New transMission release celebrates our ‘Unfailing God’
By: Brad Rowland
Since emerging from a Territorial Youth Institute in 2002, transMission has been producing music and resources for the USA Southern Territory. During that 18-year period, 10 different projects have been recorded, with more than 100 songs or arrangements. Albums usually arrive in a regular cycle, with new material released in record form every two and three years. The schedule called for an album release in 2020, and while the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the full release of a new record, the decision was made to release a single, titled “Unfailing God,” in late April.
“What we started to notice as the album production continued is that a lot of the songs and themes led to God’s faithfulness,” said Chris Hofer, territorial music education production specialist. “It seemed timely when the COVID-19 outbreak started happening.”
Rachel Wiley, assistant divisional music director for the Georgia Division, and Jeff Cain combined to pen the words to “Unfailing God,” and the song immediately became something of an anthem across the territory. The choice to release the song first also wasn’t an accident, with the theme of God’s faithfulness permeating through the decision and the release itself.
“We thought this would be a great time to look at one of the songs on the record, especially with this record being centered on a theme of faithfulness,” said Joshua Powell, territorial contemporary music specialist. “God is faithful to us through all generations. He is faithful to me in my life, and we’re also looking at our faithfulness to him as well.”
“Especially in that first week when we started quarantining, we thought it was a good time to have something meaningful and hopeful to put out into the world,” Hofer said. “There seemed to be this overwhelming feeling of anxiousness and worry all around us, and we thought it was a great time to get this song out there and hopefully lift people up as a result.”
All of transMission’s resources, including charts, lead sheets and accompaniment tracks, are available at the group’s dedicated website. In addition to those resources, the challenging times influenced by COVID-19 also led to the creation of an additional element, with the choice to release a lyric video along with the single itself. The reasoning behind that choice was two-fold, with consideration to speed of delivery and implementation.
“When you go to release something, even in the best of times, it takes a couple of weeks to show up on the major streaming platforms,” Powell said. “Right now, that timeframe is even longer. We wanted to get this out quickly to help people and decided to release it in video form to make sure we could do that.”
“Within only a couple of days, some of our divisional music and arts personnel were using the lyric video to enhance their resources,” said Bernie Dake, assistant territorial music secretary. “That is so encouraging to me, and the feedback has been tremendously positive as people become acquainted with the song, the video and the message behind it.”
Corps and divisions across the USA Southern Territory have already implemented the lyric video in virtual services, allowing for worship that can be shared with the backdrop of high-quality music and an aesthetically pleasing visual experience.
“The lyric video is designed to create another resource that is slightly different and for people to be able to utilize it during this time,” said Hofer. “I think the visual part of it helps to enhance it and, with so many corps producing virtual services right now, it is something that can be inserted quite easily.”
“We’re seeing that people are using many of our tracks and having them as background music for well-produced videos,” Powell said. “That is encouraging to see, and we want people to use the resources in the best way they see fit.”
In the near future, transMission plans to release two additional singles in advance of the full album release, and the “Unfailing God” single is now available on all streaming platforms. The record, currently untitled, is expected to arrive late summer, but there are numerous resources already available for consumption. Many of the previously recorded materials have been utilized during this challenging time.
“The tracks and charts, especially during this time, have become important to our divisional music and arts employees in particular,” Dake said. “They’re trying to encourage folks to participate virtually and we’re trying to help with these resources.”
“In an era that has a lot of uncertainty about jobs, about health and all kinds of things, this was the song that really came forward to us,” said Powell. “God is truly unfailing. He knows our story. He’s planned our way, and he has a plan for us.”