By A.E. Sarver
Five bikes hanging on the wall. Used decorative rugs. Six creative comrades in a cramped garage. It’s coming, The Prelude.
They’re a new band that started with one man’s dream to use his music to get people to think.
The Prelude., a new Christian-Rock band, released their original debut album on Apr. 16 and are preparing for many upcoming events.
Made up of Olivet students and alum, each member was included for their unique musicianship.
Jonathan Burkey, former chapel worship coordinator for ONU, wrote songs for the student body while working at Olivet. His songs, such as “Make My Life Shine” and “A New Heart” are still sung in chapel. His songwriting led him to more ideas and he wanted to do something about his new songs.
“I’ve been sitting on these songs for a while. I knew if I didn’t record them with musicians I admired, I would regret it,” Burkey said. “And my wife, Mrs. B, said you’ve got to do it.”
The musicians he so admires include seniors Ben Cherney and Joel Deckard, junior Enos Hershberger and former student Isaac Burch.
“I’ve never done something so collaborative,” Cherney said.
Their collaboration paid off. In three short and somewhat alarming days, they recorded their first album, “Parables & Promises.”
It wasn’t a typical studio setting and they had to prepare ahead of time in order to accomplish their recording in three days.
The alarming part came when Burkey met what he calls “the death” and acquired the flu that kept him in bed for the next few weeks. The rest of the band continued recording.
“We’re not messing around,” Hershberger said.
When Burkey remembered what they had accomplished, he turned to them in disbelief.
“You guys! What an amazing thing. That’s so awesome.”
Burkey had to drive twice to Ohio to their audio producer, Zach Harmon, in order to finish his portion of the album. But in the end, they successfully finished.
“Parables & Promises” was released on Apr. 16, but will also be available at their two release parties at The Adventure Church in Bradley, Ill. on Apr. 24 and Apr. 25 at 8 p.m. for 10 dollars.
On Apr. 24, The Kindred Sisters will open for The Prelude. and on Apr. 25, The Fragmented & Complete will open.
The album reflects on life, relationships, God, the world and faith.
“Our purpose is to create space for conversation and re-imagination by challenging the way people think of life through art,” Burkey said. “My goal was achieved. I talked to a lady and she said she listened to the record and thought of the Bible in a completely different way. Mission Accomplished.”
The journey has had some difficulties for the band members, since many of them are still students that are involved in other activities and one member has a family and travels two and a half hours to get to rehearsal every week.
“We all still spend our time in different ways. But we want to be as professional and excellent as possible,” Deckard said.
They have figured out how to make it work, and they consider their marketing and media manager, Joe Mantarian, to have contributed to much of their success.
“What hasn’t Joe done for this band?” Burkey said.
Sophomore Joe Mantarian manages every part of The Prelude. that isn’t musical. He organized and created their media, photos, videos, posters, merchandise table and album art.
“It was challenging because I was creating something new and we didn’t want to be like every other band,” Mantarian said.
Because they are all connected with Olivet, they have been able to work with other Olivet students and use resources even though they are not a band from Olivet.
“We’re blessed because we’re a part of Olivet,” Burkey said.
On their website, thepreludeofficial.com, it says, “For us, music serves as a centerpiece of life and personal expression. The gifts of melody, harmony, rhythm and lyric compose the soundtrack of the universe.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Music…will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”
Burch believes that music can be used to reach others well, “We want to reach people in the church. We’re using music not only because we’re musicians, but because music is an effective way to get that message across.”