When students show up for their first convocation service of the semester on Aug. 20, they will be greeted by the sounds of the Campus Praise Band leading Liberty University’s largest-ever student body in a special time of worship.
The worship part of the services (held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Vines Center) has become a favorite time for students as the full band — from vocals to guitars, keyboards, drums and violin — leads them in some familiar contemporary tunes, with new and sometimes original songs sprinkled in.
“I’d say we do a pretty wide variety of music,” says senior Kyle Cummings, a drummer and one of two returning band members. “We’ve got music for pretty much anybody. It’s a good thing for our campus of 11,000 people, to try and reach, stylistically, the needs of a diverse group of people.”
In addition to convocation services, the band also leads worship for Campus Church services on Sunday mornings in the Vines Center and on Wednesday nights in the Thomas Road Baptist Church sanctuary. They also play for any special services on campus, such as Spiritual Emphasis Week, and occasionally Sunday nights at TRBC.
With five new members, including two females on vocals, the band will have a different sound than last year, said campus worship pastor David McKinney Jr., who leads the group on keyboards.
But the goals, he said, remain the same.
“The first one is to lead the faculty, staff and students of Liberty University in a corporate worship service on a weekly basis. The second is to strengthen, encourage and comfort the faculty, students and staff on an individual basis,” he said. “So it’s not just what we do on stage, but it’s using the influence the Lord has given us because we’re on stage and using that to minister to this incredible body of believers here on an individual basis as well.”
Band members returned to campus early for “training camp” and will be rehearsing this week and next.
“Because there’s five new people on the team, we have a repertoire of about 100 songs that they have to learn first and then we can get to new stuff,” McKinney said. “We’re here 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. just playing songs all day long.”
Senior Justin Kintzel, on vocals and acoustic guitar, said he’s excited about this upcoming semester.
“I’m very excited to be on the campus band, mainly because I’ve known for most of my life that I’m supposed to lead worship … I feel like I’m in God’s calling and I’m excited to get to know the students a little bit more and see the campus and the students and just this university really grow … to worship the Lord.”
*This year’s Campus Praise Band members are:
Wes Cole – senior, violin
Kyle Cummings – senior, drums
Justin Kintzel – senior, acoustic guitar/vocals
Sarah Kinas – sophomore, vocals
Lindsey Lunsford – senior, vocals
Zech Rowe – sophomore, bass guitar
Tyler Sorie – sophomore, electric guitar
*Campus Praise Band’s most recent CD, “Uncover,” was recorded live in a Campus Church service in May 2007 and released last fall. It is available on iTunes. A CD/DVD combo is available at the Liberty University Bookstore.