Liberty Worship Collective spreads gospel through release of new album

Every Wednesday and Friday, the Worship Collective leads Liberty students in worship during the largest weekly gathering of young Christian people: Convocation. 

Students testify frequently to the amazing congregational worship they experience during Convocation — but what if the Collective’s songs were not limited to these weekly gatherings? What if alumni could experience the same congregational worship as they did in collegiate years? Hoping to find the answers to these questions led the Worship Collective to release its new album, “Fire of a Thousand Years” Aug. 30.

Judson Harris, special projects coordinator of the Worship Collective, explained the Worship Collective’s motive behind recording the album. 

“The student body always has a voice and just letting that voice be heard and even being recorded was the big heartbeat behind our recording process,” Harris said.

The Worship Collective named the album after the last song of the record, “Fire of a Thousand Years.” The title places the focus of the album on Christ, the fire of a thousand years.

“We wanted the first real release of the Worship Collective that was full of original songs to just be centered around Jesus,” Harris said.

During a yearlong process, vocalists, instrumentalists and so many other talented individuals came together to put this album, composed of eight songs, together.

“It (took) a village to raise this album,” Kevin Huguley, the executive director of the Worship Collective, said. “(It) would be around 100 individuals that were in some way a part of this record.” 

Campus Production, led by Sheldon Donigan, and the Creative Team of Liberty’s Office of Spiritual Development, played roles in producing the album behind the scenes.

“There are so many names that would go into the thank you list of (the album),” Huguley added. 

“(The album production was awesome with) being able to bring these amazing students in (and) collaborating on each individual part … Just really thinking through every single instrument … before each student came into start solving that puzzle (of adding new melodies and instruments in),” Timothy Riordan, music production coordinator of the Worship Collective, said.

 Scott Bullman, director of Liberty Music Group who worked on the album,
 explained how they narrowed down a list of songs and carefully chose which ones to bring to the stage. 

“They’ll have as many as 60 to 100 songs on Dropbox with just a voice memo,” Bullman said. “We have this awesome privilege of having a platform where we can take a new song to the stage and see how it can hit with the (Vines Center). At the end of the day … the experience of the room is what we want to experience in the car. ” 

A majority of the songs on the album were written by Worship Collective members. The Worship Collective sought to write songs for the students that would capture the times of worship in the Vines Center. 

“Our mission is … (to) write for the student body and just assist them in worship. So that frees us up to make new sounds and explore things,” Riordan said. 

The Worship Collective’s aim with the album, and generally all their music, is to be Liberty’s voice of praise to God. In the song, “Great I Am,” one of the choruses is a cappella of the seven thousand students present in Vines Center the night of the live recording.

 “When ‘Great I Am’ hits on that a cappella chorus, and the room is just a roar, that’s just inspiring,” Bullman said.

“Having the privilege of representing Liberty University on ‘Fire of a Thousand Years’ is so special and humbling,” Devlan Brantley, a member of the Worship Collective, said. “As a student, this kind of opportunity to be a part of an offering that Liberty is making to the Lord with all of my fellow classmates and students … is something I’m super grateful for.”

 Katie Wyman, another student on the Worship Collective, hoped for listeners to understand how worthy God truly is when they listened to the album. 

“This album is cool and all, but the coolest part of this album is not that it involves Liberty or the Collective. The most incredible and most important part of this album is that it ascribes worth and praise to our God – that the album praises the One True King, the Risen Savior, the only one who is truly worthy of our praise,” Wyman said.

Students who worked on the album also found themselves applying their education to the work. 

“(My education at Liberty) has helped me to be more determined and disciplined to make sure that I accomplish all the tasks I needed to complete (while working on the album),” Nathan Hernandez, an instrumentalist of the Worship Collective, said. “Something very important I learned from working on the album is it takes patience and dedication, and that God has given you all the tools and talents to be able to lead with excellence.”

Megan Pennacchio, another member, experienced new opportunities as an instrumentalist. During the production process, Pennacchio learned about her love for songwriting and studio recording. 

“Working on this album has helped me learn a lot about the album creation process as a whole, and a lot more goes into it than it seems,” Pennacchio said. “The only way, along with God’s grace, that this album was made possible was with everyone working together, and seeing everyone’s unique gifts come together.”

The release of “Fire of a Thousand Years” unleashes the possibilities of many more original albums from the Worship Collective, and they hope to represent the worship experienced on campus through these songs and albums released to the world. 

The album is available now on all streaming platforms. To learn more, visit their website.

Oribello is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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