My GU Story: Daniel Garzaro

ED202B59-F3F2-4863-B667-6AD3C06D9406Q: Start by introducing yourself and telling us who you are, what you do, your major, and your enneagram type if you know it.

A: My name is Daniel Garzaro. I am from Guatemala, the beautiful country of the Eternal spring. I'm majoring in worship arts and music industry studies. I didn't know anything about the enneagram until I came to Greenville, but now I know about it because everyone talks about it. So, I’m a four on the enneagram. 

Q: What year are you?

A: I came in January of 2019, so I am in my third semester. I’m technically a sophomore. 

Q: How did you find out about Greenville? What led you here, and why did you choose to come here?

A: I knew I wanted to do music, especially worship music. That was not a career back home, music is not developed. So I was always thinking I would go to the states or another country, but it wasn’t until my junior year that a lot of universities from the states came to my high school to introduce themselves. I had to question each table, and one of them was Greenville. Mary Faith was there and Marlene Saravia. They were speaking about Greenville, and I was really interested in their program of worship arts. I researched, and I was like, “I’m really interested in this.” Since my junior year in high school, I knew I wanted to come to Greenville. 

Q: Did you have other schools you were looking at?

A: I kind of research a little bit because everyone told me to apply to a lot of universities. I researched others, but I wanted to come to Greenville. Everyone told me I needed a backup plan in case it didn’t work out, but I just wanted it to work out. 

Q: Is worship arts what drew you to Greenville? How did you know worship arts was the program you wanted to go into? 

A: Yes! I’ve always loved music and have been playing the guitar from a young age. I had experiences of people in the church, people that didn't know me. One time, a missionary from Taiwan came to my school, and she prayed for everyone, prayed for me, and told me, “You play guitar, right?” I didn’t even answer, I was just like, What?! You came from Taiwan, how did you know? And she was just like, “God is going to use your music and God is calling you to serve with music.” I already had the desire, but music is such a hard thing to pursue. All the people back home told me that music was not going to give me a stable, economic life. Maybe, I would have given up if I didn’t know for sure that it is what I’m called to do. 

Q: What have you been able to accomplish in the worship arts program? What do you like about the program?

A: I really like that Greenville is really open and diverse in their beliefs. The theology that you learn- they accept a lot of different beliefs and discussions, and I really like that. I also really like that it’s really strong in music. I really like the combination of really strong in music and really strong in theology too. You are prepared in both, and they give you a lot of practical experience. We learn a lot in class, but also we have a lot of opportunities. Like I had an opportunity in the fall semester to go to a prison in Vandalia to lead worship. That was an amazing experience, and I learned way more there than I would have from a book. 

Q: You are on Pursuit too, right?

A: Yeah! I was actually going to be on a team this summer, but then COVID happened. But maybe we are still going to go the last weeks of July. If they open. Nothing is for sure. 

Q: Greenville has a Free Methodist background, but to you, how do we keep that backbone but also accept other cultures, beliefs, and religions based on your experience?

A: In the theology or worship classes, I had classmates that had different backgrounds, and the professors are always trying to respect those backgrounds. They are not trying to impose their beliefs on the students. They are always listening to the students and saying, “Yeah, I get why you believe that, I believe this.” They are really open. They are not trying to teach a certain school of thought. 

Q: Do you feel like that is preparing you for your career in worship arts?

A: Yeah, for sure!

Q: How did Greenville meet or exceed your expectations coming in?

A: Many thoughts come to mind, but they definitely exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. The growth I was going to have was not something that I expected. A lot of growth has come from it. I never expected to learn as much as I have learned, to be exposed to as many types of thoughts I have, and that has made me grow way more than I expected to.

Q: How much of a role did the faith aspect play in your decision to come here? What role does faith play in your life?

