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First GOLD Recipient Named

March 01, 2020 - 1 minute read

Christian Guebert

Christian Guebert ’10 is an accomplished young arranger and handbell expert who is making a name for himself in the field of music. 

“Handbells is what distinguishes me in composer circles,” Guebert says. “At Concordia Irvine we know about handbells, but in the wider world it’s pretty unknown and thought to be a specialty thing.” 

At CUI, Guebert earned his BA in music with an emphasis on composition, then earned his parish music certificate. In 2017, he won the nationwide Pacific Chorale Young Composers Competition. In 2018, the Choral Arts Initiative performed his concert-length piece, “Voyaging,” which is Walt Whitman poetry set to music for choir, handbell ensemble and harp. 

“Handbells is an amazing instrument and can do a lot more than people think,” Guebert says. “I like to think it’s my musical evangelism.” 

From 2013 to 2019, Guebert built the Concordia Alumni Handbell Ensemble, serving as its director. He also has taught at CUI for eight years, including subjects like arranging, music technology, orchestration and musicianship. “Watching students blossom and pursue their own interests within the field is really special,” he says. “I’ve really enjoyed staying connected to Concordia Irvine.” 

Guebert serves part-time as director of music ministries at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Orange — the church he grew up in — where he writes and arranges music for his church choir and the church’s annual Christmas carol festival. He is finishing his PhD in music composition at UCLA, with dissertation research focused on handbell music history, composers and techniques. He hopes to equip composers and arrangers with strategies for using modern handbells. 

Being the first alumnus to receive the G.O.L.D. (Graduate Of the Last Decade) Alumni Award was “absolutely wonderful,” he says. “It was affirming.” The GOLD award recognizes an alum who excels in his or her chosen profession and lives a life reflective of CUI’s mission and values. 

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