Musician Ike Ndolo will be leading worship at the first Steubenville Youth Conference to be held in Toronto. Photo by Matt Priestley

Music draws attention to the Lord

By 
  • June 5, 2014

When Steubenville youth conferences were fairly new to Washington, musician Ike Ndolo was leading worship during Saturday night adoration. Adoration on the second of this three-night Catholic conference for teens is usually a high point of the weekend. But on one particular Saturday night, Ndolo and the band had stopped playing — but the crowd just kept on singing.

“It was awesome. It was amazing. It was beautiful. Probably one of my favourite moments,” said Ndolo, who adds that his favourite songs are always going to be the ones where the teens sing along.

“We pick songs that would really encourage the kids to sing, to pray and to really dive into moments of worship that lead them into profound moments of an encounter with Christ,” he said. “No matter where this conference starts, I always feel like we get to Saturday night (and) we have that powerful encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.”

Ndolo has been playing at Steu-benville conferences for about eight years and this year he will be belting out his vocal talents for youth conferences in four cities across North America. He will be leading worship in Toronto’s first Steubenville conference July 4 to 6.

“Music is a powerful conduit for emotions and feelings and all these things. In the context of a youth conference, music is a language of young people. When the music is done well, and when it’s done not to draw attention to the musician, but to draw attention to Christ, it can be particularly powerful and I know from experience, being a teen in the seats when I was a young kid, how impactful the music was,” said Ndolo.

He takes the year’s theme into consideration when planning his performance; he finds this year’s conference theme, “God is,” broad, yet all encompassing.

Young people attending the conference can expect to hear a few selections from Ndolo’s two albums — Rivers (2013) and We are the beggars (2009) — as well as covers of songs by other artists. Those performing with Ndolo include Zorn McGuire on drums, James Salas on keys, John Bertucci on electric guitar and Jacob Lisenbe on bass. Conference speaker Jackie Francois Angel will also be periodically singing on stage.

“The end goal is to lead one soul to Christ or lead them closer to Christ through song, through worship and through praise,” said Ndolo. “My approach, I tell the band, is to disappear. We’re not here for ourselves. We’re not here to become a name. We’re here to lift up the name of Jesus and that’s always where I want to come from. As broken as I am, that’s where I really want to approach these con-ferences and moments of worship.” 

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