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Preview: Vertical Church Band

September 16, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

Student Activities presents Vertical Church Band and worship from Elevation Church in the LaHaye Event Space on Friday, September 23 starting at 8 p.m. It will be a night of worship with bands from two of the most influential churches in the country today, and if you’re a student all you have to do is pay $10 in advance to be there. Tickets for the general public are just $12 in advance, and tickets for everyone will be $15 at the door. This is a standing room only show, so please plan accordingly.

Formed in 2012, Vertical Church Band is the product of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL. If you take a quick glance at the videos on their website, most of them feature the band as it will likely appear at the concert here at Liberty on Sept. 23 – Andi Rozier, Jon Guerra, Kyle Fredricks, Meredith Andrews, Lauren Smith, Tara Stutes, and Gabe Finochio, among others. Several of the videos feature other members of the worship team, which is to Vertical Church’s credit, and very much consistent with the band description that opens the website. The emphasis is not so much on “church” or even “band” in their name; the emphasis is on the nature of worship as “vertical”, about the condition and position of the worshiper in relationship to God. But it certainly doesn’t hurt them to have two signed artists as major performers in the group. One of them, Jon Guerra, performed as JAGUERRA for a time and now shares a stage at times with his wife, Valerie. The other is Liberty’s own Meredith Andrews, who is now producing top-level CCM music with Vertical Church on top of her already impressive solo material. All together, the group is now four albums into a solid career, much of their material consisting of live recordings, but all of it contributing to and elevating the worship genre “industry standard”. Where they truly raise the bar is in the aforementioned quality of performer. Whether it’s Meredith or Kyle or Gabe fronting the song, Vertical Church is equally at home in nearly any song. And that’s their other strength: the quality is consistent through the quantity. This is one of the reasons they are able to create the atmosphere they do; you could say that the horizontal aspect of the band in terms of stage presence is what contributes most to the vertical. It is a collective effort, all members working together to help minimize focus on any one person in the group for the greater purpose of pointing the audience upwards.