Arkansas Baptist News
HARRISON – “Ladies and gentlemen.”
My heart is racing.
“At this time we ask that you please rise and remove your caps.”
I cannot believe what’s about to happen.
“Please direct your attention to the field as we honor the United States of America and pay tribute to our
veterans in active duty and retired men and women of our armed forces.”
I get into position.
“The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs invite you to join in the playing of our National Anthem. Performed by Jordan Whitmer.”
The stadium stood still, waiting for me to make the
These are the words penned by high school student Jordan Whitmer in a short story he wrote about his experience playing the national anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013.
“I have a dream,” writes Whitmer, who attends Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Harrison. “This is a rather large dream. Something that not everybody gets to accomplish in their lifetime. I want to play in the big leagues.”
Whitmer goes on to chronicle how that dream came true on July 23, 2013, at Chase Field in Arizona as – for the first time ever – he played the national anthem on his trumpet for a major league baseball team.
Now 16 years old and a junior at Harrison High School, Whitmer has gone on to achieve this dream several times over, playing this year for the Kansas City Royals, the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros.
His musical journey started at age 4, as he learned to play piano. He also sang in children’s choir and grew to love music. He eventually transitioned from piano to trumpet, playing at his first minor league game at age 11.
But his hopes go far beyond playing in the big leagues. He also seeks to use his music to glorify God, and one way he does this is through a music ministry he shares with his father, Rick Whitmer, who also attends Eagle Heights. Rick Whitmer is senior director of mobilization at Ron Hutchcraft Ministries in Harrison.
The father/son pair combines their musical skills – Jordan Whitmer on trumpet and his father on piano – as they play at local churches. They call their duo “Trumpiano.”
Rick Whitmer has a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and said he has played piano his whole life. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children: Jordan, Blake and Jenna.
“As my oldest son began to get better and better on the trumpet, it didn’t take long to figure out that we could play together,” he said.
They began playing on occasion for the evening church offertory and morning church service when Jordan Whitmer was about 11 years old.
“Eventually, opportunities started to come for us to share our music at other churches in our area – and a music ministry was born!” Rick Whitmer said.
Vickie Green, church administrator at Eagle Heights, noted the duo “have a positive attitude and a desire to use their talent.”
“They seem to enjoy playing and using their gift/talent in this way,” she said.
“Playing with my dad is really fun right now,” said Jordan Whitmer. “Putting my trumpet talent and his piano gift together to form a team is such a fun experience!”
They have played at First Baptist Church, Yellville; Shiloh Baptist Church, Harrison, and First Baptist Church, Green Forest, among others.
“My favorite aspect from the Trumpiano ministry is just being able to be used by God to lead in worship,” said Jordan Whitmer. “I love the deep moving moments that our music can bring.”
Rick Whitmer said one of his favorite aspects of the Trumpiano ministry is his and his son’s ability to encourage people.
“So often, adults are discouraged about the state of today’s young people,” Rick Whitmer said. “We love to be able to share with them that there are teenagers that have a passionate heart for God, who want to make a difference for Him. We love to hear the response when people find out that Jordan started a Bible study in his public school and that he is willing to stand strong for Jesus despite all the cultural pressure to do otherwise.”
“Plus,” he added. “We just enjoy music.”
He commented on what it means to him to be able to minister with his son.
“I am passionate about raising kids with a heart for God,” he said. “Sharing music together is a powerful way to use our gifts to impact other people with the hope of Jesus.”
But their ministry has not been without its challenges. In 2013, Jordan Whitmer experienced a setback. He began experiencing pain when playing his trumpet, which prevented him from performing for a time.
“We prayed, and released all of this to God – and He gave back Jordan his talent at an entirely new level of impact,” Rick Whitmer said. “We know we serve a big God, who is faithful to those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him.”
Through the years, Jordan Whitmer has not only played in church and at both major and minor league games, including an Arkansas Travelers game, but also he has played at school performances, on TV and at other events. In addition to playing trumpet, he sings in his school choir. Jordan Whitmer is a leader in nonmusical ways as well. Along with starting a school Bible study, he has helped lead See You at the Pole prayer gatherings since third grade. Recently, he spoke at the local Kiwanis International service club.
He desires to continue using his music for God’s glory.
“I hope to continue developing my trumpet and vocal talents in high school, during college and throughout the rest of my life,” he explained, “not necessarily as a career, but as a tool that I can use to help do whatever God wants me to do in helping Him further the kingdom. In the meantime, I want to keep touching lives with this neat Trumpiano ministry that I share with my dad.”
For more information on the Trumpiano ministry, visit trumpiano.com.
Contact Jessica Vanderpool at email@example.com.