Since our inception in 1989, it has often been said that “Preaching is king and music is queen” at Ambassador. As a ministry training college, our heartbeat is to train preachers and church musicians for the work of the ministry in the local church.
In continuing our philosophy of conservative, traditional church music, Ambassador is happy to introduce to you our new music chairman, Mr. Duane Ream. Brother Ream is an accomplished pianist and church musician who is eager to impact his students for the cause of Christ. Take a few moments to join us as we learn more about him . . .
ABC: We are excited about your upcoming ministry at ABC in the fall. Could you tell us a little bit about your upbringing and salvation testimony?
Mr. Ream: Sure, I was born and raised in Ottawa, KS which is about an hour from Kansas City. We attended a Baptist church and I accepted Christ when I was in the 5th grade. My Sunday School teacher led me to the Lord on a Sunday evening.
ABC: Your love and passion for music is obvious. When did you begin playing and how did you develop during your childhood years?
Mr. Ream: My mom said that I conducted the choir when I was a baby! I began taking piano in the second grade. My dad bought a piano so I would be able to practice. I took regular piano lessons from the second grade until the sixth grade. After that, my ability in hymn improvisation began to take off. I would try to play big chords even though my hands were not big enough. During my junior high and high school years, I was able to be an accompanist in my local church. In high school, an assistant pastor introduced me to a number of Gospel songs and hymns.
ABC: Where did you get your collegiate music training and what degrees did you earn?
Mr. Ream: I started at Bob Jones University in 1980 and earned two degrees. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music and Master of Music degree.
ABC: Although you are well known for your influence in the classroom, tell us a little bit about your local church service.
Mr. Ream: Although I have always been involved in local church music, the Lord opened the door for me to become an assistant pastor and music director at a church near Pickens, SC about twelve years ago. I really enjoy this ministry and am able to teach Sunday School as well.
ABC: What is your favorite part about church music?
Mr. Ream: I would have to say that it is congregational singing! There is nothing quite like hearing a group of Christians passionately singing about the love of God.
ABC: What men have influenced you the most in church music?
Mr. Ream: Three names come to mind. Dwight Gustafson taught me much about classical and sacred music. Gail Gingery was a great choir director and showed me how to effectively interpret a Gospel song. Frank Garlock provoked me to think biblically about a philosophy of music and taught me music philosophy in my early days. He took a stand on biblical music philosophy in those days when it was not popular.
ABC: Between teaching in the classroom and serving in your local church, you probably don’t have a lot of free time. However, what are some things outside of music that you like to do?
Mr. Ream: Well, I like to fish, but I don’t get to do it very much. I also like HO scale model railroading, especially building scenery.
ABC: What is your vision for the music department at ABC?
Mr. Ream: Well, music should be part of the development of Christian character. A person must have character if he or she is going into the service of the King. You can have a lot of skill but no character. I would also say that I want our students to have a high level of musicianship. They should seek excellence for the Lord. We owe it to them to give them the highest level of training to maximize their usefulness in the Lord’s work. So, I guess in a nutshell, character/godliness and musicianship.
ABC: One last question before we close. What are the two most important things that students should consider as they develop their piano skills?
Mr. Ream: The number one suggestion is that they must be willing to put the time into it. Don’t be upset when you don’t get the results you wanted when you don’t put the time into it! It takes time and dedication. I would also say that the choice of teacher is very important. Not every piano teacher is a good one.
ABC: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. We are excited about the fall semester!
Mr. Ream: I am too! My prayer is that God will raise up many to train in church music.