Artist: Hope College Chapel Band
Title: “All Hail Christ”
Release Date: April 6, 2015
The Hope College Chapel Band released its newest album, entitled “All Hail Christ,” on April 6.
The band has recorded one album per year since 1994, making this their 20th album, keyboardist Aaron Goodyke said.
The album holds an eclectic mix of songs from traditional hymns featuring the band’s string quartet to modern worship tunes to a recording of an African piece titled “Iparadisi” by Chapel Choir.
As is tradition with the worship team album, it begins with an introduction to the Gathering by Trygve Johnson. However, the introductory music did not take draw me in as well as previous albums have. Instead, I was immediately struck by the muffled sounds of the vocalists and the way that the instruments overpowered the vocal leads.
I regularly attend Chapel and am very familiar with the talent on the worship team. It is a shame that the recording quality does not adequately showcase those talents. In songs like “All Hail Christ,” “Bless the Lord” and “Light a Fire,” the vocal leads and harmonies are drowned out by the band’s accompaniment.
Overlooking these technical difficulties, there are many new additions that should be noted on this album. “All Hail Christ” is the first release since Bruce Benedict took over as the chaplain of worship music this past fall. Since his coming, the worship team has grown to feature the Chapel Band String Quartet throughout the semester.
Chapel Band performed the traditional hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” with the beautiful accompaniment of the String Quartet. The incorporation of the strings with the rest of the band produced a beautiful reconfiguration of the hymn and is a personal favorite of mine.
Overall, the album captures a lot of the new music that the Chapel Band brought to the student body this past school year. “All Hail Christ” captures the influence of Benedict on Hope College worship, and I look forward to seeing the band advance in the coming years. I hope especially that the technicalities can be worked out so that the next album exhibits a clearer sound.
The album is available for purchase at the Keppel House for $12 and as a digital download for $5 on Bandcamp. At the same website, the album is also available for free streaming.