Campus Choir releases new album, gives updated presence to church choral sounds
Campus Choir is one of Lee University’s singing groups that travel together to lead different congregations in worship. This time around, they decided to create an album that other churches can listen to and use as a guide for their own worship.
Pastor Jimmy Phillips, Campus Choir's director for 11 years running, has worked for six months with his students and the producers for this album.
“We started in April with the band and put the choir in the first or second week of May, right after graduation,” Phillips said. “And then we would put on solos; then we added the last bit of orchestrations. After editing all of that, it had been about a six-month process. It was recorded here at a studio called Dwelling Place. It was a beautiful and professional studio; we were so grateful to be able to work there.”
The new album, titled “Relentless,” features 11 original worship songs as well as some classic church songs with choral arrangements that Phillips hopes churches all around will use for their choirs.
“The first motive of this album is ministry, to put this music out as a tool of ministry and evangelism, and a worship CD in hopes that church choirs can use this as a source for choral worship. It is something that nowadays is diminishing,” Phillips said. “But there are still a lot of people out there that have a lot of great choirs. I was a church choir leader for 40 years and I know how hard it is to find church choir music, so I hope that this album is something that other churches can use and benefit from. That is the design of this album. This album is entirely our people, our kids, our students—it's 100% their project, which is pretty cool.”
Nick Lewkowski, Campus Choir's band director, believes the future of Campus Choir lies in being able to bridge the gap between choir music and more contemporary music.
“When I first got in, I was a freshman. We did a lot more choir pieces. Nowadays people are a lot more into the worship team-type sound, like a lot of CCM music,” Lewkowski said. “The choir parts are something that Pastor Jim has to literally compose and create on his own. That's something that's really cool that he does. I would like to see those two types of Christian music mixed together a little more. Being able to do church music that most people enjoy, plus a little bit of choir music…[is] the perfect mix…where Campus Choir is heading, as well as the purpose behind this album.”
Lewkowski believes that this project is a perfect example of how far the group has come, and he is proud of where they are at.
“This album shows people who we are right now and what we look like together. I would like to see those two types of Christian music [contemporary and choir] mixed together a little more,” Lewkowski said.
Bailey Penrose, a sophomore, said she feels that recording this album was one of the most unique experiences she has ever had. It served to shape her relationships with everyone involved in the Campus Choir ministry in a positive way.
“This was my first time recording in a studio, and it was great. Hours and hours of repetition and tweaking took place but we wanted it to be perfect for listeners; it was something we all would be so proud to have our names behind,” Penrose said. “Hearing the album now and how all the different harmonies and parts come together really means a lot. Given the opportunity, I would love to do something like this again. Campus Choir is an amazing ministry to be a part of and I know it was very special for everyone of us to be able to make the album.”