The School of Worship Band
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The School of Worship Band

Lindale, Texas, United States

Lindale, Texas, United States
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The School of Worship Band plays in Colonial Beach on Jan. 26

Date published: 1/20/2011

By ANDREW LEAHEY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Before settling in Garden Valley, Texas, Cody Merrill moved around a lot as a child.

"Growing up," he said during a recent phone call with Weekender, "it was normal not to think of home as being in one place That's just how it was."

But there was to be a local Virginia stop that would prove pivotal. Merrill's family relocated to King George County during his late teens. He attended King George High School on a part-time basis, and satisfied the rest of his education requirements through homeschooling.

Meanwhile, he dedicated ample time to two of his biggest passions: faith and music.

Merrill showed promise as a jazz musician. He studied under Doug Gately, the University of Mary Washington's director of jazz studies, and played in a jazz combo at school.

When his local church lost its piano player, however, Merrill volunteered to fill the empty spot. Applying what he'd learned on the jazz horn to his new instrument, he quickly became a skilled pianist.

Merrill now plays piano and keyboards for the School of Worship Band, a nationally recognized Christian rock group operating under the umbrella of Teen Mania Ministries.

Although based in Texas, the band also boasts another Virginia native, vocalist Dani Rocca.

"School of Worship isn't just a band," said Rocca, fielding a phone call last Thursday while packing her bags for the group's three-month tour.

They'll be in Virginia next week, performing at New Life Ministries on Jan. 26, before heading south to play Richmond's Acquire the Fire, a teen-oriented event that combines the entertainment of a Christian rock concert with the sermon-like instruction of a church service.

"School of Worship is also a program that raises up worship leaders and musicians," Rocca went on. "The whole point is to connect with a younger generation, to give them the tools to reach out to other people through music and worship.

"It's a three-year program that teaches you how to lead, how to be part of a band, how to mobilize yourself and teach others how to lead worship."

Merrill puts it in simpler terms.

"It's a school, it's a program and it's a band that travels around, leading people into the presence of God. It's a wide, diverse thing." he said.

Casey Flores, a former Teen Mania Ministries intern, is handling logistics for the School of Worship Band's performance at New Life Ministries in Colonial Beach.

"This is big," he exclaimed. "Our church is growing--we just got a new sanctuary--and the musicians in School of Worship are my friends.

"The Bible says that if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you, and one of the ways you do that is through worship. At this worship concert, it's going to be a time when God is going to move."

For people like Merrill and Rocca, though, the Virginia performances also represent a homecoming of sorts.

"We get the opportunity to lead worship at my church after the Richmond event," Rocca said, "so that's really great. Now, people I haven't seen in a while can see what I've done and what the Lord is doing."

Andrew Leahey writes exclusive stories for Weekender, and is an associate editor at allmusic.com. - The Free Lance-Star


The School of Worship Band plays in Colonial Beach on Jan. 26

Date published: 1/20/2011

By ANDREW LEAHEY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Before settling in Garden Valley, Texas, Cody Merrill moved around a lot as a child.

"Growing up," he said during a recent phone call with Weekender, "it was normal not to think of home as being in one place That's just how it was."

But there was to be a local Virginia stop that would prove pivotal. Merrill's family relocated to King George County during his late teens. He attended King George High School on a part-time basis, and satisfied the rest of his education requirements through homeschooling.

Meanwhile, he dedicated ample time to two of his biggest passions: faith and music.

Merrill showed promise as a jazz musician. He studied under Doug Gately, the University of Mary Washington's director of jazz studies, and played in a jazz combo at school.

When his local church lost its piano player, however, Merrill volunteered to fill the empty spot. Applying what he'd learned on the jazz horn to his new instrument, he quickly became a skilled pianist.

Merrill now plays piano and keyboards for the School of Worship Band, a nationally recognized Christian rock group operating under the umbrella of Teen Mania Ministries.

Although based in Texas, the band also boasts another Virginia native, vocalist Dani Rocca.

