This is what happens when one decides to switch off Netflix and let the Holy Spirit move you instead.
When husband and wife Dominic and Laura Schryvers — with Dominic’s sister Rachel Wilson — decided to try writing a song together one night in 2018, they didn’t have a clue that they would win the International Songwriting Competition the following year, or be releasing their first CD album three years later.
“It’s hard to conceive of . . . even the things that we’ve already been able to experience,” said Dominic, a Religious Education, Media Studies and English teacher at St Paul’s College, Auckland.
The dream, they say, is to eventually be making music as a career. And with the launching of the CD on August 6, it seems they are already on track.
Laura said it was Life Teen CEO and president Randy Raus who first encouraged them to do a recording after hearing them play at a John 15 retreat run by Life Teen at St Mark’s, Pakuranga, in 2018.
“He [Mr Raus] said, ‘why don’t you record your music?’,” she said. “What do you mean record? We just have one song. And he said, ‘just try’.”
Their first song, which they made into a music video, is called “The God Who Knew Our Pain”, inspired by a talk given by Fr Jeremy Palman on suffering.
The music video got a positive reception on Facebook, Spotify and YouTube, and they decided to write more songs.
It was “Floodgates”, though, that won first place in the Christian genre of the 2019 International Songwriting Competition. ISC is a US-based annual song contest, the aim of which is to help aspiring songwriters and artists further their careers by providing an outlet. Among the judges that year were American contemporary Christian music singers and songwriters Kari Jobe and Matthew West.
Rachel said this song was based on her experience as a mum praying to God for help for her sick baby, only to drop off praying after her son became well.
“I had a very difficult baby. He had silent reflux, and every time we fed him, [I’d] have to pray. And I put up a picture on the wall of the Divine Mercy and I just prayed to that picture every time,” she said.
When he became better, she prayed less and less.
“One day, I just noticed that the picture had fallen to the floor. It was really a visual presentation of how I had stopped needing God so much. I was just overwhelmed by the sense of remorse,” Rachel said.
In her remorse, she said she felt the floodgates of mercy open up to her. “When we come to God repentant, the floodgates of mercy open up to us. I guess, it was a moment of feeling God’s mercy,” she said.
Most of the songs the Sations members wrote come out of their own “conversations with God”. Some are lively and upbeat, while others are reflective and devotional.
Their first album, “Panes”, is a collection of songs that they have written over the past few years.
“Symbolically, each song in the album is a different pane of glass. It’s a different way of seeing God’s work in our lives. If you want to take the analogy further, each pane of glass is also formed by fire, the way we are formed by trials,” explained Dominic.
“The last image, I guess, is the purpose of the window panes, is for light to shine through . . . and the beauty doesn’t come from the pane itself, but from the light shining through.”
Their name, “The Sations”, has an equally compelling meaning, even though it was something Rachel came up with on the spur of the moment.
“We typed it up on Google and, sure enough, it came up with the fact that it was an obsolete noun, which means a planting or a growing,” he said.
“Like a mustard seed,” Laura added.
“From a faith perspective, that struck us as quite a good symbol that we were just very much beginning our journey as a band. And also, that we like to plant seeds of faith in
other people and keep that seed growing for others, too,” Dominic said.
They also thanked Auckland Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen for encouraging them to put up a Give-a-little page to fund the production of their CD.
The Sations will put on a concert at St Paul’s College, Richmond Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, on September 18.
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