Guest Speaker: Lisa Ives

“Have you ever wondered what it will sound like in Heaven?”

Yes, I have wondered and I think I know the answer. I think every time I am blessed to record with Praise & Harmony, a ministry led by brother Keith Lancaster, that I get a small taste, glimpse and sensation of what it will be like to sing in Heaven surrounding God’s throne.

As a teenager growing up in the church, I first heard of the singing duo Acappella at a youth series night of worship. Keith Lancaster and his friend Rodney Britt joined together to form that first group -to write and sing songs from scripture that were made using only the very finest instrument created by the hand of God – their voices. As soon as I heard and sang along with their songs, I was a fan for life. Little did I know, I would be able to one day meet Keith and sing along with him to record over 14 Praise & Harmony albums with countless other brothers and sisters. The mission of the Praise & Harmony project is to create congregations who love to sing and to help them learn songs in 4 part harmony. Albums are created with a mix of both contemporary songs and traditional hymns.

The recording experience is truly surreal. The process itself is a grueling grind of physical and emotional exhaustion that takes you to the mountain top heights of worship and down to the depths of the valley of despair – a true emotional rollercoaster with blessings beyond measure. Surrounded by anywhere from 125-250 other singers on these recordings, you feel totally engulfed in the songs and their powerful lyrics that remind us of what a wonderful God we have, what a magnificent Savior died for us, what pain and suffering feel like and what joy and blessings are only found in Him. The messages are powerful and cut to the core of your Christianity, causing you to meditate and think on spiritual things as you are drawn out by the melodies and harmonies created by you and around you. It is so powerful, it is truly difficult to find words that are adequate in describing what a blessed experience happens. I often find myself moved to tears and unable to sing as I just listen to those around me.

For weeks prior to the recording date, singers are all practicing the arrangements to tracks provided by Keith to perfect our part as either a soprano, alto, tenor or bass. The preparation he and his team put forth to lay the groundwork for us is amazing and helps make the final product even better. Before COVID-19, we were blessed to be able to gather together at a location provided by a home congregation. We were able to renew old acquaintances and meet new friends as we all pushed through the 3 day recording process to churn out an album of 25 songs. The albums are produced with 2 CDs of identical songs. One CD is the entire group singing, while a second CD is produced as a “training disc” providing audio of only one singer for each part, allowing a listener to easily hear the part they want to learn as they sing. The training CD is a vital part to the Praise & Harmony mission to equip everyone, regardless of vocal ability/musical knowledge, to do as scriptures teach and , “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!” Ps. 47:6 ESV

God doesn’t want just the best singers – He wants YOUR best. He doesn’t call you to be “recording quality”, He calls you to worship him in song with YOUR voice, which is beautiful to His ears. I encourage you if you don’t sing, SING now. We all have that ability – think about the last time you sang along to the radio in your car – the joy it gives you, the feelings that wash over you. If you can do that for yourself, how much more important you DO THAT FOR GOD. It’s my prayer that you use song to show God how much you love him and if you do, it’s guaranteed you’ll be blessed.

If you’d like to listen to samples of the Praise & Harmony albums and even purchase them (CD or direct mp3 downloads), go the website: https://acappella.org/store/

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