Daniel VandeBunte ’15 daily integrates faith with his career as an audio visual specialist at Valley Family Church (VFC) in Kalamazoo, MI. As a media productions major and music minor, Calvin provided him with many formative experiences and mentors along his journey.
Q: What do your days on the job look like at VFC?
A: My role consists of a lot of the work that you see when you come to a Sunday morning service, but it’s behind the scenes. I run the camera, sound board and the slides. During the week I take all of the recorded footage from the previous weekend and compile all the angles together to make something that looks nice and clean. We make it available online, on a podcast and archived to a CD. Aside from that I am either troubleshooting an issue that needs to be fixed or looking at how to improve something and move forward, because technology is always changing. I also train and support volunteers so that that they will succeed in their various roles. Working at a church, there are things to do like this that are consistent each week and things that will vary like events, funerals, weddings and special services during the year.
Q: So far, what has been your favorite event?
A: I was the audio person for the summer camp, a weeklong high school camp up north. I was in charge of running all the worship and message portions from behind the soundboard. It was fun for me, having worked at a camp in college, to be not only working with the technical aspects of the camp but also to be involved in the games and the cabin time and getting to know people at the church whether they're my peers or high school students. You can be behind the scenes pressing buttons and working all of the equipment, but when it comes down to it, the church is really about the people and helping them connect with God.
Q: What experiences at Calvin prepared you for a career in the media production industry?
A: As part of my major, I took the initiative to do an independent study where I recorded different student musicians in Calvin’s audio studio. Calvin also has professional-level audio editing rooms equipped with industry-standard software that I was able to use. I made a CD that I was able to show as a final project. Professor Jake Bosmeijer, my supervisor for the independent study, has a plethora of knowledge on technology, audio, video and engineering. I was able to learn a lot from him both inside and outside of the classroom. I also took advantage of an off-campus semester through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, of which Calvin is a member. The program is called the Contemporary Music Center and took place in Nashville where I learned a lot about live sound, studio recording and the music industry. We got to meet with tons of Grammy award-winning and successful producers and artists. It was really great to be in the hub of where the music industry happens and be challenged so much.
Q: How did Calvin’s faith integration form an understanding of your calling in God’s kingdom?
A: At Calvin, faith was integrated into so many of my classes, whether it was a religion class, documentary filmmaking or audio recording. I saw how I could use my gifts not only to serve others but to serve God. I like the quote by Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That quote really stuck out to me because I'm passionate about the church and what God is doing, but also passionate about tech, audio, music and worship. I love being in a church environment that utilizes and welcomes technology and my gifts to reach people for the kingdom. Obviously every church has a different style which is fine, but it's great that I found a place where my passions and desires meet people's needs. In the end, it's not about the tech or the production, that's just a tool that we use to reach more people, communicate more effectively and strive for excellence in the name of God.