Alumni Spotlight: Sandra McCracken ’95
McCracken is largely to thank for the addition of music to Chapel at Westminster. During her high school years, Sandra, along with classmates Tommy Halloran and Jesse Heirendt, wanted to add music to Chapel, so with the support of several faculty members, they took it upon themselves to do just that. Sandra recalls that Choir Director Kathy Eichelberger was especially supportive. The addition of worship and praise songs “really transformed the whole experience of Chapel,” Sandra said.
Sandra graduated from Belmont University in 1999 and released her first album as a singer-songwriter, The Crucible, in 2000.
She met her husband, Derek Webb, while playing from the small stage of a Nashville coffee shop. On a coffee run for his bandmates, Webb picked up her record and played it for the band, who then invited Sandra to join them on the road. She and Webb quickly discovered they were kindred spirits and were soon planning a future together—a future that now includes two small children, a recording studio in their backyard, and the non-stop adventure of touring as a family.
The couple has released 18 projects individually (10 for Webb, eight for Sandra) and one EP as a duo, Ampersand, in 2008. Reflecting upon their 10 years of marriage, Sandra and Webb are now taking an even more intimate look at the honest work of co-parenting, co-writing, co-recording, and co-performing, documenting their partnership on their latest collaborative album, TN EP.
Continuing their evolution as a duo from Ampersand, Webb and Sandra (who played all the instruments on the album) have seamlessly blended their artistic instincts to create an unflinchingly honest record that is markedly different from their solo work and unique to this collaboration.
“Homespun recording has come a long way,” Sandra says. “The fact that Derek and I have been able to make records in our backyard has created a space of total creative freedom. Derek is uninhibited as a producer and engineer. There are no filters between the spark of our initial ideas and the final recordings.”
TN EP includes five new, original McCracken/Webb compositions as well as two surprising cover songs, Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”.
Sandra McCracken returned to Westminster to perform a concert on October 14, 2011. More than 350 students, parents, alumni, and community members attended.