Songwriters add harmony to a cozy Songwriters Showcase

Baraka Shekanena performs his song “Never” during the Songwriters Showcase on the Quad.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

The trees remained still without a trace of chill in the air, leaving a Quad audience wondering if this was actually a December night at Grand Canyon University.

And in case anyone felt restless, Baraka Shekanena’s rendition of “Never” prompted attendees to clap in unison.

“I never know how much you love me,” Shekanena sang while playing the keyboards.

He and a dozen other acts performed Wednesday night at the Worship Arts program’s fall Songwriters Showcase, embracing the perfect conditions and the opportunity to display their talents.

“I just like writing music, so generally it’s like a vibe I like,” said Shekanena, a Worship Arts major. “But this song is like my life story, how God has touched me at the age of 14.”

“I just want to thank you.”

Sarah Mullisen accompanies Maclaren Keffer for “Little Do You Know."

So do the other students who performed their original music in front of an audience with the chance to be included on the next Canyon Worship album.

“It's just which songs resonate,” said Dr. Randall Downs, director for the Center of Worship Arts. “When we look at the Canyon Worship album, we're looking at what songs will be useful in churches, corporate worship setting and what songs will carry well, because it's neat to see all the different places across the globe that the songs make it into. The Gospel is getting shared, even in some closed countries, different things like that.”

Downs admits the plethora of heartfelt, exceptional songs makes the selection process difficult.

“There are so many amazing songwriters in our program that you just try to get as many in there as you can,” Downs said. “They do just a phenomenal job.”

Luke Anderson accompanies Jocelyn Ruassay as they perform her song “All Yours Always."

Maclaren Keffer performed “Little Do You Know” after reading various stories in the Bible and viewing fictional characters as real people with similar emotions.

There’s a line that says, ‘as I walk through the fire,’ and it’s talking about the fiery furnace,” Keffer said. “And then ‘he cried for you.’ It’s talking about Jesus crying for Lazarus.

“We are not different from those people in the Bible. They’re not stories. It’s just not a thing. And God is our God then, and God is our God now.”

Kate Joy (right) and Kyleigh Almich sing their song “You Meet Me” during the Songwriters Showcase.

Keffer, who played the keyboards, and other performers embraced members of their groups and supporters after playing their songs. For Keffer, performing at this Songwriters Showcase had extra significance than her performance last spring.

“My father passed away a couple months ago,” said Keffer, who is majoring in entrepreneurship and Worship Arts with a minor in graphic design. ”This is really something that’s special to him. It’s his music, and he’s the one who inspired me, my music tastes and the way that I sing.

“He’s the first one to call and congratulate me. He always was the first one to say he’s proud of me, encourage me, pray for me. I really wish he was here today, but it’s an honor to perform.”

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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Related content:

GCU News: Students' voices sweeten the wind at Songwriters Showcase

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Bible Verse

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

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