A: Yeah, I was raised Christian, but it wasn't until I was twelve that I became a Christian by my own decision for my life. I knew I wanted to come to a Christian university. I didn’t want to go to a university that wasn’t Christian to learn about something that is to serve Christ. I feel like it took a lot of faith to come here, especially because I graduated in 2017 from high school. Our year back home is from January to October. We don't have seasons, but our time of vacation is from October to December, then we start in January. I graduated in October of 2017, and all of my classmates were already starting University in January 2018. They were like, “What are you going to do with your life?” and I'm like, “I want to go to Greenville, and I don't have any money to do that. I just have a dream.” They said, “Man, you need to have another plan. You need to do something real with your life.” I don't know why I just really want this. I wanted to go in January 2018 because that was when all of my other classmates were starting university, but I couldn't. I felt like I was behind everyone else. My next deadline was August 2018. I studied a lot for the SAT by myself with a book. I was applying for all the scholarships that I could. I sent a video for a music scholarship and did a lot of things. Even though I got good grades in high school, got a good grade on the SAT, and the university was supporting me in some way, it still wasn’t enough for my family to afford it in August. When August came, I couldn’t go. When my friends saw me in August, they said, ”I thought you were going to be in the USA, now you need to do something real with your life. What are you doing?” I was like, “I’m going to Greenville in January of 2019.” They thought I needed a plan B. I was disappointed in that moment, but I just kept trying. I was reaching out to people that I knew asking them to support me, but I didn’t have any good responses. It wasn’t until November that someone reached out to my parents saying they wanted to support me. It was so close. It was November, and January was coming right around the corner, and I thought I was not going again. But no, I was going. So, I came in 2019. Seniors graduated in September of 2018. So from then until November of 2019, I was in the air. 

Q: What is your dream after graduating, and how do you feel like Greenville is preparing you for that?

A: I have two dreams. One of them is to lead worship at a church, so I feel like the worship arts program is really preparing me for that with music, theology, and practical experience. I also love to write my own music about life and experience. So I want to write and record my own music, and I feel that the MIS program is preparing me for that too. When I came here, my main thing was guitar, and that’s what I wanted to be a guitar player in a worship band. But now, I have exposure to recording and a lot of different things. Now, I’m getting into production, and I’m really interested in that. I get to be in the studio and record my own music. The first semester that I came, I was put into a class called project and music industry. In that class, they put producers, audio engineers, and artists together. They asked me which one I was, and I said, “I am definitely not an audio engineer or producer, I don’t know anything about that. I’m going to be an artist. I actually like to write and make my own songs. So that first semester, I had to finish writing and recording, with the help of the producer and audio engineer, three songs. After the first semester, I visited home and had three songs produced. I honestly never expected to have my own songs that soon, so it was really exciting. 

Q: Do you have songs on Spotify or something where people can listen to them?

A: I don’t have my own Spotify account yet because I want to keep working on them and make them even better. I am planning maybe next year. I’m thinking about that. 

Q: What’s the best thing about Greenville? 

A: That’s hard, just one thing. I would say the desire of the professors and faculty to really invest. They believe in you and that you have a calling from God, and they want to prepare you as much as they can. They also try to have a relationship with you and know you and help you in the best way possible, knowing that you were uniquely made. I love that thing that Greenville says, uniquely made to shape the world. I do believe that the professors believe that, and that’s why they invest so much in the students and stuff, and they want you to have practical experiences the first semester like recording your own songs. It’s because the faculty has a desire to prepare you for your calling. 

Q: Do you have a strong relationship with a certain professor that you can describe? 

A: I feel that, with most of my professors, I really appreciate each one of them. For example, Paul Sunderland has been someone who has inspired me a lot. He is a worship professor, and he has really taught me a lot of things. I had the opportunity to stay at his house last spring break. I was not going to pay for a flight back home for one week. I need someone to open their house for me, and he opened his house for me and let me know him in a personal way, and that has also shaped me a lot. 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being in college?

A: About this season, I really like that you are starting to invest in your dreams and start seeing the first things like oh, my first song is recorded. But also you don’t have a lot of- like if you make a mistake, it’s not like you’re going to get fired. You start doing things that you want to do for your life without the risk of getting fired or a lot of pressure. I really like this season because of that. 

Q: What is your advice for high school students as they look at and start college?

A: I would advise that, at least in my experience, I needed to know what I wanted to do, my calling and what I want to get prepared in, and then choose a career. That really helped me because I knew that I wanted to be prepared in theology and in musical things. Greenville is really good for that, as I researched other universities. It was because I knew for sure what I wanted to do. 

Q: Did that time off help solidify that decision to do worship arts? 

A: Oh yeah! I’m so thankful for that whole year. I don’t think I was ready for everything that was coming. Leaving my home comes with challenges, and I was not ready, so that year helped me a lot. I didn’t even choose it! I wanted to start right away. 

Q: Thank you for being on the podcast!

A: Thank you for inviting me!