After 27 years of working at Baylor University as a Senior Lecturer in Music Theory, Dr. Claybrook was ready for a new challenge. As the director of Providence’s Logic and Rhetoric School choirs and also as a Rhetoric school English teacher, Dr. Claybrook is delighted to be in front of a classroom again. He has found the Providence community to be a great fit for him. “Hands down, the sense of community throughout the entire school is my favorite part of teaching at PPS,” he says. “Providence is an overwhelmingly positive environment in every way—spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically—and it is a treat to be on campus with such energetic students, faculty, and staff.”
Dr. Claybrook also appreciates the healthy involvement of Providence parents, who provide invaluable support by encouraging and guiding their students to excel in their schoolwork. “It’s gratifying to teach where students never “cut class” or fail to complete assignments—an all-too-common occurrence in university classes,” he adds.
Though new to teaching English, Dr. Claybrook has discovered over the last few years of teaching Rhetoric School English at Providence that he thoroughly enjoys creative writing—especially poetry—and helping students who protest that they “have no ability to write poetry” discover that, in fact, they do. “For me, I have learned that writing poetry is one of the primary ways that we make sense out of our experiences in life, for a poem calls us to stop for a moment and consider the deeper significance of anything that crosses our paths,” Dr. Claybrook explains. “And as a Christian, I believe scholarship is incomplete if it stops short of considering how what we are studying connects with the truths of our faith. I’ve always been aware of the importance of integrating faith and learning, and am excited about helping students develop a Christian worldview as they read and discuss great literature.”
Besides teaching English, Dr. Claybrook thoroughly enjoys directing both the Logic and Rhetoric School choirs at Providence. Dr. Claybrook has over 40 years of experience directing choirs; in addition to community and church choirs, he directed the Baylor Women’s Choir for three years. He is a published choral music composer, and his compositions have been performed numerous times by church, high school, and college choirs. “I enjoy seeing how much progress students can make as they learn to use their voices properly and discover the joy of singing beautiful music with their peers,” he says.
Also an accomplished pianist and composer, Dr. Claybrook is passionate about Providence’s mission to expose students to excellent church music that perhaps they have not encountered in their own churches. He has discovered that directing chapel music at Providence is a great inspiration for him as a composer. “I love to set Scripture to music, and found it incredibly gratifying to hear students sing the songs I wrote for them—especially the setting of “the armor of God” portion of Ephesians.”
Few experiences we share as Christians top the combination of Christian truth expressed in beautiful poetry and sung together to a solid, well-harmonized tune. And as Dr. Claybrook says, “May God hasten the day when the entire school body of Providence can gather together again to raise our voices to the praise and glory of God!”