You could hear the joyful noise spilling out of Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
Sarah Eyerly, assistant professor of music history at Butler University, was lecturing to an audience of about 50, and the audience was singing back.
Eyerly discussed the worship music of the Moravian Church, an 18th century utopian community.
After the lecture, Eyerly led a traditional Moravian “singing hour” or worship service. She asked the audience to play the role of the congregation, requiring them to sing in German.
To begin, Eyerly descended down the aisle wearing a stark, white wedding gown and floor-length veil.
Eight student performers followed, playing the role as the church choir.
Doug Johnson was one of the student performers. As a sophomore music education major, he said he was intrigued by this unique form of musical worship.
“We were performing while laying face down on the floor, which sounds weird, but I loved it,” he said.
Eyerly’s lecture was part of the semester-long Faculty Artist Series presented by the Butler University School of Music.
While on campus, Eyerly teaches the 17th and 18th century portions of Music History and a class in World History, among other things.
Johnson is a student of hers.
“You can tell she has a real passion for world music and everything she teaches,” he said.
Daniel Bolin, chair of Butler’s School of Music, said the series also provides an opportunity for faculty to present about the subjects their most passionate about, their research.
“Our research is different than other areas of academia,” Bolin said. “Other areas might write books. Our faculty does performance, that’s their way of presenting research.”
According to the program, Moravians used improvisational music to connect with God and with each other.
“It is a good demonstration of how music can create space and a sense of community,” Eyerly said.
Butler students value music for the same reason.
“Music is a great way to bring a community together,” Johnson said. “Just being with all these musical peers creates this bond that only JCFA students seem to understand.”