After one evening of practice, Regent’s worship team invited students to join them on stage and in the pews to bring praise to the Lord at Regent University Chapel’s annual Gospel Fest.

“I think we just kind of jump into it,” said Kelsey Spadaro. “There’s no preparing. We listen to the music. We didn’t want to emulate exactly what we heard, so we kind of just go with it and let the Lord lead the way.”

“Gospel is definitely a stretch for the team, but we love it,” said Stuart McCloud. “We love the challenge. We love to step up and ask, ‘How can we play this? How can we still make it us, but still bring elements of gospel and have fun with it?’ We don’t get too stressed out or worried because it’s not what we do week-in and week-out, but say, ‘This is the song, we’re going to bring what we have to offer to it and just worship during the day.’”

Group performances, solos, piano renditions, and even mimes all sought to lead those gathered in praise while telling a story about who God is.

“It is cool because there is an element of a story,” said McCloud. “There is an element of a picture that the song paints from start to finish. You don’t hear that a lot in contemporary music.”

While the performers hope to communicate a story, they do so by removing themselves from the performance. Gospel gave the group a goal to give their all to glorify God.

“I think it’s kind of easy to get in your routine of things and the mundane and think you get good at it,” said McCloud. “Worship is also getting uncomfortable and stretching yourself. For us, doing this gospel, doing this whole week, it’s very stretching, but it’s not striving, because, for us, it is worship, it’s not performance. It’s not a show. It’s not us getting up there to play songs, but when we worship, it relieves the pressure. It take the spotlight off of us.”

“For me, it brings the joy of the Lord,” said Spadaro. “It reminds me to have fun and just be joyful.”

“This is incredible, that we can show up and have this sort of week and month and have fun with it and praise Jesus for it,” said McCloud. “We are privileged. It is an honor to come in here and just worship.”

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