OneVoice Gospel Choir offers a platform for students, faculty and staff to worship their Creator. The choir, which began 14 years ago, expresses the unity of the body of Christ.
“Everyone coming together from different backgrounds, cultures, denominations,” said OneVoice member Jordan Redfield, “it is a picture of what Heaven will be like when the church is unified.”
OneVoice musical director Ashlynn Kelly said the the unity of Christ connects all the unique people in the group.
Thomas Sweigard, an associate professor of education, said the group is one big unified community, where all are loved and accepted.
Kelly said, “We are still a family. We are still connected through the unity that music brings.”
The reason that the group is so diverse, Kelly said, is the fact that anyone is allowed to sing in the choir; no auditions are required. The only requirement is a desire to worship God. This simplicity is something Kelly said drew her to the group during her time as a student at Cedarville.
“You don’t have to be a singer,” Kelly said. “You don’t have to be able to sing.”
Sweigard said anyone can easily learn the songs, even those with no musical experience, because songs are learned through repetition.
“It is a very freeing worship experience to sing and praise God and to not worry about making a mistake or anything,” Sweigard said.
While singing is one of the avenues for worship in the group, it is not the only way that OneVoice worships God.
Choir member Ericka Kistler, a senior chemistry major, said that since she started in the group, she has learned that worship goes much deeper than singing.
“It is a great way to learn how other people worship God and stretch how you worship God,” she said. “I have found other ways (to)
express myself in worship, other than just singing.”
The group gets involved in other ministries with the hopes of expanding their ministry. Redfield, who plays the piano, said his most memorable experience as a member of OneVoice came while the group was doing inner city ministry in Denver during the spring break of his junior year. He said he was amazed by the doors that music had opened for him to pray with a homeless man he had just met.
To help the members grow in their faith, Kelly said she really focuses on finding the meaning in the lyrics.
She said she wants the members to understand there is a deeper meaning to the songs. Her fear, she said, is that people sing the words just because it’s a part of daily chapel services.
Redfield said, “It’s easy to forget that we are singing truth about scripture. What I love about OneVoice is that we talk about what the song means to us. It’s a lot more than just a song.”
The process of stopping to talk about the lyrics after running through the song several times is something Kelly said she finds important. She said to launch the conversation, she asks deep, meaning-based questions about what the songs tell of God, humans and the relationship between the two. This intentional focus on lyrics is something that Kistler said she appreciates, as she has always had this focus in her own life.
While most students feel that they are too busy to even contemplate joining another org, Redfield said he thinks that OneVoice is worth it. Redfield said he hasn’t heard anyone say they were angry for coming to practice.
Instead, Kistler said, you leave the practice room feeling rejuvenated, as the hour of worship provides an opportunity to de-stress.
Redfield said, “The practices provide a mental break. You are able to step back, refocus your energies and renew your spirit.”
Many orgs exist on campus to help students grow into better professionals, more involved athletes or more serious academics. But Kelly said OneVoice exists to make students better Christians, helping them to learn to take worship seriously and appreciate the words they loudly sing out.
Taylor Hobbs is a freshman psychology major and reporter for Cedars. She enjoys stereotypical Canadian things like saying “Eh” and watching hockey.