The original group was recruited by Calvary's then-pastor David
Mullen. After rehearsals during the summer of 1998, they began a
weekly contemporary service on Sunday evenings. The original group
Jamie Topper - Guitar/vocals/group leader
Elaine Wersky - Keyboards/flute/vocals/musical director
Pete Weber - Guitar/flute/percussion/vocals
Matt Linder - Bass
Bethany Carlson - Vocals
Kellene Kozub - Vocals
Nancy Moormeier - Vocals
Marti Felter joined the group on vocals after a few weeks.
Elaine, a public school music teacher, had access to percussion instruments
and introduced them to the group. Soon, they were occasionally joined on congas by Roger Linder,
but he was not yet an "official" member. In time, Kellene and
Nancy left the group.
In 1999, the evening service was discontinued, and the music team
played at the regular Sunday morning services about once monthly. When
Matt was unable to continue due to work commitments, Roger stepped in
to play the bass.
Bethany left for a year to accompany her son Chris, who was with
the touring company of Les Miserables.
Janelle McMillan joined on vocals.
Dylan Espegren, son of our Intern Pastor
Frank Espegren, joined briefly on percussion.
During this time, the
group began playing more frequently during services and ended up
playing every other week. The format of the Easter Vigil service fit
the group well, and it became a standard part of their schedule over
the next few years, including a service with Bishop Mattheis.
In 2000, the group was recruited by Elaine to put together a
concert to support her participation in a marathon raising funds for
Cancer research. It was at this concert that the name "How
Majestic" was first used. The name was suggested by Roger because
one of the most frequently played songs in their repertoire was
"How Majestic Is Your Name" by Michael W. Smith. The message
in the title seemed pretty clear.
The focus of the group began to change and instead of only
leading worship, the group also sought out other opportunities to play
together. They soon were asked to play at weddings, ordinations,
special services and other church gatherings. In addition, a
Sacramento Conference assembly allowed them to be exposed to a larger
audience when it was held at Calvary. They would go on to play at two
other Conference assemblies. In addition, they played at a special
exchange service where Bishop William Wiegand of the Sacramento
Diocese and Pastor Mullen exchanged pulpits.
By 2000, Matt was able to rejoin the group and Roger moved to
guitar. Before year's end, Jamie and Elaine had left, Bethany returned and Marti became
the group leader. Bethany was asked to fill in on keyboards.
With Elaine's departure, the borrowed percussion instruments departed as well.
However, Elaine made a gift of several new shakers and tambourines.
How Majestic purchased its own set of congas.
Roger and Bethany shared the musical director role.
Ted Shieberl joined the group on vocals and Carol
Milloway joined on guitar and vocals.
With Roger and Carol on guitars,
Pete took the opportunity to switch to percussion. The congas became an
important part of How Majestic's sound.
In 2001, Roger proposed that the group create and perform a rock
opera. After some discussion and input from Pastor Mullen, they
decided to move forward with a post-Easter story, which eventually was
titled "40 Days: Resurrection to Ascension." Roger had
previously written the music used for the show, and Roger and Bethany
collaborated to develop all new lyrics. After a few months of
development and rehearsal, the rock opera was performed at Calvary on
May 6, 2001. Group members Marti, Roger, Ted, Janelle, Bethany and
Matt took on various roles, with Pastor Mullen taking on the role of
Jesus. Since that time, several of the songs have remained in the
group's repertoire, especially "Breath of The Spirit".
During 2001, Linda Griffith occasionally joined the group
on vocals and John Kreutzer became the backup bassist as Matt's
availability once again became limited. John proposed a service based
on the musical concept of using rock music songs with a religious
theme, and the idea was further developed and used as a "Rock
Music Sunday" where the group featured songs like "Spirit In
The Sky" and "Jesus Is Just Alright," popular radio
favorites in the 1970s. The concept was very well received by the
In 2002, Pastor Mullen was elected Bishop of the Sierra Pacific
Synod, and How Majestic was asked to play at a Sacramento Conference
reception honoring him and at his installation service in Stockton.
Exposure at this service, with about 700 in attendance, led to
additional requests from other churches, including Atonement and Our
Redeemer, and a third Sacramento Conference assembly at American
Lutheran in Woodland. A second "Rock Music Sunday" was
developed with songs of "Love, Support and Friendship" as
the theme. The song "Shine" has become a regular part of
their repertoire since then. Marti left the group in the fall (and
helped to establish a contemporary team at Advent Lutheran), and
Bethany took on a more limited role as an occasional member. Roger
assumed the group leadership.
In 2003, John became the permanent bassist with Matt's departure.
How Majestic led a weekly Taizé service during Lent,
and continued it bi-weekly afterwards.
They were asked to participate
in Calvary's entry for the North Highlands Memorial Day parade, and to
appear on Lutherans ALIVE! in October. Cathy Kreutzer
joined the group during the summer on vocals.
For the Lutherans ALIVE! taping, group members Linda
Griffith, Cathy Kreutzer, John Kreutzer, Roger Linder, Janelle
McMillan and Pete Weber performed "Shine," "Breath
of the Spirit" and "How Majestic Is Your Name."
To wrap up the year, they played at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemder's 50th anniversary celebration,
Pastor Martin Lettow's installation service,
and did Christmas caroling in Rio Linda.
For a brief time in early 2004, Teri Delise
joined the group on keyboards, then in the fall Andrew Davis
took over that role.
The group continued to expand their appearances with concerts and services
for Sierra Pacific Synod Gathering 2004 worship,
Rio Linda's 10th annual Farm and Tractor Days,
the Dorothy Booker Interfaith Musicale,
"Celebrate America!" Memorial Day event at Advent Lutheran Church,
"Worship in the Park" at Rio Linda Depot Park,
the "Lutherans ALIVE!" GALA Celebration event and will wrap up the year
with a special selection of Christmas carols at the Governor's Mansion and Christmas caroling
in Rio Linda.
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