"School of Worship isn't just a band," said Rocca, fielding a phone call last Thursday while packing her bags for the group's three-month tour.

They'll be in Virginia next week, performing at New Life Ministries on Jan. 26, before heading south to play Richmond's Acquire the Fire, a teen-oriented event that combines the entertainment of a Christian rock concert with the sermon-like instruction of a church service.

"School of Worship is also a program that raises up worship leaders and musicians," Rocca went on. "The whole point is to connect with a younger generation, to give them the tools to reach out to other people through music and worship.

"It's a three-year program that teaches you how to lead, how to be part of a band, how to mobilize yourself and teach others how to lead worship."

Merrill puts it in simpler terms.

"It's a school, it's a program and it's a band that travels around, leading people into the presence of God. It's a wide, diverse thing." he said.

Casey Flores, a former Teen Mania Ministries intern, is handling logistics for the School of Worship Band's performance at New Life Ministries in Colonial Beach.

"This is big," he exclaimed. "Our church is growing--we just got a new sanctuary--and the musicians in School of Worship are my friends.

"The Bible says that if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you, and one of the ways you do that is through worship. At this worship concert, it's going to be a time when God is going to move."

For people like Merrill and Rocca, though, the Virginia performances also represent a homecoming of sorts.

"We get the opportunity to lead worship at my church after the Richmond event," Rocca said, "so that's really great. Now, people I haven't seen in a while can see what I've done and what the Lord is doing."

Andrew Leahey writes exclusive stories for Weekender, and is an associate editor at allmusic.com. - The Free Lance-Star


The School of Worship Band plays in Colonial Beach on Jan. 26

Date published: 1/20/2011

By ANDREW LEAHEY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Before settling in Garden Valley, Texas, Cody Merrill moved around a lot as a child.

"Growing up," he said during a recent phone call with Weekender, "it was normal not to think of home as being in one place That's just how it was."

But there was to be a local Virginia stop that would prove pivotal. Merrill's family relocated to King George County during his late teens. He attended King George High School on a part-time basis, and satisfied the rest of his education requirements through homeschooling.

Meanwhile, he dedicated ample time to two of his biggest passions: faith and music.

Merrill showed promise as a jazz musician. He studied under Doug Gately, the University of Mary Washington's director of jazz studies, and played in a jazz combo at school.

When his local church lost its piano player, however, Merrill volunteered to fill the empty spot. Applying what he'd learned on the jazz horn to his new instrument, he quickly became a skilled pianist.

Merrill now plays piano and keyboards for the School of Worship Band, a nationally recognized Christian rock group operating under the umbrella of Teen Mania Ministries.

Although based in Texas, the band also boasts another Virginia native, vocalist Dani Rocca.

"School of Worship isn't just a band," said Rocca, fielding a phone call last Thursday while packing her bags for the group's three-month tour.

They'll be in Virginia next week, performing at New Life Ministries on Jan. 26, before heading south to play Richmond's Acquire the Fire, a teen-oriented event that combines the entertainment of a Christian rock concert with the sermon-like instruction of a church service.

"School of Worship is also a program that raises up worship leaders and musicians," Rocca went on. "The whole point is to connect with a younger generation, to give them the tools to reach out to other people through music and worship.

"It's a three-year program that teaches you how to lead, how to be part of a band, how to mobilize yourself and teach others how to lead worship."

Merrill puts it in simpler terms.

"It's a school, it's a program and it's a band that travels around, leading people into the presence of God. It's a wide, diverse thing." he said.

Casey Flores, a former Teen Mania Ministries intern, is handling logistics for the School of Worship Band's performance at New Life Ministries in Colonial Beach.

"This is big," he exclaimed. "Our church is growing--we just got a new sanctuary--and the musicians in School of Worship are my friends.

"The Bible says that if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you, and one of the ways you do that is through worship. At this worship concert, it's going to be a time when God is going to move."

For people like Merrill and Rocca, though, the Virginia performances also represent a homecoming of sorts.

