford to direct Wheaton College’s new Certificate in Worship Arts, a program designed to equip students for worship ministry roles at churches.
Wheaton College welcomes Donté Ford to the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Music and the first-ever Associate Chaplain of Worship Arts. Ford will direct the College’s new Certificate in Worship Arts, which launches in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Worship Arts is the Christ-centered study of music ministry and church worship leadership. Students will learn from a wide variety of worship traditions, ranging from traditional hymns and liturgy to contemporary praise band music. With the 24-credit-hour Certificate in Worship Arts, students will acquire the skills to serve as a church worship leader or a church music director including how to recruit and lead choirs of all ages, manage budgets, handle audio, video, and lighting technologies, arrange chord charts and lead sheets, choose music for events such as weddings and funerals, and more. The certificate which can be added to any Wheaton undergraduate degree, consists of worship arts and theology classes with private and group music lessons and an internship.
"We are delighted with the arrival of Mr. Donté Ford in Wheaton," said Dr. Michael Wilder, Dean of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. "He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and commitment to the important leadership role that he will serve in worship arts at Wheaton College. Mr. Ford is also an individual with a deep love for God and commitment to serving Him and the church. With this new position and program in worship arts, we look forward to all the ways God will lead us in even better equipping Wheaton College graduates to serve the church and society--close by and throughout the world."
Ford comes to Wheaton College after several decades of experience playing in the worship bands at churches. In fact, he was a six-year-old when he got his musical start. He said he’d been eyeing his church’s bright red drum set for weeks when during the middle of one Sunday morning service he finally got up the pluck to pick up the sticks and start drumming.
Ford continued playing drums, as well as tuba and piano. He received a B.A. in Music at the Pennsylvania State University. Three years later, Ford graduated with a Master of Sacred Music and Choral Conducting at Southern Methodist University. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of Arizona.
Along with managing the Certificate of Worship Arts program and teaching music classes in the Conservatory, Ford will also lead all of the College’s chapel worship bands.—Emily Bratcher