These days, it’s hard to find a large church that does not have a contemporary praise band.
Many, like First United Methodist Church-Indianola have separate services, an early contemporary worship gathering and a traditional one later in the morning.
FUMC-Indianola is a little different than most in the area in that its praise band writes its own music and has just released its second album.
Reagan Daniels & Creation’s Symphony released “Wind & Waves” this week, and the band hopes that the music can be used to not only spread the message of Jesus through song, but also as a tool for members of FUMC to invite others to church.
“We wanted to provide the church with something sound theologically but also something that is personally vulnerable,” FUMC Worship Pastor Reagan Daniels said. “This is something they can actually hold in their hand and use to invite someone to church.”
Daniels, a Jackson native, said the praise band began exploring the idea of recording an album a couple of years ago, and after raising money to buy recording equipment, the band released “We Belong” which featured both original music and covers.
Indianola native and one of the band’s lead singers, Lauren Sledge, said that she has been performing through children’s choir and theater for most of her life.
She, along with Daniels and keyboards player Ethan Oltremari, have collaborated on most of the new music.
The band also includes singer Anna Mitchel, bass player Andrew Garrett and drummer Jake Hyatt.
Daniels and Sledge said they have enjoyed co-writing most of the songs.
“I love co-writing more than I do writing on my own because it brings all of the different sides of the music together,” Daniels said.
The Vine Worship Initiative
After the release of their first album, the band created The Vine Worship Initiative, which is creating a network of singer-songwriters and Christian performers throughout the state.
“We hope they can use this as an asset and resource to get off the ground,” Daniels said.
So far, Reagan Daniels & Creation’s Symphony has partnered with River Records out of Greenwood and the Revival on the River festival.
The initiative has also resulted in the band hosting workshops for aspiring Christian songwriters.
“After you’ve written a song, it’s hard to share what you’ve written,” Sledge said.
Sledge said she hopes there will be more workshops in the future now that the new album is completed.
Anytime the group is paid for a live performance, Sledge and Daniels said the money goes directly back to the Vine Worship Initiative.
Wind & Waves
The new album from Reagan Daniels & Creation’s Symphony features six original tracks from the band.
There is also a bonus track, “Prodigal Love” which was recorded and released as a single last year.
The track listing for the album includes “Wind and Waves,” “Sovereign King,” “Most High God,” “Fit for a King,” “When I’m With You” and “Dry Bones.”
The music can be purchased digitally through most traditional online stores like iTunes, Amazon MP3, Apple Music, GooglePlay and Spotify.
Hard copies of the CD can be purchased through the main office of FUMC.