When California Baptist University closed its campus and moved to an online format, so did Chapel, and with it, Chapel worship. Chapel worship has been recorded with band members performing separately and combining performances together to lead CBU students in worship for the past year. However, with the release of Chapel No. 15, students see the return of in-person worship performed on stage in the Events Center.
Joshua Ledezma, senior commercial performance major, has been a part of the Chapel worship team for 4 years.
“I think it was a blessing that we were still able to record separately from our homes,” Ledezma shared. “But it was definitely a difficult process for all of our worship team members. For us singers, specifically, it was hard because we weren’t able to blend with one another and feed off of each other’s energy while we were recording.”
Ledezma also explained the recording process that went into bringing virtual worship.
“We would all virtually meet together on a Monday night to discuss which Chapel set we were recording and other things such as the songs, layouts, technical aspects and the recording process,” Ledezma said. “We would receive the tracks for the assigned songs and would then have the rest of the week to record vocals or instruments along with a video and upload it by Friday night. Then our amazing post-production team would have two weeks to mix and edit everything before the Chapel aired for students.”
With the previous rise of COVID-19 cases and the need for social distancing and, moving worship performance to a separate recording format was the only way to continue to have worship for Chapel through the past school year. However, with the slow decline of COVID-19 cases and institutions slowly starting to open, worship performance is able to return while still maintaining social distance and safety measures.
Ledezma shared how different it is to perform in-person as well as the safety measures the band is following to make this possible.
“Chapel worship is a lot different on stage, we are all able to worship and blend together, resulting in a better atmosphere when we are all on stage together. We are using all COVID safety protocols to make sure that our recordings are as safe as possible. Each singer is required to be tested before coming to record, all of our members and production team must wear a mask at all times —singers are allowed to take it off when we record— and we are all social distanced with clear shields dividing each of our singers.”
Though this may seem like a small addition to student life, this new transition shows students that things are slowly returning to normal. Even something such as online worship featuring in-person performance, brings a feeling of hope and anticipation for when students can sing together again.
Ledezma said he is excited for students to be able to worship together in person soon.
“Not only am I excited to be able to record with everyone in the Events Center again, but I am more excited to return back to in-person Chapel in the fall.” Ledezma said. “Although it might look different, it’s going to be amazing to have all of our students back in the Events Center worshiping together.”
Mike Contreras, sophomore applied theology major, shared his thoughts about the return of in-person worship.
“I am stoked to see worship back recording from the Events Center as it reminds me of in person chapels.” Contreras shared. “I hope for the best with COVID this summer and that we can again worship with our fellow CBU students in person.”
The new in-person worship format for online Chapel will be featured for the remaining few chapels for this semester.