"We get the opportunity to lead worship at my church after the Richmond event," Rocca said, "so that's really great. Now, people I haven't seen in a while can see what I've done and what the Lord is doing."

Andrew Leahey writes exclusive stories for Weekender, and is an associate editor at allmusic.com. - The Free Lance-Star


The School of Worship Band plays in Colonial Beach on Jan. 26

Date published: 1/20/2011

By ANDREW LEAHEY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Before settling in Garden Valley, Texas, Cody Merrill moved around a lot as a child.

"Growing up," he said during a recent phone call with Weekender, "it was normal not to think of home as being in one place That's just how it was."

But there was to be a local Virginia stop that would prove pivotal. Merrill's family relocated to King George County during his late teens. He attended King George High School on a part-time basis, and satisfied the rest of his education requirements through homeschooling.

Meanwhile, he dedicated ample time to two of his biggest passions: faith and music.

Merrill showed promise as a jazz musician. He studied under Doug Gately, the University of Mary Washington's director of jazz studies, and played in a jazz combo at school.

When his local church lost its piano player, however, Merrill volunteered to fill the empty spot. Applying what he'd learned on the jazz horn to his new instrument, he quickly became a skilled pianist.

Merrill now plays piano and keyboards for the School of Worship Band, a nationally recognized Christian rock group operating under the umbrella of Teen Mania Ministries.

Although based in Texas, the band also boasts another Virginia native, vocalist Dani Rocca.

"School of Worship isn't just a band," said Rocca, fielding a phone call last Thursday while packing her bags for the group's three-month tour.

They'll be in Virginia next week, performing at New Life Ministries on Jan. 26, before heading south to play Richmond's Acquire the Fire, a teen-oriented event that combines the entertainment of a Christian rock concert with the sermon-like instruction of a church service.

"School of Worship is also a program that raises up worship leaders and musicians," Rocca went on. "The whole point is to connect with a younger generation, to give them the tools to reach out to other people through music and worship.

"It's a three-year program that teaches you how to lead, how to be part of a band, how to mobilize yourself and teach others how to lead worship."

Merrill puts it in simpler terms.

"It's a school, it's a program and it's a band that travels around, leading people into the presence of God. It's a wide, diverse thing." he said.

Casey Flores, a former Teen Mania Ministries intern, is handling logistics for the School of Worship Band's performance at New Life Ministries in Colonial Beach.

"This is big," he exclaimed. "Our church is growing--we just got a new sanctuary--and the musicians in School of Worship are my friends.

"The Bible says that if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you, and one of the ways you do that is through worship. At this worship concert, it's going to be a time when God is going to move."

For people like Merrill and Rocca, though, the Virginia performances also represent a homecoming of sorts.

"We get the opportunity to lead worship at my church after the Richmond event," Rocca said, "so that's really great. Now, people I haven't seen in a while can see what I've done and what the Lord is doing."

Andrew Leahey writes exclusive stories for Weekender, and is an associate editor at allmusic.com. - The Free Lance-Star


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The School of Worship is not just a band, but a movement of equipping and mobilizing young worship leaders and musicians all across the country. These young people are passionate about pouring back into their generation with their music. Through songwriting, worship leading, concerts, and band workshops, they are reaching out to see others like themselves raised up to know God and live out the purpose God has on their lives. Their newly released sophomore album, titled "Christ In Me" is currently available in Christian bookstores all across the country. Just in the past two years, The School of Worship Band has toured all over America with Teen Mania's youth event, "Acquire The Fire", playing in front of over 200,000 people each year. This movement is sweeping internationally as they played in Mexico, Canada, and throughout the country of Norway. This up and coming band has had the privilege to play with respected bands such as Newsboys, Kutless, Skillet, Leeland, David Crowder Band, Israel & New Breed, and more! Yet wherever they go and in everything they do, their heartbeat is simply to see God lifted up...just as their new song release "Christ In Me" declares, "We lift You up higher and higher...we proclaim that You are God!"