The music notes lifted above the buzz of laughter and friendly conversation.
The core of Soldiers and Sons, brothers Andrew and Matthew Stewart, played a medley of original, secular and worship songs in the Beehive Thursday, Feb. 7.
Coffeehouses are generally routine gatherings to consume late-night caffeine and relax with other students.
The Coffeehouse event is also typically hosted by the Student Activities Board and feature musical artists as well as both hot and iced coffee.
During the musical performances, students typically chat amongst each other casually as they sip their free beverages.
Some type on laptops working on last-minute papers, and others highlight textbooks and create notecards.
Few students though, make the seemingly bold choice to interact with the performers.
The Stewart brothers, however, desired to provide a different atmosphere.
“We love playing covers, we knew this was an environment where we played a lot of stuff that people knew and could sing along to,” Andrew Stewart said. “But we wanted to make sure we mentioned the core and the motive of why we do what we do.”
This sing-along atmosphere allowed students to participate in the performance instead of sitting idly and just listening, as is typical.
Their focus wasn’t entirely on their friendly atmosphere and combined performance with the students, but also making sure that those in attendance were able to hear their story and the true motivation behind their music.
“We love playing music for people, but we’re more interested in the chance to share Christ even if it’s just in-between a couple of songs, because that’s what we’re more about,” Matthew Stewart said. “We don’t define ourselves as
musicians. We define ourselves in the identity of Christ, that’s what we’re more excited to share, more than just playing music for people.”
Their song list featured several worship songs to fulfill audience members spiritually through their music. In between songs, they mentioned their core intention of incorporating biblical messages into their performances.
The Stewart brothers said the impact their father had on their current ministry was essential to their growth as a band.
“Our dad was a huge inspiration to our music; he believed in us before we believed in ourselves,” Matthew Stewart said. “He always was trying to motivate us to pursue it because he saw something we couldn’t see, coming through the tragedy of burying our father, music has helped us cope with that.”
Matthew and Andrew Stewart were born and raised in Waynesburg, and participated as members of the worship team for weekly Tuesday church services and Upper Room. After growing up in this communnity, both have a connection to their hometown. Though they have experienced a myriad of places, both confidently call Waynesburg home.
“There’s just something about Waynesburg, it has an effect on you,” Matthew Stewart said. “The community just has a pull, the people are what makes it remarkable. There’s just this sense of coming back home.”
Andrew Stewart attended Waynesburg University and now works in the IT Department.
His brother was accepted to Waynesburg University but decided to pursue his associates degree at the Community College of Allegheny County.
Both agreed that music was their calling.
“Music is our outlet for sharing our story, we try to leave that with people wherever we go,” Andrew Stewart said. “Not just playing for people, we want it to be a two-way street, we want to connect.”
Matthew Stewart volunteers as the worship leader at the Waynesburg Bible Chapel, and holds a weekly bible study on Tuesday nights at 7:30 at 64 E Wayne St in Waynesburg.