Worship band ‘rocks’ church in name of God

From left, Ricky Bushnell, Brianna Bolt, Nathan Horton and Ryan Cochran perform during worship time at Koinonia. Koinonia meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night at the College Heights Christian Church.

From left, Ricky Bushnell, Brianna Bolt, Nathan Horton and Ryan Cochran perform during worship time at Koinonia. Koinonia meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night at the College Heights Christian Church.

Landon Fry

Every Tuesday one Joplin band “rocks out” full of passion, spirit and God.

Members of the Koinonia worship band come together each week at 7 p.m. to play songs from multiple musical genres all focused on Christianity.

“We just play music that moves us,” said Nathan Horton, worship leader and guitar player for the band.

The band is comprised of seven members who play a spiritual part in addition to their physical parts, said Brianna Bolt, vocalist and the proclaimed “heart” of the band.

Ryan Hill, drummer, said the band mostly plays worship songs that are popular in the praise and worship movement.

“Some of them aren’t popular,” said Sid McGregor, the band’s rhythm guitarist. “We have a knack for taking songs that people haven’t heard of. All of us collectively probably own 10,000 CDs, and so we have a huge draw of just different songs. We’ll be listening to stuff and we’ll think, ‘hey that could make a really cool worship song,’ even if it wasn’t meant to be that.”

One unknown song the band plays is from the group Nickel and Dime. The band heard it live and decided it should play it.

“We got the words from the guy, we got the music from him, and we ended up putting it on a worship CD that we made a few years ago,” McGregor said. “The guy was floored that we put it on there, and it’s turned out to be one of the favorites on that album in the Koinonia community.”

Every two to three weeks the band likes to add a new song to its regular performances.

Though the band plays some of the same songs each week, it improvises parts each time.

“Every week we can play the same song a totally different way,” Horton said. “It’s really easy when you’ve got guys that you’ve played with for a while because everyone knows where everyone is going.”

The eclectic tastes of the band members add a variety of influences to its music Horton said.

“I don’t listen to the radio because it’s all the same,” he said. “I listen to musicians that do something innovative.

“I like to listen to Coldplay and there’s a band called Switchfoot that has a very unique sound I listen to.”

McGregor agrees anything can come out while the band is improvising.

“I think to be a true musician you can’t just say, ‘I like this style of music,’ you have to draw from every spectrum,” McGregor said. “Even while I’m playing I’ll hear licks from something like a Celine Dion tune that would be really cool, and I won’t play it exactly, but somewhere in there it will fit, or I’ll hear a lick from Metallica in my head; one of their better licks anyway. You just draw from all sorts of different stuff, and it kind of helps develop you to be a better musician.”

Even though the members are there to play music, they claim they are not there to put on a show.

“It’s not like a show or our concert so our frame of mind has to be set at worship,” Hill said. “We need to be transparent so people who are worshiping God aren’t looking at us and being like, ‘whoa look at that.’ They’re focused on something else.”

The band thinks some things are in the way of its backstage position but have reached an understanding.

“One of the things we’ve agreed not to complain about is the big sound system and the lights and all the other multimedia stuff that goes on in the service because we find it attracts those that we want to attract,” McGregor said.

“Obviously, we don’t exist completely just for the Christians, we’re here for everybody else. You know if the concert setting and the lights bring them in, then bring it on. I’m not going to complain.”

Hill said it’s his passion for playing and worship that lead him to join the band.

“I want to be focused on God and worship him,” Hill said. “That’s what I love to do and I love to do it by playing the drums.”

The enjoyment the members get from the band goes beyond just playing music.

“I get to do this with my friends and they’re not just my casual friends, but these guys are my brothers,” Bolt said. “They form my family.”

Despite other goals, there is only one thing Hill thinks the worship band should bring to the weekly services:

“Hopefully, the worship.”