Psalms Project to play RCC this weekend
July 24. 2012 12:36PM
Sunday night will bring scriptural music to River Community Church in Dell Rapids, as a July 29 evening performance by The Psalms Project, begun by musician and songwriter Shane Heilman, will be open to the public.
Heilman, who became a Christian as a teenager, was drawn to guitar and started an alternative rock band to play for Sunday worship for several years. After moving to Nashville the group disbanded, after which Shane spent four years in Tennessee writing and performing. He moved back to Sioux Falls in 2003 and is back to worship music at his church.
The Psalms Project began in 2006, when Heilman was on a mission trip in White River, near the Rosebud Reservation. It was there that he felt the urge to put Psalm 1 to music.
“I knew the idea of setting the Psalms to music was nothing new, but I became tantalized by the idea of setting (them) to music and including the essential meaning of every verse, instead of gutting and censoring the Psalms and isolating some verses from their context,” he said.
The idea was to help the Psalms speak for themselves, using music to push through a more emotional delivery, according to the musician.
Though the second song was a long time coming, about three years, Heilman finished up the first 10 Psalms with enough material to record an album.
The “project” includes more than 30 musicians and songwriters from the Sioux Falls area, including some from various parts of the United States. Heilman said that a crew of 28 people was involved in recording the first Psalms Project album, which included a different lead singer on each track.
“There is a core group of musicians but also a vast outer fringe of people that all contribute in unique ways,” he said. “The Psalms Project, I believe, is my ultimate calling in music, and I plan to see it through all 150 Psalms, which would be an epic 15-album collection.”
The impact that the group’s music has is something that Heilman enjoys a great deal.
“The message and the poetry of each Psalm is so emotionally rich and intense and, ultimately, most travel from a place of struggle and doubt to a place of faith and peace,” he said.
In addition, the group’s performances raise funds as a non-profit organization that benefits world missions.
“I hope (the audience) comes away encouraged that God is sovereign, God is for us, He is active in our lives and He is working out His purpose in the midst of our sorrow in pain.”
The group’s first album, Volume I: Psalms 1-10, can be purchased on online, and tracks from the album can be heard at reverbnation.com/thepsalmsproject.