Music that will soon be performed by church choirs across the nation, including two songs by a University of Mobile student and graduate, were introduced to more than 200 worship pastors in Mobile in April.
The music ministers came to Mobile for “The Retreat,” a conference presented by the University of Mobile Center for Performing Arts, the Fisher-Brewer Worship Institute and Prism Music Publishing. The conference included two free concerts open to the public.
A highlight was the release of “How Excellent,” a book of music for choir, praise teams, church orchestra and worship from Prism Music Publishing in Nashville, a leading publisher of Christian church music.
The music was premiered publicly for the first time by the UMobile Center for Performing Arts choir and orchestra in concert April 21 at Dauphin Way Baptist Church. “How Excellent” composer and arranger Bradley Knight, worship leader at the Plano, TX campus of Prestonwood Baptist Church that has more than 40,000 members, directed the university’s 200-member choir, 65-piece orchestra and ensembles including Voices of Mobile.
Dr. Roger Breland, executive director for the UMobile Center for Performing Arts, said the school’s music program was selected by Prism Music to make the live concert CDs that will accompany the book. Those recordings were made during the Tuesday night concert, with additional recordings made on the university’s campus in the Fisher-Brewer Recording Studio. Two songs selected for the music book, “My Savior My King” and “Song of Grace,” have University of Mobile connections.
UMobile senior Ryan Jackson of Crestview, FL wrote “My SaviorMy King” two summers ago, and it was initially included in the album “Hymns and Worship” released last year by the university’s record label, 8Eighty Records, available at www.8eightyrecords.com.
The university submitted several works by students and alumni for consideration in the Prism project. Jackson’s song, along with another by alumnus Jarod Espy, was selected.
“I’m blown away by the opportunity and the goodness of the Lord,” said Jackson, who will earn royalties from the song that has the potential to be performed worldwide.
Jackson, who majored in worship leadership, graduated this May. He plans to head to Nashville to pursue songwriting. (For more, see Official Music Video of “My Savior My King” at umobile.edu/msmkvideo. See also Writer’s Room: Story behind “My Savior My King” umobile.edu/msmkstory
Jarod Espy, a 2008 graduate with a bachelor of music in church music, also has a song selected, “Song of Grace.” Espy is music ministry assistant worship leader at First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, SC.
Espy said “Song of Grace” is a corporate worship song written in the style of a hymn as a response to God’s grace.
“The initial spark of it was the idea that even when we bring our best, even then, we’re still in need of His grace,” he said.
Espy said he wrote songs as a student and now writes music for his church – something UMobile CPA Dean Dr. Al Miller knew. Miller called Espy last fall and asked if he had a composition to submit for consideration by Prism.
Espy said he is humbled and excited that his song was chosen for publication.
“My prayer is that, through this, God will receive the glory and the Church will have another way to respond to Him and respond to His grace,” Espy said. A demo of his song is at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=H2qrykFRYCY.
Conference workshops were held at the Center for Performing Arts on the University of Mobile campus. The workshops covered topics such as multi-generation worship, finding and keeping balance in ministry, ways to grow a worship ministry, opportunities to share ideas and experiences for effective ministry, and more.