On Jan. 9 of J-term, a new dynamic of individuals arose from the spotlight. Rather than its typical array of students, chapel was met with a group of Taylor’s staff. Featuring Nathan Rohwer (percussion), Dan Bowman (guitar/vocals), Nancy Dayton (vocals), Jim Garringer (guitar/vocals), Clifton Davis (piano) and Brent Gerig (bass guitar).
Although it is not completely uncommon for the staff to make an appearance during worship, this event was the first feature of a band led entirely by staff members.
Dr. Clifton Davis worked to piece the band together with colleagues that he met from various connections and conversations throughout his musical background.
“One of the things that Jon Cavanagh and I value is intergenerational worship so that it's not just 18- to 20-year-olds who are worshiping, but faculty, staff and students all worshiping together,” Davis said. “One of the ways you do that is just to have faculty and staff in the congregation sitting with the students. But another way is to have them lead, and this was just one of the times that we asked some faculty to lead.”
Throughout their performance, the band played an array of songs including “Amazing Grace,” “God of Wonders,” “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and “Revelation Song.”
When orchestrating the array of songs, the band went through careful consideration to create an intimate and thoughtful compilation of music.
“We need a song that everybody knows, and we also need a song that is more about God than about my feelings,” Davis said. “Often when I lead, I also pick a hymn because they aren’t done as much, and there are students who would appreciate that.”
While the performance was a special experience for the staff, students were also able to appreciate familiar faces leading onstage. Senior chapel band leader Dani Decker was able to reflect on the experience of watching her teachers and staff members take the stage.
“I think it’s a really cool opportunity,” Decker said. “It’s a different kind of appreciation to also get to see them lead aside from our usual bands.”
While the students were able to grow their appreciation for the hidden skills of their staff members, Jim Garringer also cultivated a further recognition of the helping hands behind the show.
“It was certainly different,” Garringer said. “You could definitely see why people get up there. It grew my appreciation, which was always my appreciation, for that program. For Jon Cavanagh, the sound and light people and for everyone that puts so much time and effort into every moment.”
The dynamic of the worship leaders featured different relationships than the average band. It was composed of relationships ranging from a former student and former teacher to a boss’s boss. Regardless, the leaders were able to unite under a common purpose — praising God.
“We were able to share that special moment when the students started to sing along,” Davis said. “It never gets old. It’s the most wonderful experience because there's nothing like thousands of people praising God together.”
Throughout the process of their performance, the staff chapel band was ultimately met not only with musical dynamics but also relational ones — taking the form of a crescendo toward the praising of the Lord.