I Hope It’s Music
by Ellie Kindlund, Class of 2017
He called the audience to its feet, but this time the setting wasn’t Bross Gym.
Sam Hebert, in a T-shirt and jeans, stood at the edge of the ornate stage of the historic Mount Baker Theater with his acoustic guitar. Outside, his first merchandise sold in the hall beside the Kings Kaleidoscope table.
The Seattle-based 10-piece alternative rock band headlined the concert, a benefit for Skookum Kids, an organization aiding healthy transitions into foster care. The online concert ad promised, “Add newcomer, Sam Hebert, and this should be a show to remember!” It was his first show, but he isn’t new to playing before big crowds.
Hebert led chapel band during the 2015–16 school year before graduating from Master’s U in May. Six months later, he’s living and working in Bellingham, WA, opening for Kings Kaleidoscope, and releasing his first EP, “Waves,” on iTunes and Spotify.
He’s wanted to be a recording artist since he started playing guitar and writing songs at the age of ten.
When he came to Master’s U, Sam started as a vocal performance major, but he says that switching to communications actually inspired his music, allowing travel with Global Outreach (GO) and IBEX. One song, “Fly,” includes the line “from LAX to Tel Aviv,” referring to his semester in Israel.
Without the performance obligations of a music major, Sam was able to lead chapel band his senior year. He wanted to ensure chapel band engaged with the student body in worship. He believes the chapel band leader should lead spiritually, not just musically.
“My role was more to encourage, to build up, and lead through trying to be humble, lead through dependence on God,” Hebert says.
In reality, that meant managing early rehearsals before chapel, late band members, unexpected events to schedule in, and mistakes on stage. Sam admits he prepared to battle pride, but experienced greater humbling than he expected as he learned to trust God for the outcome.
Hebert also led a GO trip to London, doing kids’ theatre and sports camps. The team still talks about how his leadership made the trip. Team member Sabrina Michael said she admired his integrity and sees a big future for him.
“I am so thrilled he has the opportunity to pursue his passion and talent in music and I know that, because of the man he is, he will influence many not only with his songs but also his life,” she said.
Later that summer, at SLS retreat, Hebert overheard a conversation about an internship at Grace Church Bellingham where Master’s U alum Aaron Dickson (’09) currently serves on staff. “I might be interested in that!” Hebert joked. Michael O’Brien (’16) connected the two and suddenly Hebert had a post-grad plan.
Following the internship, Hebert returned to his hometown San Diego. On the day he left Bellingham, he recalls, “I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna be back here.” It wasn’t long before Dickson called about the Kings Kaleidoscope gig. Two other calls soon followed: an offer to work in Bellingham and another to record an album with singer-songwriter and producer Stephen Folden (‘07). All signs pointed north.
From sleepless nights of insecurity before his year leading chapel band, to a year and a half later when his musical dreams are becoming reality, dependence on God is always on Sam’s lips.