Summer Chapels Give Voice to Musically-Inclined Staff

Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato, Chapel Praise Team Coordinator Jeanny Alexandre, Jenna Julien and Ethan Fant, on guitar, lead worship during summer chapel on June 27, 2019. Admissions counselor Jose Marrero plays the piano and sings.Faculty and staff who aren’t ordinarily in the spotlight during their 8 to 5 jobs are taking the stage to lead chapel worship this summer.

Admissions staff, an eLearning designer, a librarian and a chemistry professor are among those who are singing or playing an instrument for their colleagues under the direction of Chapel Worship Coordinator Jeanny Alexandre.

Admissions secretary Bev Brown relishes the opportunity.

“When you’re doing the thing that you know God has made you to do, you have that satisfaction in your soul,” said Brown, who has sung in church and school choirs since she was a little girl. She also sings on the worship team at Family Church Village.

The opportunity was born of necessity. Alexandre had plenty of students to help her lead worship during the school year, when chapel is offered four times per week. But when the University began offering weekly chapels for faculty and staff — and most of the students were gone — she thought, “Oh my gosh, who am I going to have to lead worship?”

Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato raises her hands during worship rehearsal for summer chapel.She started recruiting, first among peers that she knew had musical talent, and then with an open invitation via a Listserv.

“The rest is history,” Alexandre said. “All of these people showed up. They’re good, and their hearts are right.”

Ann Lloyd, eLearning design and support specialist, is a second soprano in the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches. She appreciates the opportunity to sing with Alexandre and the others who are so talented.

“She’s very buoyant. She’s enthusiastic, and it’s fun to be around her,” Lloyd said of Alexandre. “I enjoy meeting and being with other people at PBA who I’m not usually around.”

Each week, Alexandre asks who is available and then sends out a song list to the musicians so that they can familiarize themselves at home. They rehearse together only twice — for about an hour the evening before and about a half an hour the day of chapel. They pray to get their hearts ready.

Admissions counselor Jose Marrero plays the piano on the chapel praise team and leads worship at Haverhill Baptist Church. Serving on the praise team gives Marrero ’18 an opportunity to meet other faculty and staff outside his department, he said.  

Director of Alumni Relations Steve Eshelman (on bass guitar), Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy Director of Community Engagment Jeff Snow (on cajon), Admissions Counselor Jose Marrero (on piano), Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato, Chapel Praise Team Coordinator Jeanny Alexandre, Jenna Julien and Ethan Fant (on guitar) rehearse for a summer staff chapel worship on June 27, 2019.“I love leading worship at PBA,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the things that I enjoy the most about working here. There aren’t many other places you can go to work and then go lead worship.” 

Marrero, who is pursuing his Master of Divinity degree, said playing with Alexandre has helped him grow spiritually.

“She is one of those people that is so good and yet so genuine. It’s rare to come across that,” he said. “She has such a heart for the Lord.”

Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato said singing brought her close to God, even before she was a Christian. Her undergraduate degree is in vocal music education, and she has led worship at many churches.

“I love getting together with the other musicians on campus,” Barbato said. “There’s so much musical talent on our faculty and staff here.”

Photo 1: Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato, Chapel Praise Team Coordinator Jeanny Alexandre, Jenna Julien and Ethan Fant, on guitar, lead worship during summer chapel on June 27, 2019. Admissions counselor Jose Marrero plays the piano and sings.

Photo 2: Kellie Barbato raises her hands during worship rehearsal for summer chapel.

Photo 3: Director of Alumni Relations Steve Eshelman (on bass guitar), Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy Director of Community Engagment Jeff Snow (on cajon), Admissions Counselor Jose Marrero (on piano), Access Services Librarian Kellie Barbato, Chapel Praise Team Coordinator Jeanny Alexandre, Jenna Julien and Ethan Fant (on guitar) rehearse for a summer staff chapel worship on June 27, 2019.