La Sierra University welcomes Pastor Jason Decena to the Office of Spiritual Life and Andrew Bain—principal horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic—to the Department of Music. Pastor Decena has been serving as our campus chaplain since July 2020, and Mr. Bain is the newest member of the music faculty as of September 2020.
What excites you most about your field?
Jason Decena: I love working with students at this key moment in their journeys. They are in the thick of making many consequential decisions regarding their careers, relationships, and faith. It’s incredible to bear witness to the incredible development and sometimes complete transformation that they may experience during this pivotal time.
What motivated you to choose your career?
Andrew Bain: I loved the sound of the French horn as a child and as I studied, realized that in the orchestra, movies, solo and chamber music it was able to move and inspire people.
What’s your most memorable experience since becoming a pastor?
Jason Decena: It dovetails with being a parent. Last year, my oldest son decided to get baptized. It’s an amazing privilege to be a steward over your child’s young life since birth and watch them become the young adult that they are meant to become. He still has miles to go, but his decision to get baptized was unforgettable. Recently, my youngest son has expressed his own desire to get baptized, so I can’t wait to baptize him out here, soon.
What has been your most unique experience since becoming a professional musician?
Andrew Bain: Touring throughout India with the Zubin Mehta and the Australian World Orchestra in 2015, followed by a vacation with my wife to her hometown of Baroda. An amazing and inspiring trip. The wonderful thing about music is that it is a universal language and that can be shared it people all over the world.
What makes being a chaplain at La Sierra special for you?
Jason Decena: This is such a special school. My wife and I grew up in the area and attended Orangewood Adventist Academy, so we are quite familiar with the campus, having visited frequently for music festivals and sports tournaments. Both sets of parents live in the area, so it’s been a huge blessing to live close to them. However, familiarity aside, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the faculty, staff, administration, and, of course, students at La Sierra. We are a creative, resilient community who are committed to engaging in conversations that may be difficult at times, but help us all to move forward. It is a privilege to serve alongside such incredible people.
If you could have a hand in a musical score for any film, what would it be?
Andrew Bain: I grew up loving John Williams’ music and in particular the Star Wars films. I always dreamed of playing on a movie scored by John and that dream came true when I played Principal Horn on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the subsequent 2 Star Wars films. Such spectacular music and an incredible thrill to work with the greatest film composer in history.
What’s something about you that might surprise people?
Jason Decena: I really love jazz fusion. It is an esoteric genre of music that is definitely an acquired taste. Also, I always listen for the bassline. Bass is the place.
What is something you have learned from your students at La Sierra?
Andrew Bain: La Sierra students are committed, driven, and focused on their goals. They are hard working, always prepare thoroughly and are also wonderfully kind and thoughtful people who are a pleasure to work with.
What advice would you like to give your past self?
Jason Decena: “Chill, dude.” So many events seemed like the end of the world back then. They weren’t. If I had the benefit of hindsight, I definitely would have slowed down more and not been as reactive as I was.
What’s something about you that people may not know?
Andrew Bain: I grew up in Australia and have studied and worked in Austria and Germany before returning to Australia. I moved to Los Angeles in 2011. Before COVID, each year I performed and taught in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
If you could take a spontaneous vacation, where would you visit?
Jason Decena: Probably where we just moved from: the East Coast. It was difficult to say goodbye to our old community during the pandemic, and there are a ton of our favorite restaurants that we would have loved to visit before we abruptly left. However, baseball season is starting back up, so a trip to Camelback Ranch to see the Dodgers in Glendale, AZ would be super fun.
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Andrew Bain: Driven. Australian. Invested. Musician. Family.