WEST CHICAGO – After playing together at their church youth group’s worship sessions and seeing the response from community members, Matt Ellis and Andrew Denning were inspired to start their own band.
“It just really seemed clear, like, let’s make a Christian band, let’s do something,” lead singer Ellis said.
Bryce Knight and Bradley Kus soon joined to complete the quartet, and the rest was history.
Since the birth of 4th Point more than two years ago, the four juniors at Community High School in West Chicago have gone on to win the Illinois Battle of the Bands at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 17, beating out more than 100 bands who competed at the local, regional and state levels of the competition.
“It’s something I’ll remember forever,” drummer Kus said.
Throughout the Battle of the Bands, 4th Point was the only group of Christian rockers at their competitions.
The band, which is named after the four points of Jesus’ cross, plays a mix of original music and covers. Some of the covers they play would be considered secular music, including songs by artists such as U2, Daughtry and the Goo Goo Dolls, but they say all their performances are consistent with the band’s message to celebrate something greater than themselves.
“If we were just playing music, then that would just kind of be dull, but we’re playing for something a lot more than just the music and for people to be impacted,” Ellis said.
While some of their early songs focused on praising God, their newer work addresses their own personal challenges, lead guitarist Denning said.
“None of us are exceptionally different from anybody else,” he said. “We all go through the same struggles, so I think that in writing about our struggles, we’ll be able to relate to other people and their struggles.”
The bandmates also are starting to write more of their songs as a group, whereas Denning and Ellis previously did most of the writing.
The band has performed at a variety of venues, from West Chicago’s annual Railroad Days festival to neighborhood block parties to church and youth group gatherings.
“Whether it’s a youth group of five people or a concert of 500, a lot of times the five people could be a lot better because everyone’s so into it,” bassist Knight said. “The size of the gig isn’t really as important as how into it the crowd is.”
Their first big performance was at their church, Water’s Edge Bible Church in West Chicago, for a concert in the worship center, which the band packed with their friends from school.
This year, the band took their talents from the stage to the recording studio to create their first album, “The Search and the Find,” which includes 12 original songs.
While the bandmates aren’t sure yet what their future holds, they’re happy to continue performing as much as they can, taking every opportunity they’re given to play and reach as many people as possible.
“My hope is that it really just wouldn’t be a concert, it wouldn’t just be us playing – those are things that as soon as you leave a concert, you can forget those feelings,” Ellis said. “My hope is really that it’s something where God meets that person where they’re at and just that we can be reflectors and give the glory to him up there.”