By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor
OBU music ensemble David’s Creed provides students with hands-on ministry experience.
“David’s Creed is an auditioned student worship band that is charged with going out, with helping lead worship through music, namely through chapel services on Wednesdays,” assistant professor of music and worship leadership and director of David’s Creed Dr. Stephen Sims said.“And they’re also charged with going out into churches across the state.”
This assistance includes not only leading worship songs – primarily in the form of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) – but also praying, reading Scripture and giving testimonies.
“There are two main focuses: to lead worship through song in Chapel services here on campus and to also lead worship through song in churches across the state, in an effort both to promote OBU, but also in an effort to make more of Christ,” Sims said.
David’s Creed selects music from a variety of sources. Choices from Hillsong Worship and Bethel Worship as well as modern arrangements of contemporary hymns are all part of David’s Creed’s repertoire.
“We do a lot of cover songs,” he said.
However, the group occasionally plays their own original settings of tradition pieces.
“One of our students took the older hymn ‘At Calvary’ and rearranged it and put basically some new skin on it,” Sims said.
“So [he] put a whole new spin, a whole new set of music on it; rearranged the melody and everything; kept pretty much the same text, but updated the music.”
David’s Creed played the new arrangement publicly several times last year.
“It was very well accepted and very well received by the student body,” he said. “They led it in Chapel service one time and it seemed like the students caught onto it real fast. And we used [the song arrangement] at another church and the folks said that they liked the way that this music was more sing-able.”
This semester David’s Creed consists of Jordan Richardson, vocals and acoustic guitar; Morgan Randol, vocals; Cooper Fierro, electric guitar; Spencer Seeley, keyboard; Jarrett Richardson, drums; and Courtland Clark, bass guitar.
The group’s members vary from year to year and sometimes even semester to semester.
Sims uses an audition process to choose the musicians. Another student music ensemble 519 Collective holds its auditions in collaboration with David’s Creed since the groups are similar in type but different in genre and musical approach.
“Usually towards the end of the summer, Prof. Pierce [director of 519 Collective] and I will pick a date and send out an email announcement to the student body,” Sims said.
Vocalists form the majority of the students auditioning, so vocalists audition through a digital recording, before the final contestants are chosen to audition in person alongside the auditioning instrumentalists.
“We prefer audio and a visual recording,” Sims said, “So we can see them singing.”
Pierce and Sims make their choices for vocalists and instrumentalist early in the Fall semester.
“Maybe by the first day of class, we’ll have our final vocal and instrumental auditions. And that’s where the students actually come in. We’ll see them in person,” Sims said.
According to Sims, he and Pierce look for good technique, tuning, pitch, control, smooth chord transitions, and comfort and confidence.
“Multi-talented musicians have a huge advantage for both their individual auditions as well as flexibility within the band,” David’s Creed guitarist Spencer Steeley said.
Yet David’s Creed is more than just passing an audition and joining a group.
“I would tell students considering auditioning to just use the gifts God has given them for his glory, and to put it all in his hands,” David’s Creed vocalist Morgan Randol said. “Let him let his work be done, no matter what the results are right now! His will and glory above all else.”
The group centers around Christ’s glory, and provides students with an opportunity to practice Christian leadership skills.
“They’re going to be trained and cared for in a way that trains them to be worship leaders through music, in a setting where there’s going to be a lot of oversight through the university,” Sims said.
Leading worship allows students to minister to others through their musical skills.
“I hope [those who hear David’s Creed] are impacted with a greater sense of who God is, of who Christ is,” Sims said.
This goal of outreach and ministry led to the group’s creation in 2006-2007.
“The idea had been around for a while,” professor of church music and founder of David’s Creed Dr. Lee Hinson said. “A lot of schools in the country had contemporary bands, but they tended to be associated with spiritual life or something outside the music department. I decided that we needed a representation like that in Oklahoma for Oklahoma Baptist University.”
Forming the group allowed OBU to grow its relationship with individual churches.
“We wanted to reconnect,” Hinson said. “So, I thought, ‘let’s use this group’.”
The group’s name originates from discussion with the early members of the group.
“We were sitting in room 142 in Raley Chapel and kicking names around,” Hinson said. “[A student] said, well you know we want to be worshipers after God’s own heart; David’s was a man after God’s own heart you know, well, what about ‘David’s Creed’? And the name just took hold that night and I remember that it went up the line [of administration…] and it stuck.”
A few years after founding the group Hinson handed over directing the group to Dr. Casey Gerber who later passed the group on to Assist. Prof. Justin Pierce.
When Pierce created 519 Collective, Pierce passed the group to its current director, Dr. Sims