Guitarist bridges music and spirituality

God should not be seen as an artist but as the ultimate creator, Chipper Via, junior general music major, said. To him, art is a model of God’s creation and Via’s best method for modeling that art is through music.

“When I play music I’m creating, and I’m making something that is my own and that comes to me through, usually, some form of spirituality,” Via said.

Not only is music a method of modelling and crafting God’s creation, it is an avenue for intimate conversation with God. The moments strumming or picking complex scales and songs on his guitar draw Via closer to God.

“I think that music is a spiritual gift. I think it is a way of communication. The way I communicate with God, the way God communicates with me. It’s conversation,” Via said. “If I’m not using that to my best ability, then I don’t think I’m connecting to God the way I can.”

At five years old, Via took up piano, which he quit after a year in favor of drums. Even at a young age, Via worked hard and showed natural talent. For the instrument. For his tenth birthday, Via received a guitar as a gift from his mother, took cheap lessons and fell in love with the instrument.

Via recalls wanting to compete in his fifth grade talent show, teaching himself the solo from “Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I did a decent job at it and I had a lot of fun and so I was like, ‘I need to keep this up,’” Via said.

As Via grew in age and became more skilled with the guitar, he accumulated guitar gear to experiment with new sounds and create challenges for himself. It was his passion for the guitar’s technological side and his creative determination that drove Via to diligently practice and grow in his skills.

“I never wanted to be the kid with a lot of gear and didn’t have anything to show for it,” Via said.

Among his friends, Via would create friendly and fun competition, challenging himself to improve in areas where they excelled.

Elliot Jones, a freshman graphic design major and one of Chipper’s close friends, recently formed a band with Via. He looks up to Via for his dedication to practice.

“He’s really sensitive, in a musical sense, to what a song needs. Whether it’s the style, or how much he needs, or how much he is supposed to play. He is able to adapt to different styles pretty easily,” Jones said.

Likewise, Trevor Magness, junior Christian ministry and formation major and close friend of Via, believes he is one of the most talented guitar players he knows.

“He has a strict regime to how much he practices, and he cares about that a lot and he sticks to it, and as an effect, he is really talented,” Magness said.