If you had told him when he was a first-year student that he would be spending his senior year at Holy Cross composing music, Matthew Pinder '20 — who had never composed before — would have had little faith in the idea. But through his experiences over the next few years — including a path-altering introduction to composition lessons his sophomore year and working with three influential mentors — Pinder, a music major in the College's Honors Program, would ultimately be named his graduating class' Fenwick Scholar, and would spend his entire senior year composing an original work of music for orchestra and soloists based on the Stations of the Cross.
"I chose the Stations of the Cross specifically because I think it has a powerful narrative that has amazing room for musical interpretation, and it has a narrative that I think can be translated very well into a musical development of a large-scale piece of music," Pinder explains. "I also chose it because it has an element of faith, which is important to me. I feel like it's an amazing culmination of my time at Holy Cross."
Every year, Holy Cross names a Fenwick Scholar—a student who spends the entirety of their senior year conducting independent research. It's the highest academic honor the College bestows on a student, and it involves rigorous work from the scholar — from designing and researching their course of study, to working closely with mentors, to executing their final project over the course of the year.
Having gone through the process, Pinder has a simpler way of looking back on his work: "I don’t think of the different aspects of the project as 'academic' or 'creative' parts. Rather, every part of the project was important to my search for how to best express the meaning and devotion of the Stations of the Cross through music."