Upon students’ return to campus, Upper Room started up their worship nights as usual; they had their first worship night of the semester outside. Normally, they would continue weekly worship nights in Roberts Chapel on Sunday nights, but due to COVID-19, their new normal will be outside for the rest of the semester.
“I think our plan so far is to go more of an outdoor acoustic set most of the weeks and once a month we’re going to do a full drum set, all guitars, all instruments… as much as the weather allows we’ll be having Upper Room outside,” senior athletic training major and drummer for Upper Room Marco Herrera said.
Over Labor Day weekend, Upper Room performed an acoustic set since some of the band was taking the holiday weekend off. The acoustic set was titled “Upper Room: Unplugged”.
Joshua Hughes, junior digital design major and vocalist for Upper Room, pointed out the flautist, newcomer Ashley Smith, and how she was able to bring out her more-classical instrument into a worship setting and stand out during acoustic performances.
“[The flute] is a really cool instrument to bring into a worship setting,” Hughes said. “We had a more acoustic set and you were really able to hear Ashley playing.”
With listening to music, Upper Room demonstrates a valuable worship environment, according to junior education major and acoustic guitarist Sophie Kipe.
“I’d say it’s pretty multi-faceted since it is like a worship service. I say the primary [goal] is to glorify the Lord in community,” Kipe said.
Senior communication major and guitarist Jarrett Choi said the set-up process for Upper Room can be tedious with having to follow sanitizing protocols and moving equipment from Roberts Chapel down to the front of the Goodwin Performing Arts Center each Sunday.
The COVID-19 guidelines and best practices require that students sit six feet apart from each other during the service.
“I’m used to going around and high-fiving everyone and giving everyone hugs and stuff and it just wasn’t allowed. I don’t know, that’s probably been the hardest thing for me,” Herrera said.
The team also credits University Chaplain Josh Sumpter for helping give Upper Room the opportunity to still perform despite most campus events being moved online.
Weather permitting, the Upper Room team will be outside on Sunday nights by Johnson Commons, giving students the opportunity to still sing and worship in-person.