As the music of Christian classical guitarist and world traveler Rodrigo Rodriguez resonated throughout the DeSantis Family Chapel during a special presentation last year, Palm Beach Atlantic University honors student Carly Chapman experienced a tremendous sense of peace.
“There was such a calmness about it, and you could tell it was a gift from God,” said Chapman, a sophomore majoring in medicinal and biological chemistry. “There’s no other explanation but that the spirit of God was just here.”
The feeling was so powerful that she bought the guitarist’s CD to share with her teenage friend, Cory Lane, who was undergoing treatment for bone cancer in Chapman’s hometown of Indianapolis, Ind.
A cancer survivor, Chapman came to know Cory by meeting with him and his family to offer words of encouragement. She remained in touch even after she left to attend college at PBA.
She later found out through Cory’s mother, Carrie, that the music she sent him did indeed have the intended effect. “She was telling me that whenever he listened to it, the music allowed him to be at peace,” Chapman said.
As the end of Cory’s battle drew near, Chapman decided to contact Rodriguez to see if he would agree to give a private concert to Cory. To her surprise, he agreed and was on a plane from his home in South Carolina to Indiana a few days later.
Rodriguez, a native of Quito, Ecuador, takes his music ministry around the world and rarely has weekends free. This time was a rare exception, he said.
When he met Cory, the teen's body was covered with tumors and he was in excruciating pain, he said. However, his family remained strong and demonstrated the love of Christ, Rodriguez said.
“I thought I would minister to this family, but instead they ministered to me,” he said.
Rodriguez later wrote a song for Cory, who passed away a few weeks later. The upbeat song, “Coming Home,” is on Rodriguez’s latest CD, “A New Day, A New Song.”
He played it for PBA students this week in chapel, describing it as “a happy song, because so many angels in heaven will welcome Cory.”
Among those in the audience was Chapman, who was moved by the tribute.
Rodriguez’s final performance for students will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in chapel. Copies of his CDs will be on sale.
He also will be a featured musician during the PBA Symphony Concert: Hymnic Heritage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the DeSantis Family Chapel. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students. For information, visit www.pba.edu/performances.