New chapel band takes the stage
September 26, 2018
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 9:10, chapel starts. At that time, the lights are turned off and hundreds of standing students are gathered in the school gym watching the stage as the first notes of a worship song roll over the crowd.
After two or three worship songs, the students and chapel band sit down to listen to a sermon before rushing from class to class for the rest of the day
For most students, the handful of songs at the start of chapel is all they will ever know about the band that makes the worship music possible.
Chapel worship leaders Daniel Morales and John Jordan both graduated last year which meant a new chapel band and worship leaders were needed coming into the Fall 2018 semester.
Some may recognize Jonathan Nah, a Hotchkiss sophomore and business major, as the frontman of Joe and the Kellers. This year he and several members of Joe and the Kellers took on the job of leading worship in chapel.
“There was not much of a carryover between Joe and the Kellers and chapel band,” Nah said. “Each member has to go through the same audition process.”
Ethan Gentry, also a Hotchkiss sophomore, plays bass guitar for both Joe and the Kellers and the new chapel band.
“We had to audition at the end of last year, so basically what that looked like was CJ Johnson and Daniel Morales led the auditions.”
There was a big shift from performing as Joe and the Kellers to leading worship.
“The difference between performing and leading worship is that you can fake it when you’re performing,” Nah said before pausing and elaborating. “The thing with worship is that your heart has to be prepared. It’s not about a show. It’s about drawing attention to the Lord.”
“As a band,” Gentry said, “we talk a lot about our motivation. We’re always trying to be in the right spot and not be self-glorifiers.”
“We get down there, get everything set up, and we run through all of our songs at least twice but usually three times,” Gentry said. “We usually go to breakfast afterwards as a band.”
“The mornings are the hardest part definitely. After a nap and a coffee though, I’m good,” Nah said. “It’s a small sacrifice in comparison to the ways it can bless other people.”
A lot of thought goes into choosing songs to practice and play. Nah primarily decides on songs to play.
“We try to choose songs that are familiar to people,” Nah said. “Of course, we look a the song content, and who it’s by. We try to choose songs that are rich theologically. I run them by Adam Ashoff to check. Songs are very powerful and they impact people in different ways. Choosing songs is probably the most important part of the process. The songs are what communicate different things. I try to choose ahead of
time as much as possible so it gives the band members time to prepare. We don’t want to just play music, but we want our hearts to be engaged with it.”
Reception to the new chapel band has been positive. Sophomore in Dixon and biblical counseling and exposition
major Alethia Brewer said, “I think this year’s song selections I prefer because there is more variety. I think last year the bands were a little more polished, but they were more experienced so it will be cool to see what this band will be like in the future.”
“I know more people personally on the chapel this year,” off-campus junior and communications major Moriah Pringle said. “It’s fun seeing people I know taking leadership roles in the Master’s community. They have good chemistry together as a band.”
The band plays a large role in chapel leading the student body to worship Jesus through song. Nah said, “The team consists of pretty different people but the fact that we’re able to come together and worship is awesome.”
“The fact that the Lord allows me to help others worship him is amazing,” Gentry said. “Every chance I get to take off my headphones on stage and just listen to the students sing and worship I take.”