transMission standard ‘Stand Up’ reimagined, reworked

By: Brad Rowland

Since its release as part of an album titled “The World For God” in 2009, “Stand Up” has been a fixture for transMission, The Salvation Army’s contemporary worship outfit in the Southern Territory. The song, written by Marty Mikles and inspired by a traditional hymn titled “Stand Up and Bless the Lord,” is often requested when the group leads worship, and the song is both upbeat and energetic.

More than a decade after its original release, though, transMission collaborated with Swedish recording artist Samuel Ljungblahd and Ronnie Murchison on a reimagining of the song. Eventually, the new arrangement came to light in video form at the conclusion of the commissioning and ordination service for the Messengers of the Kingdom.

The video and audio recording, produced remotely with the exception of drums, was inspired both by the virtual circumstances and Ljungblahd himself.

“Because people were needing and wanting videos like this for their corps and ministries, we were asking, ‘What should we do?’ and thinking about next steps,” said Bernie Dake, assistant territorial music secretary. “From there, we just felt like we wanted to do as much as we could and, in talking to Samuel (Ljungblahd) about how they are dealing with COVID-19 overseas, he mentioned how he thought we should produce ‘Stand Up’ in this format. But we didn’t want to just reproduce what we already had, and I asked him if he was willing to sing on it. We then expanded it, reaching out to Ronnie Murchison and others to put their energy behind it, and it all came together.”

With haste, the project expanded, eventually including musicians from all corners of the United States and the world.

“After sharing it with some of our peers that have participated in transMission in some way over the years, things expanded. We quickly realized that it was becoming something of an homage,” Dake said. “Some of the parts changed, for example, and it was more of a tribute, or a reimagining, to the original song, more than a replication. We haven’t been able to record the song live in a way that we thought represented what we were hearing in our hearts and minds, so we thought this was our one chance. We gathered friends from all over the world, from different territories and right here at home, and we had a lot of fun in worship.”

Much of the arrangement centered on the original but with a few key tweaks. Jonathan Alfredsson, a piano player who often accompanies Ljungblahd, sprinkled in his own flavor to the keyboard part. Victor Morales, a Salvation Army musician from Puerto Rico, added energy with electric guitar, and Darryl Crossland, assistant divisional music director for the Florida Division, put together an updated brass arrangement to match the changes. Finally, Dake reached out to Natalie Ragins, a renowned organ player, to add a particular flourish to the piece of music.

“We met Natalie, who Samuel had met when he opened for Kirk Franklin, previously and she was so gracious and loving,” said Dake. “I haven’t seen her since, but we called her and told her we were redoing a song that could use some of her special touch. She was more than happy to help, and I think that was really the icing on the cake.”

The video, which can be seen below, is available for download on Ministry Toolkit, as well as streaming on YouTube and Facebook. In the first two weeks after its release, the video reached more than 14,000 viewers, clearly garnering an audience that enjoyed the new look and feel.

Many were moved by the new version of “Stand Up,” including the song’s original author in Mikles, who played acoustic guitar for the recording. Dake describes Mikles as “blown away” by the reimagining, saying it is “truly a blessing” to receive that level of feedback from the individual that penned the song.

During this challenging time, the idea to re-record the song may have been simple on the surface, but the collaboration has already been fruitful. While the song itself is more than a decade old, its impact continues and, with this release, could be refreshed and shared with a new audience.

“I thank the Lord for a constant reminder that we don’t know, when we’re creating something, how it can and will be used,” Dake said. “God continues to prove his faithfulness and he uses things to his glory in spite of ourselves. Sometimes we are too close to it to realize the impact, but to see others aiming to produce resources and worship alongside us, is really humbling. It’s amazing, really. To God be the glory.”