An unfamiliar worship band to much of the Cedarville community, Resonance gives students an opportunity to travel, gain experience and develop lasting relationships.
Roger O’Neel, assistant professor of worship and adviser for Resonance, said Resonance is the worship department’s touring team.
This year, Resonance has two bands: Resonance Blue and Resonance Gold. Resonance’s two bands are volunteer based and run as a part of the worship department. The bands essentially complement Rekindle, two all-female touring bands also a part of the worship department. Together, Resonance and Rekindle travel to various churches, camps and other events to minister through worship.
O’Neel said he has tried several different strategies during the three years that the bands have been in existence. The first year, the touring teams of both Resonance and Rekindle were comprised of seven teams, which he said was too many.
David Anderson, a three-year Resonance veteran and leader of Resonance Gold, said that in the first year, his team only traveled once because there were too many bands and not enough venues.
The second year, there were only enough students to do two bands ‒ one Resonance and one Rekindle. This third year, however, they have enough interest to do two teams for Resonance and two teams for Rekindle. O’Neel said this is a good fit.
“We’re beginning to have enough demands,” he said. “Even with four bands we’re keeping busy.”
The idea for Resonance was a result of the growth in the worship department. Also, O’Neel said he noticed that many worship majors did not get on Heartsong, the paid band that works with Christian Ministries. And that’s why he came up with Resonance and Rekindle.
“We wanted to give (students) an opportunity to play in a band if they didn’t make Heartsong,” he said.
Band members also get the opportunity to do some church relations work.
One of the Resonance Gold members and a bass guitarist, Jesse Roller, said, “We try to work as much with the pastor as we can and we try to adopt their culture.”
Anderson, a junior worship and vocal performance major, said he uses these opportunities to gain experience.
“There’s only so much you can learn about worship in a classroom setting. Experience is invaluable,” Anderson said. “To practice what we’re learning is a fantastic experience.”
Resonance also gives students the opportunity to learn about worship while ministering to people in that area.
“It’s a two-fold thing that our students get experience, but they also get to serve a local church,” O’Neel said, “and that’s where out heatbeat is … For us, it’s just a win-win situation.”
Anderson said, “It’s so hard to balance school and ministries you’re involved in, but with this I get to do both.”
Resonance gets to travel just like Rekindle and Heartsong. However, Resonance plays at different events than the other bands.
Since Heartsong attends large events, such as youth camps and retreats, Heartsong doesn’t have time to go to the local churches within a five hour radius of Cedarville. Resonance ministers to these churches.
“In a lot of ways we’re helping to pick up to slack with Heartsong,” O’Neel said, referring to the fact that Resonance visits venues that Heatsong isn’t able to play.
Also, because Rekindle is an all-girl band, it caters to events such as women’s conferences. But this leaves local church venues and events to Resonance.
Resonance band members typically travel three to four weekends per semester. Since they don’t get paid, they have to coordinate schedules in order to travel, but the students are many times willing to make sacrifices. For example, band members once gave up the first weekend of their spring break to travel.
“That’s some serious commitment,” O’Neel said.
O’Neel said each of the two Resonance bands develops a uniqueness.
“Each band develops it’s own personality,” he said. “We try not to cookie-cutter them.”
And that identity comes from the freedom that O’Neel gives to each band leader. Each band and band leader can pick their own songs.
Roller said, “We pick out songs specifically to glorify God in a creative way.”
O’Neel said he is intent on allowing their own personal style.
“We let them be creative with that,” he said.
On top of being a part of a ministry and gaining experience, Resonance offers a great place for interpersonal relationships and spiritual growth.
“I get to work with an incredible caliber of not just musician, but of person,” Anderson said.
Roller explained that his band mates are like brothers to him.
“Being brought together in unity to lift up God’s name with one voice really makes you guys brothers,” Roller said. “I really appreciate them.”
In a spiritual sense, band members have the opportunity to grow closer to God. Anderson said God has used Resonance to create incredible opportunities for him.
“We always start off the practice with praying for each other,” Anderson also said.
Roller said God used Resonance to show him humility.
“I used to be so focused on visuals (public appearance),” he said. “Being a part of this ministry has really humbled me.”
Roller said this humbling process was largely due to the fact that Resonance is not very well known.
“I don’t think Resonance is that well known, because we aren’t seen very often,” Roller said.
Though Resonance’s anonymity has helped Jesse, Resonance has to increase their visibility so people more people will join and venues can see what Resonance is like. That’s why O’Neel said one of his main focuses this year is to increase their visibility on campus. To do this, he’s updated their webpage, www.cedarville.edu/resonance, and posted things on social media and YouTube.
Anderson said, “If more people were aware of who we are, what we do, and the caliber of music that we play, I think a lot more people would be interested.”
Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a freshman music composition major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes to write music in nearly every genre and enjoys listening to new genres as well.