Meet the Band – Nate Hansen

Nate is one of the most humble guys out there. He has this presence about him—the kind that makes you better if you are around it. I remember receiving an email from him (with perfect grammar, I may add… and you will understand why later) offering his musical services to the worship team. Nate plays several instruments, but I informed him that piano was a huge need for us. By devoting serious time and practice in developing his piano chops, Nate has blown us all away. There is an elegance to his playing that takes us where we want to go every Sunday. I hope you enjoy our chat.

Hi Nate. Or Dr. Hansen? Which do you prefer? 

How about this? If you’re my student, call me Dr. Hansen. If you’re not, call me Nate. 

Is it ever weird being a piano rocker by Sunday morning and professor by night? (or Monday morning). Or does it give you street cred with the UMHB’ers?

I don’t really think it’s weird, but that’s because music, writing, and books have been a part of my life from the time I was very young. One of my undergraduate majors was music performance, so I’m grateful to use that passion and educational background. I’d like to think that my involvement with the worship team allows my students and colleagues to see another facet of me.

Besides music, what else do you enjoy? I hear you wake up before the sunlight each morning to… run. Why do you hate yourself so much? 🙂 Also, word is you’re an accomplished poet—a Modern day renaissance man. Do tell.

I run 3-4 times a week. I would love to run every day, but my body won’t allow it. 

Yeah, I’m a poet and short-story writer, so basically, I like to spend my time with words, making things up. Last year a small press in Minnesota published my poetry chapbook. On my website there are links to several works I’ve published, and I post regularly there:


So, you’re good at guitar and piano. This brings us to the obvious hypothetical. You only have hands for 20 more hours. Not sure if they get chopped off, eaten off, or just fall off… but in 20 hours, YOU WON’T HAVE HANDS! Which instrument do you play for those twenty hours? Guitar OR piano?

Good question, Adam! This was as challenging, if not more so, than questions from my dissertation defense. Hmm. As much as I would miss cranking up my amp on the lead channel and playing for that long, I’m going to have to say piano. I can play more styles on the piano (with the exception of metal) than I can on guitar. 

You are a polite and kind guy. You have a doctorate. Thus, when guessing your favorite music to listen to… one might guess something subtle, or low key. Maybe Simon and Garfunkle. Maybe Kenny G. There are rumors however that you are a true rocker. I’m talking the heavy stuff! Can you clarify??

My last answer hints at some of my other musical tastes. Yes, I am a metal fan. Speed metal. Thrash metal. Progressive metal. Death metal. I saw In Flames and Opeth on a co-headlining tour in Dallas back in December. Man, was I sore after all those hours in the circle pit! Just kidding! As I get older I keep wondering when I’ll grow out of metal, but I like it even more than when was a freshman in college. Other than metal, I listen mainly to jazz, classical, and instrumental post-rock. I throw in some progressive rock, some alt. country, and a little mainstream (Coldplay, Switchfoot).

What do you enjoy most about leading our church in worship each Sunday? 

Most? Whew, it’s hard to narrow it to one thing, but I’m going to be sneaky and mention a few. I enjoy using my musical gifts in a way that (I hope) honors God and helps people enter into genuine worship. I work to play each song as best I can, striving to add to what everyone else in the band is doing. Also, I enjoy playing music with such talented, humble, godly folks. It’s a privilege that I don’t want to take for granite. (Sorry—I mean “granted”—I saw that phrase in a student paper once, though the phrase was not in a UMHB student’s paper).

Last question. We have clarified that you are an all-around talented guy. You have a great family and cute kids. What made you decide to bring your talents and your family to the Vista Community?

While still in Ohio and preparing to move here in the summer of 2012, we started looking online at different churches in the Temple-Belton area. Vista looked intriguing, and when we watched the videos of Austin’s series on God’s will, and when we discovered the strong focus on small groups, we knew that was the place to visit first. Amy was 35 weeks along with Estella when we arrived, and so after our first Sunday at Vista, we said, yep, this is where we’re going to be (even if the basketball hoops in the CTCS gym were a distraction for me at times, stirring up memories of me draining three-pointers). I’m glad I don’t have that distraction in our new building.

Bye, Nate.