SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Starting off as a recording artist and founding Evangel’s traveling musical ministry, Bonnie Jenkins has been a prominent figure in the Springfield community for decades.

In a corner office at Evangel’s Fine Arts building, the clock tower strikes a new hour. Bonnie Jenkins sits opposite a piano reflecting on noteworthy musical performances spanning continents and dating back decades.

“I was the original director of that and have directed it for all these years,” Jenkins said.

She began performing on recital stages and in churches across the country, founding “HeartSong” 30 years ago.

The traveling worship ensemble started at Central Bible College and moved with Bonnie to Evangel.

“We have been in all 50 states and overseas quite a few times,” Jenkins said.

“HeartSong” has produced 8 albums, climbing the iTunes charts. Her path to teaching music came naturally but it still took some convincing before Bonnie was ready to assume the role of mentor.

“I never wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t think I had the patience for students, but had the opportunity early on and found out that really is my passion,” Jenkins said.

“She’s a great wife, mom and grandma,” Doug Jenkins said.

Bonnie’s husband Doug nominated her for the Remarkable Women competition. He’s witnessed her impact on students first-hand.

“Over the course of many years in higher education, has really been a tremendous mentor to college students, hundreds, maybe thousands,” Doug said.

“It’s the joy of seeing students gain growth in so many areas, particularly music, worship and ministry. I’m just like a proud mama when I see them out doing their thing,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins also serves on a city oversight board.

Stories highlighting the other finalists will air throughout March.

We’ll announce the overall winner of KOLR10’s Remarkable Women contest on March 29.