‘It brings warmth to my soul’: MU freshman finds his voice with the Veritas music team

Joining the Veritas campus ministry as a singer is a dream come true for MU freshman Peter Mallon.

Soon to perform live on stage, MU freshman Peter Mallon is set to fulfill a childhood dream.

Mallon, who has aspired to be a part of a contemporary music group at a church since middle school, recently learned that he was chosen to join the Veritas campus ministry’s worship team as a singer. His first live performance with the group will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday inside The Crossing church.

Mallon hoped to be a part of a contemporary church band himself ever since he saw one perform live for the first time in middle school. When Mallon, a devoted Christian, learned that he was accepted into Veritas’ music team, he was ecstatic.

“I may or may not have let out a loud ‘yes’ in my dorm and maybe disturbed some other people,” Mallon said. “It made my whole day. I don’t think I stopped smiling for more than five minutes at a time for the rest of the day. So, it was an extremely happy moment, but at the same time I knew now I’m a part of this, now it’s time to get to work.”

Developing Voice and Faith

Mallon began singing at five years old, though he did not start to perform in public until he was seven. He explained that singing, especially on a stage, makes him feel at home no matter where he is.

“Most of the time, it’s out of joy, it’s out of happiness and it brings warmth to my soul,” Mallon said. “But there are times where I’m angry or upset or just sad, and I’ll listen to a song or start singing. And it will bring a sense of hope and a sense of comfort that I needed in that time.”

More than anything, Mallon said, singing is therapeutic for him and has helped him through many difficult situations in life.

“Singing is just something that I need to do in order to feel happy,” he said. “We all need that, especially in a time like this.”

Mallon’s parents, who were both vocalists while attending MU, helped nurture his interest in singing as a child. Mallon said his parents are role models, but he found additional mentorship with his choir director and voice teacher back home in Liberty.

Mallon’s voice teacher, Bryan Taylor, has been a mentor for him the past seven years. In addition to serving as the director of traditional worship and arts at the Liberty United Methodist Church, Taylor has been singing with the Grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale for nearly 30 years.

Taylor, who met with Mallon for weekly lessons, recognized Mallon’s passion for working at his highest level, both inside and outside of their time together.

“What I found in music, as well as the rest of his studies, he always went beyond where we were working,” Taylor said. “If we were doing one song, he would find two or three that he liked, or if it was in ear training, he loved to learn how to sight read — he was just always a go-getter.”

Even Taylor noticed the comfort that Mallon found with music.

“He loved to be in front of people, singing,” Taylor said. “He was least nervous, I think, when he was in front of a music stand. Even at Christmas Eve, he sang many Christmas Eves with 500 people, and it didn’t bother him.”

Mallon found opportunities to sing in public once he entered elementary and middle school, like leading his church in hymns and taking on roles in musicals.

High school was when his musical success truly took off, Mallon said. He joined his school’s choir and was later accepted into all-districts four times and all-state once. Mallon also received the Fine Arts Member of the Month award from his high school among many other recognitions.

Mallon’s primary goal for singing has nothing to do with the awards, however. He said his religious faith is the sole aspect of why he sings and that God has given him this gift to share with others, which he thinks joining the Veritas worship team allows him to do.

“By doing that, I can open people’s eyes and point people’s eyes to Jesus and give them a sense of comfort, a sense of hope, a sense of restoration, if you will,” Mallon said. “There’s nothing like singing in a church with hundreds of different people that share the same goal that you do in your singing. We’re all there to glorify God. We’re all there to have some fun. We’re all there to make some amazing music and change people’s lives for the better.”

Joining Veritas

Hoping to stay dedicated to his faith, Mallon looked to join a campus ministry upon arriving at college in Columbia. Because his father recommended The Crossing, Mallon knew where to start.

His search did not last long. After his first campus ministry experience, Mallon looked no further.

“I went to one Veritas meeting and I said, ‘I’m not leaving,’” Mallon said. “I felt so at home. I met a bunch of great guys there, and the first time I heard the music team at that service that evening, I said, ‘I want to be a part of that.’”

As soon as he came to that realization, Mallon reached out to Veritas so that he could find out how to join the worship team as a singer. Veritas then invited him to send in audition videos and fill out the online application form. Mallon was later offered an in-person audition so they could see how he fit in with the musical group.

The audition process itself did not scare him at all, not only because he had been through similar experiences throughout his singing career, but because he said that the training he received from his mentors had helped prepare him for this moment.

The only aspect that concerned him was that before his Veritas audition, Mallon had to memorize three songs within a span of 30 hours.

“I was walking around campus and my dorm constantly with my earbuds in, going through the song over and over, but other than that, the audition — I won’t say it was easy — but I definitely felt prepared and not scared at all.”

Now that Mallon has a place in the Veritas team, he believes that he has an enormous responsibility: show up every day, prepared and willing to give all he has during the performance.

“Nothing is forced on that stage,” Mallon said. “Whenever you see me sing, I’m giving 100% every single time. And that would not be respectful if I was to step foot on that stage and not give everything I have. It wouldn’t be respectful to the team that I’m a part of, it wouldn’t set a good example for those who I’m singing toward. My responsibility, simply put, is to give 100% and to point people toward Christ through my music.”

Mallon’s dedication to his faith has not gone unnoticed by his peers. MU freshman Cory Arnett, who met Mallon through their shared Veritas small group that meets on Thursdays, noted Mallon’s knowledge of scripture and avid participation in lessons.

“He’s just very devoted, and he doesn’t act like he’s better than everyone,” Arnett said. “He wants to meet new people, he wants to grow with new people. That was the major thing he said last Thursday was he wants to grow with a community of people, and whatever it takes, that’s what he’ll do.”

Continuing with Music

In addition to his long dedication to music, Mallon is currently studying chemistry at MU in hopes of going to medical school.

“The primary reason why I want to be in the medical field is because I love to help people and want to give back in some capacity that way,” Mallon said.

He acknowledged it can be difficult to find ways in which medicine and music can cross paths. He pointed out, though, that research has indicated that people who are involved with music and fine arts often perform better in math and science.

Mallon also thinks that by being a musician in the medical field, he can bring potential comfort and hope to those he may be caring for.

“Especially if I see patients and people in the medical community who are hurting, and whatever case that may be, it’s an opportunity to bring them some comfort, some hope,” Mallon said. “And it’s an escape for me to just kick back a little and just release all my energy through music.”

Mallon said that music has been an integral piece of his identity, and, he thinks, it always will be.

Edited by Lucy Caile|lcaile@themaneater.com

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