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Students sing, play during weekly gatherings

Every year, the worship team leads the students in weekly 20-minute sessions. And every year, the band bids farewell to the graduating seniors in May, but August welcomes newcomers to the team.

Fresno Christian Schools was founded in 1977, and some form of worship existed from the beginning. Since then, dozens of worship leaders led chapel.

Macie Thompson, ‘19, began leading worship in her sophomore year. She serves as a worship leader at her church, hoping to lead even more than she does now.

“Worship is the physical act that comes from your heart and mind,” Thompson said. “I love to sing and I love encouraging people, so I was like, ‘What better way than to go onto worship team?’ You shouldn’t be nervous when you sing or play because whatever comes out of your heart or your mouth or your hands, whatever happens, it’s your praise to God.”

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

New worship vocalist, Kaylie Clem, ’19, leads a Thursday worship chapel.

The bass guitar player for the worship band, Nathan Martins, ‘20, looked to join the tech team his sophomore year, but, upon finding it full, fulfilled the position of bass instead.

“My motives weren’t exactly correct last year,” Martins said. “It was more of, ‘I want to be on the tech team for me.’ But worship is when we approach God giving Him the glory. I really enjoy playing bass, and especially playing for God – that makes it all better.”

A newcomer on the worship team, sophomore Hannah Villines anticipates an exciting year in the band. Her brother, alumnus Tyler Villines, ’18, led from worship team his whole high school career, and his experience encouraged her to join this year. 

“Worship is having another communication with God,” Hannah said. “I want to be able to connect more people to God through my singing. When you’re in the midst of singing on stage and worshiping, it’s an unbelievable feeling that’s hard to forget.”

Daniel Garrison, commonly known as “G” to campus students, enjoys rock-climbing and, in the wintertime, snowboarding. He started learning the bass in 2000, and continued onto guitar in 2001. He began teaching the worship team five years ago and continues to this day.

“Music is a powerful thing because it can play on our emotions,” Garrison said. “It’s the spot I feel closest to God, and I feel like I can hear Him the clearest and interact with Him the clearest, because my mind is focused. Worship is giving praise to God, giving honor to God, through your actions.”

Seth Fuller and Brooklynn Anderson, both freshmen, provide an audience’s perspective of how they view worship chapel.

“It’s a cool experience,” Fuller said. “I get to worship God and feel His presence. The worship team does really well at everything like the voices and guitars.”

Anderson explains how she relishes chapel time every week. She herself leads on the worship team at her church.

“I enjoy how involved everyone is,” Anderson said. “They’re not just being blank-faced, or singing words that don’t matter. They really have expressions, and you can tell it matters to them.”

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Some students gather near the stage during chapels during September chapel.

Garrison rehearses with the worship team every Tuesday and Thursday in preparation for Thursday’s worship chapel. The team carefully runs through one song at a time, challenging one another to push beyond their musical limits. He went on to describe his goal for everyone who worships during chapel and for everyone who leads worship.

“I want to speak to Fresno Christian not just where it is, but challenge it and pull it forward. My challenge for people who aren’t into music or who aren’t into playing music is this: at the beginning of every chapel, try praying, ‘Lord, would you open my eyes to how you’re speaking to me right now.’ And it doesn’t matter if you don’t like to sing – you can still listen to how God is speaking to you, because He is.”

Before Garrison led, former IT director Dave Martens managed the worship and worship team. And many more led before him, passing their legacy to the next generation. Martens handed the baton to Garrison in 2013.

For another feature article, read Seniors share hopes, aspirations for final year of high school. Also, read Homeroom changes designed to build unity.

David Tuck can be reached via email.

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