Harmony Uses Voices to Share Gospel
Story by Bryant Smith
Harmony is a gospel quartet, known for their a cappella harmonious sound. Their goal is to captivate audiences by singing the message of Jesus Christ. “Saving souls one note at a time,” is Harmony’s motto, made up of singers (pictured clockwise) Haven James, Tirzah Hawley, Chris Upchurch and Samara Orr.
As toddlers, and later in youth choir and praise team, these four formed a special bond at Allegheny West Conference's (AWC) Ephesus church in Columbus, Ohio. One Friday evening, they realized that this bond knew no musical bounds.
“The lead musician, Reyguel Nious, was playing the song ‘Silver and Gold’ after praise team rehearsal,” says Samara Orr. “We joined in singing, and that was the first time the four of us heard ourselves outside of other groups and choirs and instantly noticed we had an unique sound! That’s how the group got started!”
In 2008, at the age of 17, they started the group Harmony, and have had the opportunity to sing in area churches and travel outside Ohio to minister to other denominations.
“We want people to know that we are a group bonded by our love of music and our love for Christ, which empowers us to share the gospel through music. ‘Harmony’ stands for the parts that we sing and the type of unity we have for each other,” says Chris Upchurch. Haven James adds, “We are all different people in personalities and sing different parts, but we blend together to make one cohesive sound and group!”
John Boston, former pastor of the Central church in Ohio, and Noah Washington, pastor of the Ephesus church, opened their doors for Harmony’s first and second concerts. Since then they’ve performed many concerts and have been featured on stages with eight-time Grammy winner Joel Kibble of Take 6, five-time Grammy winner Larnelle Harris of the Gaither Homecoming group and 3ABN singer and director of world evangelism John Lomacang.
Harmony gives credit to many people who have helped and encouraged them along their path, such as music coordinator Elaine Arthur and Pastor Bron Jacobs of the Community Praise Church in Alexandria, Va., as well as Charde Hollins, the director of Young Adult Ministries for AWC.
Also instrumental in their development, Grammy-nominated and Dove Winner Yvonne Lewis-Shelton; general manager of Dare to Dream Network and Grammy nominated singer Wintley Phipps; and four-time Grammy nominated David Phelps have served as mentors to this 10-year-old group.
Many churches, conferences and schools are recognizing Harmony’s talents. Recently the Oakwood Alumni Association (Ala.) asked Harmony to sing their signature song, “These Are They,” at the 2018 alumni weekend. A couple months later, Allegheny East Conference organizers invited them to sing at the main pavilion during camp meeting and opened for Michael Kelly, senior pastor of the Mt. Rubidoux church (Calif.).
Harmony’s influence has stretched beyond the Adventist Church into other denominations. WVKO 1580, a local praise radio station in Columbus, has interviewed Harmony and has played their music numerous times. Harmony participated in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration event in Columbus. Also, the Jerusalem Second Baptist church in Urbana, Ohio, led by pastor Michael Freeman and his wife, Tishia, have been a great and supportive influence through the years.
“Harmony is on a mission to be the millennials who help the Seventh-day Adventist Church finish spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost, struggling, hurting and forgotten world by our singing and sharing Him through music,” says Tirzah Hawley.
For more information about Harmony, email HarmonySingers2016@gmail.com, call (614) 484-2712 or find them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.