When members of the school’s music department were asked to honor a student who exemplified both talent and character, they chose senior Tim Saffeels.
Known for his positive attitude and versatility, he is an inspirational music student who is well-respected and admired by his professors.
Saffeels mainly plays the trumpet and sings; however, he also plays other instruments, such as the piano, drums, percussion and clarinet.
“My mom taught me piano when I was younger,” Saffeels said. “I started playing the trumpet in the sixth grade, and I’ve just picked up other instruments here and there.”
Saffeels changed to a music education major from a physical education major his sophomore year.
This year he is actively involved in jazz band and concert band, brass ensemble, jazz combo, and, in years past, he was part of the chamber and concert choir.
Saffeels is the student director for the chamber choir and concert band, conducted at the retreat in Sisters in September, and last year he directed the chorus and orchestra in a piece by Mozart, while they were on tour. He even studied conducting in Bulgaria last year.
He also serves as the worship leader at Salem Heights Church.
“Tim is an exceptional student and has also composed quite a bit of music both for voices and also for orchestra,” Professor John Bartsch said.
Saffeels graduated from Salem Academy and saw Corban as the perfect college for furthering his education. “I was already carpooling with Professor (Mike) Flores, and I knew a lot of the professors,” Saffeels said.
He comes from a fairly musically inclined family; his mother plays the piano, his father sings, and his two brothers play other instruments as well.
“My parents instilled in me a love for music,” he said.
Two of the three members of the Music Department who influenced him the most are Dan Shuholm and Dr. Matt Strauser, Saffeels said. “They challenged me to think about music and do my best.”
The third music instructor is Brian Griffiths, band director, “because he is exactly what I want to be like. He’s a people person, a person of character, and I think that is important,” Saffeels said.
He pointed out that a lot of preparation goes into each musical performance. “You have to listen to a piece, then practice it over and over a million times,” Saffeels said. “Then there is lots of prayer and quiet time.”
The actual performance is not his favorite part. “I enjoy the time and the work that leads up to the performance,” he said. “The performance is good, but the audience only catches a small glimpse of all of the work that is put in and the gift that God gave you, and that is when it becomes fun.”
He added, “God is everywhere: on the stage, in the church. Performing becomes not a time to look at me, but to show what God has blessed me with and given me. And then it all becomes worthwhile.”
His immediate plans include “to keep serving in my church, trust the Lord for a job that pays back Sallie May, and also trust the Lord in his timing.”
Saffeels aspires to eventually become a high school band director, and his professors and peers have no doubt that he will achieve his goals.
“With his winsome personality and commitment to Christ, along with his music skills, I think he is going to be a very effective teacher,” Dr. Virginia Cross, a music professor, said.
His words of encouragement for current or aspiring music students are these: “One encouragement to any college student or fifth year senior of any major is to do three things: stay in the Lord, be diligent to get hooked up in a local church, and be a good steward of the talents God has given you.