NIGHT OF PRAISE — Chapel band and students old and new gathered to worship Jesus. (Kelly Ocock)
Last Monday, Hope College students banded together to kick off the beginning of the fall semester with songs and praise led by the worship bands in the Pine Grove.
The annual tradition, called Groovin’ in the Grove, gave freshmen and transfer students a taste of Hope’s power of Christian music before chapel on campus begins. For returners, it was a chance to reconnect with old friends in the light found in both the moon above and the flickering eyes of their peers. Alleluias were sung with full hearts, guitars were strummed and keyboard keys played in joyful melody. The strength of the Christian faith on this night was a force to be reckoned with as students began to remember each song the worship team played from the year before, shouted out their favorite lyrics, held hands and hugged their friends. The word “community” truly encompasses the passion Hope students had for coming together to proclaim Jesus’ name on that night.
For Hope’s worship team, the night is an introduction. “It’s the culmination of a week of rehearsing before the regular chapel year starts. It’s a welcome to new and old students, and it’s an opportunity to worship in a different context compared to the usual services at Dimnent Chapel,” says lead guitar player Michael Stone (‘19). It’s also meant to be fun, and laid- back, which is evident in how the worship team makes their professional performance come off as casual and light.
“My favorite thing about Groovin’ is giving the freshmen a sense of what we do and bringing them into the Hope family before classes start. A lot of freshmen are scared,” Stone adds, “and this can help them and returning students find a place at Hope with God at the beginning of the year.” As has been previously mentioned, Groovin’ in the Grove deeply resonates in the returning Hope community, and Leah Dunlap (‘18) has made sure not to take it for granted. “I love how it brings a sense of calm before the storm that comes with classes starting the next day,” she says. “It’s been such a great experience all four of my years at Hope, and I advise students to go every year, because you won’t regret it!”
The songs that the chapel band played throughout the night consisted of old favorites from years past, like “King of My Heart” and “All Thy Fullness.” The band showcased new pieces from artists like Liz Vice, who is the original artist of a popular Dimnent Chapel song, “Empty Me Out.” Her song “Abide” from her 2015 album, “There’s A Light,” is one of the worship team’s new songs for the year. As seen in the recent release of the Student Activity Committee’s Concert Series performers list, Liz Vice will be closing out the series and performing on campus Nov. 10. Groovin’ in the Grove is a Hope tradition that continues to call upon its students to congregate and raise their hands to the unifying faith that is our God. As for the rest of the year, head to Dimnent at 10:30 a.m. every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to hear these same songs performed.
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