Every other year, North Central students and faculty collaborate to release an original worship album through the Worship Live program. The project highlights the amazing skills and creativity of North Central students, and also expresses the heart of campus in a tangible, visual, musical way.
Creating an album takes more than just creativity. It takes discipline, music theory know-how, an understanding of corporate worship dynamics, and most of all, a desire to praise God. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to write a worship album, here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of the making of this year’s Worship Live single, Breath of Heaven.
Watch the making of Breath of Heaven
About the process
Breath of Heaven’s lead singer Abby Kvam ’20, a worship leading major at North Central, chimed in with a bit of insight into her experience writing a worship song with Worship Live at North Central.
Where did Breath of Heaven come from?
“Breath of heaven was actually born out of a worship class. We were singing the song It is Well, and we just really felt like we needed a bridge for the song… I just found a piano room and started singing and the chorus came out. I know that this too shall pass. I leave it all in your hands. I was like, ‘Wow that is the fastest I’ve ever written anything in my entire life! I think we’ve got something here.’”
Kvam said that after singing the bridge in chapel, they “took it back to the worship room and we just kind of sat with it and worked on it, and looked at the chords and did some arranging. From there, we decided ‘we think this is a full song. [So] we took the song and we finished it. We wrote on it, and now it is what it is today.
How has this process impacted you?
“It’s kind of hard to find the words for, but it was just a very electric experience. It was interesting to see people singing something that we had written. Even the first time they had done it in chapel, I found a seat kind of in the middle of chapel, and I just wanted to see how it would go, if people would be able to catch on and sing the lyrics.
“It was amazing to just hear everyone in the chapel singing these lyrics right away. It was just a really cool moment. Life changing, I guess. There’s I think
a lot of emotion put into this project. There’s a lot of our heart in this album, and it just represents who we are.”
How were NCU faculty involved?
“Professors at North Central really care about you. They want what’s best for you. They’re very thoughtful and intentional about what they do to increase the success of their students. There’s been a lot of one-on-one integration with the teachers. There’s a lot of “pouring into.” [Faculty are] shaping and molding us and helping us become who we’re supposed to be.
We do something called Creative Fridays with faculty and other students. We work on writing songs, and that has just been a huge part of helping me to become a songwriter and stretching those creative muscles.”
How has your time at North Central helped prepare you for a career in worship leading?
“If I was going to sit down and have coffee with a student who was interested in coming to North Central, I would just encourage them in the gifting that God’s put inside of them. It’s worth pursuing, it’s worth pouring into, it’s worth pursuing.
“I’m a worship leading major. So I get to learn how to do that well here… I’ve gained so many tools to lead people into worship and I’m already actually working part time as a worship leader at a church. I’ve been able to use those tools to help me get to where I am today.”
What faculty are saying about Worship Live
Jeff Deyo, Worship Arts Specialist, College of Fine Arts
“It’s so much fun working with our students. The whole process of the recording from beginning to end is amazing. Students come in with ideas and songs and I get to help them process them and tweak those. They come together in groups and work with people they maybe haven’t worked with before. They’re growing their skills, they’re seeing their songs come to life. Then we take it into the chapel and test the songs out.
“The Worship Live recording is one of the most incredible things for me to be a part of with our students. I love it because I get to engage with them hands-on, get involved with the song writing, get involved with the arranging. They get to be a part of something that they probably haven’t –putting together a full recording.
“Worship Live is a very unique experience for our students because they come in from all over the country and have an opportunity to come together and learn how to lead worship in a way that they’ve never even considered. They get to learn about team building. They learn how to engage with a congregation. And of course, how to grow their relationship with God.
“They leave with a whole different level of knowledge, ready to go out and touch the world for the Kingdom of God.”