Sophie Bond is a freelance writer and editor from South West Baptist Church, Ōtautahi (Christchurch) and is a member of the Baptist NZ Editorial Advisory Group. 

Who’s powerful like 8000 bears? Whose love is like a big fluffy blanket?  

According to Christchurch’s South West Baptist Church Kids’ Band, these are good ways to describe a strong and loving God. Bears and blankets are just some of the refreshingly creative lyrics in four newly released singles from the ten-piece worship band aged between 8 and 14 years old.  

Musicians Ally Palmer and Matty Stevenson are part of the South West Baptist Church music team and were instrumental in guiding the Kids’ Band through the process of writing, recording and producing the four singles and one music video. Ally says that after releasing a church-wide album (Welcome the Stranger) in 2019, the idea came up to do something similar with the children.  

“We’re really pumped about locally written songs. There’s a lot of kids’ music coming from America and Australia, but how cool is it that our tamariki are writing these songs. It’s an extra resource for churches of Aotearoa to access.”   

The church has a history of having a kids’ worship band that plays at Sunday School but also leads worship in the main service on occasion. Ally says the children who join the band need to be actively working on their skills and taking music lessons. Once they outgrow the kids’ band, many move on to the church’s Youth Band, which plays in the Sunday evening service.  

Comprising three singers, two synths, three guitars, a drummer and a bass player, the band worked with Ally and Matt to write the songs, with input from the wider Sunday School crew for some of the very fun lyrics. The group has plenty of practice time on Sunday mornings, and Matt says they bring a lot of energy to worship sessions. “Now the kids are jumping around and engaged in singing songs about the fruits of the spirit – it’s pretty cool,” he says. “Our sound guy wants to do sound with the kids because it’s more fun in their space.”  

Band member 10-year-old Barnaby Domigan says singing fulfils two of his passions. “I really enjoy music […] and then doing two things I love - singing to God and [making] music - it’s just really exciting to be in Kids’ Band”.  

Ally says the band loves the experience of performing as a group and getting the chance to record. “And now that the songs are out, they are like ‘what, we’re on Spotify!’. We had an EP release day here at church, and everyone heard their songs. Everyone loves seeing the kids worshipping and playing music.”  

Along with releasing four singles, the band have also recorded a music video for ‘Gives us Love’, complete with actions and clear, catchy lyrics. Ally and Matt acknowledge the support of the wider church, with recording studio access kindly donated and production paid for by the church. Each song required about 50 hours of work from inception to release on streaming services.  

An exciting development has been to have the singles included on Radio Rhema’s Sunday Kids Club show playlist. 

Unfailing LoveTrinityGives us Love and Wonderful, from South West Songs are available across all streaming services.  

  

Photo: L-R Barnaby, Amelia, George, Evie, Rose, Sophia, Frankie, Ava, Finn & Zeta 

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