It’s one thing for a musician to hear an orchestra; it’s an entirely different thing for a musician to record with one. But that’s exactly what Jared Schwartz (’04) did in May when he recorded his album “Hope” with members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

“It was a surreal experience to hear the music coming to life for the first time and being performed by such top-notch players,” says Schwartz about the recording session.

“Hope” came about when Schwartz began to lose faith in his own music. “After spending the summer in Austria in 2008 singing and performing classical music, I returned home burnt out on music,” he says. “I found myself unable to  reconcile the great amount of time required to produce an art form that so few people understood, and walked away from performing.”

But when Schwartz was asked to sing at the funeral of a stillborn baby, he witnessed the family’s faith after he sang the same hymn that the baby’s mother had sung to cope with the tragedy. “For the first time in a long time, singing made sense,” says Schwartz. “No longer was it some exercise in technique or some virtuosic challenge; for these people my song was a small glimmer of light in a dark time that defied simple explanations … The music had a true purpose: to encourage, to give hope in the darkest of times.”

And so, keeping that purpose in mind, Schwartz began writing — and eventually recording.

“Going from writing songs to recording an album was a huge step of faith,” says Schwartz. “Very rarely do we get to know what is in store or what we should do, but this was something I felt called to do, and I am overwhelmed at how God is speaking to those that hear this music and are encouraged.”

Schwartz plans to do another original album and he also eventually wants to record a Christmas album of original songs and arrangements. “I have this powerful arrangement of “O Holy Night” in my head that I would love to sing with an orchestra.” For more information about the album, visit

Watch the video below from Schwartz’s YouTube page – this was the first of four video updates he gave in the midst of the recording process. Here explains a bit about the recording process: