MEET THE BAND
Ebenezer – a name taken from the biblical meaning “stone of help”. The Ebenezer Vocal Band is comprised of five young individuals from the Canadian District who are dedicated and passionate in glorifying God through their gifts. This talented bunch is composed of three lead vocalists: Bro. Kenneth Ines, Sis. Miziel Rivera and Sis. Keren Villareal, a vocal bass:Bro. Daniel Ines and a vocal percussionist: Bro. RJ Rivera.
Versatile, that’s one word that describes this vocal band, hailing from the city of Toronto, Ontario. And so, what makes their music so distinguishable? As an a capella group, their ability to come up with varied sounds, such as singing hymns with a mainstream feel or classically toning down modern Christian songs is what has made their musical style so appealing. Remember, since they are an acapella group, they don’t use any musical instruments yet they can create beautiful music through their mouths, voices and lots of creativity.
They sing in one harmony but individually they have different musical roots, influences and tastes; they listen to almost all kinds of musical genres. When asked about the type of music and the artists they listen to, the members disclosed a long list that could make up a carnival-like playlist. From hard rock to jazz, alternative rock to contemporary pop, their diverse background sums up to what they are today.
Every good band or musical act has a different story to tell on how they started. So how did the Ebenezer Vocal Band start?
“Actually, the vocal band started as an experiment.” Bro. Kenneth, the group leader revealed.
“It was in 2008 while we were preparing for our Father’s Day presentation; we were making different sounds with our mouths and we were trying to see if we can make music out of it. Overtime, it developed and since Pastor Belle is very passionate with music and acapella to be specific, she encouraged us to pursue it. Pastor Belle really supported us.”
There were a few roster changes in the group; one example is when Bro. Simon Relleve, a former member of the first album, left for South Bay, California to enter the Bible School. Yet as years passed along with those changes, they developed and expanded their musical style. The Ebenezer Vocal Band continues to experiment, innovate and improve their music for God’s will. Through the motivating and encouragements of Pastor Isabel Obsanga who also serves as their adviser, they were able to move ahead and journey along the way amidst many obstacles that faces many talents like them. They aren’t professionally trained to begin with but through prayer and constant dedication to what they are doing they were able to hurdle the different struggles set before them.
THE EBENEZER WAY
It’s normal to sing alone. To sing with someone else is slightly more challenging. A collaboration of three may seem harder. But is it difficult to sing with four voices, adding a lip busting beat boxer to the whole? Their answer was a straight YES! Aside from that, another challenge that the vocal band encounters is on how to choose and arrange the songs. It is interesting to know who chooses the songs and how do they transform it into vocal band material.
“I choose the song,” was Bro. Kenneth’s quick response. “I share the song to the rest of the group and from there we start from scratch. We just listen to the song. We don’t know how to arrange or how it will sound like.What we do is we get the chord structure of the song. From there we apply it to vocal notes. We will make different sound with the different parts of the song,”
Bro. RJ added, “I also help in the arrangement of the songs. From there I will improvise some effects that will match the song. I will think of different sound based on it and apply to the set-up.”
PRESENT AND FUTURE
The Ebenezer Vocal Band sings at every special occasion and during big gatherings in Canada. Singing to the Lord in front of thousands of delegates during the International Convention was their most memorable and treasured experience as a group. They already released two albums, The Time Has Come and Our God. Each album, consisting of songs that explore and declare the greatness of God in their lives.
They are currently working on their 3rd album set to be released on this year’s 24th International Convention.Their plan in the future is to seek to explore more deeply in their knowledge of music and to incorporate more genre as possible in their tunes. On a more personal level, their objective is not only to provide good music to the people but to touch them as well. Also, they aim to continue in spreading the faith and growth in service through the songs’ messages, hence, glorifying the name of the Lord. (A. de Vera)