Although performing together for only a few weeks, audience-oriented band The Many will be one of four acts performing Saturday night at the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business’s 2015 Christian Showcase.
Featuring Hannah Rand, Alaya Morris and Lauren Dekleva on vocals, Ben Pogue on bass, Sammi Potts on drums, JP Presley on guitar and Cassidy Gephart on keyboard, the band was formed at the beginning of the fall semester and touts a folky Americana sound and lyrics they want to be both “engaging and relatable,” Potts and Rand said.
The band began as an offshoot of an online community called The Plural Guild that Rand’s parents created to offer Christian artists a platform of personal and group worship through their work. The first iteration of The Many included the Rands’ family friends, fellow church goers and fellow artists.
And when Rand returned to begin her junior year at Belmont, she brought the idea with her.
“We wanted that group to be a group that could include anyone. So we got to Belmont, and I was like ‘Maybe I’ll get a group of The Many here using the songs we recorded over the summer.’ So I got some people– Sammi and Ben were the first main group of people– and gathered friends and cool people to play with us. We formed a version of The Many here,” she said.
One of the goals of The Plural Guild and The Many’s original iteration was to encourage people to actively participate in the worship rather than to observe it from the outside, a goal that the Belmont band has adopted going into the 2015 Christian Showcase.
“What I wanted to do with this was write music that gets people engaged and wouldn’t be the classic Christian pop music but would also engage the audience and with the audience participation get them involved and singing and not just starting at the band who is worshiping, so everyone can worship,” Rand said.
Because the band was formed at the beginning of the semester, one of the greatest challenges came in preparing for the showcase’s live auditions, a process that required three consecutive days of rehearsal and band bonding.
“Most of the preparation we had had to do before live auditions. I got through the first round, which was like sort of a songwriting round, where I just submit the songs and they judge them on songwriting quality. We got through that and that’s when the band sort of formed,” Rand said.
However, Rand and Potts do not count it a disadvantage to perform in the showcase as a new band, but rather as an exciting opportunity to utilize new talents and improve their sound alongside other student bands with which they have formed friendships while at Belmont.
“We have personal connections to a lot of people performing, like the whole Orchardist. We love them so much and having the opportunity to play with them is like freaking awesome,” Potts said.
The 2015 Christian Showcase will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Curb a Event Center. Admission is free.
Photo by Chloe Hall