Growing up in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s I attended a fairly progressive, charismatic church in Canada. The music we used was current for the time and largely sourced from four places: Maranatha Music, Vineyard Music, Music from the UK (often imported to our church through church conferences) and Integrity Music.
It would not be an overstatement to suggest that Integrity Music, specifically their Hosanna! Music series of live worship recordings, influenced and changed the way North America worships. In North America, prior to Integrity Music, the primary source for worship music was Maranatha Music who began capturing music birthed from the Jesus Movement in the early 1970’s. Whereas Maranatha pioneered the genre, Integrity brought it to the masses through unique circumstances.
Around 1982, Grace Outreach Center in Missouri produced a live worship album titled “Behold His Majesty”. The album opened with Pastor Jack Hayford’s signature song, “Majesty”. The live album was led by Grace’s worship leader, Ron Tucker who also doubled as lead teaching pastor. Ron’s value of worship with the Word made for a seamless service as he blended the two together under his leadership. The project was produced by a young fledgling producer in his early 20’s named Tom Brooks.
Meanwhile down in Mobile, Alabama two young entrepreneurs, Michael Coleman and Ed Lindquist were hard at work wrapping up a Christian magazine called “New Wine” that had run its course. This magazine featured charismatic preachers, many from the “shepherding movement” and the penultimate issue was to feature none other than Pastor Jack Hayford.
Having received a copy of Grace Outreach Center’s live worship recording, “Behold His Majesty” and being impressed with their lively, Spirit-led brand of worship, Coleman reached out to Grace Outreach Center to ask if they could advertise the recording in tandem with their feature on Hayford. With Hayford’s song, “Majesty” as the opening track, it seemed like a natural fit.
The response to the advertisement for the recording was far more than Coleman expected. Coleman, Lindquist and producer Tom Brooks met together to discuss the future. Although the magazine had run its course, Coleman sensed that God was doing a new thing through live worship recordings and wondered if the magazine subscription model could be used to resource the church with new, fresh songs of worship. After consulting with Brooks on his stamina and availability to produce a new worship recording within the eight week subscription cycle, the Hosanna! Music series was born.
Using his existing subscribers, Coleman offered them a new tape of live worship captured from churches all around America every eight weeks. Subscribers could listen to the tape for free, and return it for a refund if they didn’t like the recording. The response was unfathomable and it ushered in an unprecedented period where Tom Brooks arranged, engineered and produced more than 100 live recordings in over 15+ years.
The Hosanna! Music series gave platform to many well-loved worship leaders including Don Moen, Robin Mark, Darlene Zschech/Hillsong, Paul Baloche, Marty Nystrom, Kent Henry, Randy Rothwell, Graham Kendrick, Bob Fitts and Ron Kenoly among many others. The Hosanna! Music series became a primary source for many churches to discover new songs of worship including favorites like, “Give Thanks”, “Shout to the Lord”, “Ancient of Days”, “More Precious Than Silver”, “God will Make A Way”, “Days of Elijah” and “Open the Eyes of My Heart”, many of which are still sung in churches around the globe today.
Being a great lover of history, specifically worship history, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, Tom Brooks who was instrumental (no pun intended!) in bringing these recordings to life. As chief in-house producer/arranger/engineer for the Hosanna! Music series, Tom was called by God to be one of the chief architects of the sound of worship from this era. It would not be a stretch to suggest that the worship movement would not have musically evolved the way it has apart from Tom’s contributions. The live worship albums he produced have sold in the multi-millions and have decorated him with numerous accolades including multiple Grammy and Dove Awards.
Considerably thorough (two parts, each 90 minutes), this interview chronicles the early days of Hosanna! Music roughly between 1982-1996 and celebrates the unique work of God birthed in Michael Coleman and Ed Lindquist and brought to life in part through Tom Brooks’ production.
I hope you enjoy watching this interview as much as I enjoyed facilitating it.
Next Week: Hosanna! Music: 8×8: The Best of the Best