The Ransom Project
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The Ransom Project


Band Christian Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Local Christian band, the Ransom Project, releases first CD"

The first two tracks of "How Would I Live" open with high-energy drumming, guitar riffs and choruses not incongruous with a pop CD by four young musicians. But though they might agree that they are heavily influenced by a number of indie artists, the four Mennonites credit Jesus Christ as having the greatest effect on their music.

The CD is by the local Christian band, The Ransom Project, its name taken from a verse in Matthew, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Jon Miiller plays the drums, lives in Tiffin and has a day job at Younker's in Iowa City.

Playing guitar and writing the lyrics and music for their first CD is Nevin Bontrager, who lives in Kalona and works at Kalona Tire. He also supplies backup vocals.

Tim Bender plays bass guitar, lives in North English and works at the All Natural Farmers' Creamery (with an extra responsibility of supplying his bandmates with organic chocolate milk).

Rodney Gehman of rural Kalona is a founding member of the band's previous persona of O2, which formed to play at local Mennonite services in 2002. He plays guitar and keyboard, along with supplying the main vocals.

Their next gig will be at 6 p.m., Sunday, May 3, at the Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church. Scheduled for July, the band will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to perform at the annual weeklong Mennonite Youth Convention.

Gehman said they play at a lot of youth-oriented gatherings, such as retreats and camps. They've also played at Kalona Days.

Their first CD boast six songs - "Mighty Fortress," "The Devil Knows All the Ways," "Give You Rest," "How Would I Live," "Start at the Heart" and "Someone Left the World Tonight."

Though all the songs are easily recognizable as having Christian themes, the four musicians admit these songs are a change from the "worship band's" usual "church music."

"These are songs that God has birthed in Nevin over the last few years and we felt like we needed to share them with you all," Gehman writes on the band's website, "even though we might not get a chance to play them in worship settings very often."

"Someone Left the World Tonight" diverges the most from the other tracks on the CD. Plaintively sung by Gehman with a simple guitar accompaniment, it was written by Bontrager after an acquaintance committed suicide. In it, Bontrager wonders "why some people live and why some people do not make it through the night. And my heart goes out to all who've lost, and all the ones who bear their cross, to make it through another day. This is for those who left this world tonight, the loved ones that they left behind, the ones we'll see in heaven again. This is for those who left in their own time, and all the ones they left behind, who couldn't say goodbye to their friends…"

The CD was produced and engineered by Grant Beachy of Electric Angel Studios, a friend who lives in Chicago. It was recorded at Point Row Studios, a rural Kalona studio built by Atlee and Carolyn Yoder.

The CD cover design and artwork is by Gehman Photography, a wedding and lifestyle studio owned by Gehman and his wife, Jodi.

Samples of The Ransom Project's music can be heard on their website, They can also be contacted at the site about appearances and bookings.
- Kalona News


1) How Would I Live EP. It's on iTunes, but no streaming or radio play that we know of.

2) Asleep At The Helm (Single). It's available as a free mp3 download ONLY from our Facebook page



We started out leading worship at a church for youth and young adults. We played mostly cover songs and built a strong following over the years. Nowadays, The Ransom Project is really two bands in one: 1) a worship band that covers popular worship songs, leading singing at camps, retreats, churches and conventions and 2) a pop/rock band that writes it's own music, performs concerts and headlines shows.

Our main goal as a band is to show people that worshiping God doesn't have to be boring... it can be fun and powerful, reverent and loud all at the same time.

What sets us apart from other bands is that we're not trying to repeat any one band's lyrics or music. We just play music that we like. In fact we've been told that no two of our songs sound the same. We just sound like music we would like to listen to.