By Elizabeth Hartmann & Ellie Tiemens | Echo
Eyes closed, hands outstretched, voices lifted in awe of a mighty God. A thousand breaths singing the same song at the same time, in the same place, to the same God. Taylor united in worship. Welcome to chapel.
For the 12 minutes at the beginning of chapel, the Taylor community praises God as led by one of six bands. These bands are made up of students with a heart for worship.
"We have four singers, but you'll probably see all of us up there singing at some point maybe not into a mic, but singing along with everyone," Junior Jonathan Knippenberg said.
Knippenburg's band is playing together for chapel for the first time this year.
Another band full of new members and fresh ideas is led by senior Caleb Harlan. Their goal is to grow closer as a band and God.
"It's our goal when our band leads worship to magnify the Lord, allowing Him to work through us - despite us," band member senior Abby Gonzalez said.
Sophomore David Va Bi Hnanga's band is made up of sophomores and he is excited for the diversity within his band and worshiping God through that.
Senior Lauren Vock's whole band is composed entirely of seniors who have been playing together since freshman year. Their close bond allows the group to challenge themselves musically and spiritually together.
"Our inspiration is to be really attentive to the Holy Spirit and what he wants for chapel as a whole," Vock said. "We want our worship to be authentic and we want it to be focused on God more than ourselves."
Senior Kristina Rivera's band is making it a priority to represent the diversity of the student body through changes like bilingual songs and different styles of worship.
Rivera is excited by the way different people work together creatively to prepare for chapel.
"So much time is spent preparing for each chapel," Rivera said. "Having a group of people … come together to create a space of worship gives me a beautiful glimpse of what heaven will be like."
Junior Thaddeus VanOverberghe's band has been together for three years. He has enjoyed seeing them grow and watching their hearts change.
He and his band are dedicated to unity within all the chapel bands and desire to present a attitude of servanthood through their worship.
"I like to see all of life as worship, so as much as I love coming together for chapel worship, I don't want to get to the place where we're idolizing the 12 minutes at the beginning of chapel as our worship for the day," VanOverberghe said. "I just want it to be an overflow of the life we're living."
He challenges people to set aside their personal preferences for musical tastes and styles and to attend chapel with the pure motivation to give God glory.
VanOverberghe suggests that although we can receive a lot of wonderful things during worship, the true purpose of worship is to give back to God.
Clifton Davis, a professor for the music department and coach to the chapel bands, affirms this approach to chapel. He references Kierkegaard in his belief that the worship leaders are prompting the congregation in their adoration for our audience which is God alone.
"There's something really special about being able to come together and make music," Gonzalez said. "I just think that puts a smile on (God's) face."