In January this year, we were blessed with six talented, music-loving students with a passion for sharing Christ and a musically enthusiastic staff. Under the leadership of Emmanuel and the guidance of God, we established a small choir and practiced faithfully almost every day during the one-month course. The end result was that we were able to film Eastward’s very first music video, “Crown Him”. (http://youtu.be/sGPv_UR776o) We began simply, using just one camera on a stabilizer and a lot of creativity. Praise God, the video has proved popular on YouTube with almost 4,000 views since it was published in February.
This testimony came from one of the local church members:
“I was not expecting any reaction from quietly watching this video clip whilst having my lunch in the staff kitchen one day at work but I was underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit.
There were a few young fellow workers having lunch at the same time and one of them asked what was I listening to which surprised me (in a delighted way) . Then came questions such as who are they, where do they come from and more importantly what are they singing about, what exactly are the words and what do they mean? Crown Him Lord of all?
Thank you God for this video clip being a wonderful witness...it may be only a small few minutes but I believe the Holy Spirit will use this video clip to Praise HIM.
Thank you Eastward singers” - Kathleen
From this humble beginning, we were inspired to continue along this new branch of ministry. We dream of a DVD, no, a whole series of DVDs that present God’s love, His kindness, His plan, to anyone who gets hold of them. If ‘the melody of praise is the atmosphere of heaven’, and nature is God’s great lesson book, what a powerful promise these gifts will bring when these two are melded together!
Following on from this, EMC staff, family, and a number of friends now meet each Wednesday night, forming the Eastward Choir. Everyone enjoys this time of fellowship, contemplating the goodness of God and developing the gifts He has bestowed upon us. We have so far been able to present our message in song twice publicly and we are looking forward to many other opportunities.
Our biggest music-related event this year, was the Music Camp in June. Thirty young people from up and down the east coast of Australia came together for two weeks of intensive musical instruction. During the first week we concentrated on music theory & practice, training our voices and learning three beautiful songs. Stephanie and Eman (aka Emmanuel) worked hard to teach four part harmonies and instrumental accompaniment. During the second week our make-shift ‘studio’ was constantly busy recording all the individual parts. Finally we departed for the most exciting activity - filming. The three songs were filmed over two days in three different locations. Some of the terrain we were traversing was a little difficult and we were sometimes cold but we were doing it for God and with the promise of the finished product always before us, we soldiered on!
Being a part of this music camp was inspiring. To see the young people, aged eight to twenty-three all getting involved together and working as a team was special to see. Together we laughed, despaired and tried again. Together we went through the ‘trial’ of having our voices recorded individually. Together we hiked and shivered and sung ourselves hoarse on the filming days and weeks later we smiled together as we enjoyed viewing the product of our hard work and determination.
Some of the comments that we received on the videos included:
“Beautiful! Fantastic composition and arrangement. Great work on the music and the video. Amen.” - Daniel
“Brilliantly sung, what a wonderful message in song. Praise God.” - Elijah
“Great job guys! What a beautiful promise we have been given. God is always with us! Looks great and sounds great. Really looking forward to seeing and hearing more. Keep up the good work! God Bless!” - Sarah
“Well done, enjoyed every minute of the presentation. Keep singing for the Lord.” - Michelle
The camp was also a wonderful growing experience for the participants both in their spiritual life and in life-skills. One of the young people, Shaya came to the camp on recommendation of her cousin, not really knowing why she did. Shaya had always steered shy of singing ‘up the front’, wasn’t confident of her voice and has never liked having photos taken of her, let alone video. At the music camp, along with everyone else she learned the songs, recorded, survived the filming and sung in the concert we presented at the end of camp. She thoroughly enjoyed it! “The singing, tramping through the bush and camaraderie was great!”
Plans are already being formed to repeat the camp next year.
Many thanks go to Andrew Thompson for being the driving force behind the camp, to Emmanuel for pulling it together, to Stephanie Fox for leading and conducting the group.
“Eastward Music Camp was a high experience! It was a privilege and blessing to work with such a fantastic group of committed and willing young musicians, who pulled together to form a very cohesive group. The camp not only produced a music video, giving young people an opportunity to experience rehearsals, recording and filming first hand, but it also embodied a strong sense of consciousness, patience and persistence. Throughout the camp, our hearts, minds and ears were drawn to strain and strive for the perfection of heaven’s harmony.”Stephanie Fox
Praise God for this opportunity to serve Him and share His love with the world.
You can browse our YouTube channel anytime by visiting: www.eastward.tv
- Katlyn Bailey, assistant director in Eastward Music