New music, new sound for SAGU's Harvesters

Vocal group embraces contemporary style while paying tribute to gospel roots

SAGU Marketing
The Harvesters are (left to right) Joran Spangler, Josef Matthews, and James Bridges.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University's vocal group, The Harvesters, debuted their new sound in their recently released EP, "Forward." 

"I'm excited to see how these new songs resonate with listeners inside and outside of our community," said James Bridges, Director of the Harvesters Vocal Group. "It took us a little while to get us out of our comfort zone, but I think the end result is something special. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this EP."

Bridges explains that the EP's tracks reflect the group's new contemporary music direction while still paying tribute to its gospel roots. Each member of the ensemble took a turn singing each part of the EP. Along with Bridges, listeners will enjoy the talents of longtime members Eddie Perkins and Trevor Burns. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began to take full effect, Perkins, Burns, and Bridges collaborated with the EP's Producer Brent Lamb in his home. 

"The group brought some songs we were interested in, and he (Brent Lamb) showed us some songs that we really fell in love with," said Bridges. "We met Brent through SAGU Vice President for Advancement, Rick Bowles, and immediately connected with him. Brent is a great artist in his own right and had loads of experience and ideas to bring to the table."

Unfortunately, as the pre-production process was progressing so were the circumstances surrounding the pandemic. Soon after, the project and a planned appearance at the National Senior Adult Conference in Branson were put on hold due to health and safety precautions. However, through prayer and perseverance, the group could resume recording in the fall of 2020 and now have an exciting travel season planned for the remainder of 2021 and throughout 2022, kicking off with the rescheduled Branson date.

With Perkins graduating this semester and Burns newly married, Harvesters listeners will have the privilege of hearing the current Harvesters members promote the EP on the road: Joran Spangler, who has been with the group since last December, and newcomer Josef Matthews, who began traveling this summer.

"There were many challenges in getting this project to completion, but we were able to accomplish our goal," said Rick Bowles, VP for SAGU Advancement. "I am excited that it is now available, especially for our SAGU staff, donors, and alumni. I hope all will enjoy the finished EP!"

In addition to embracing a new sound and recording in 2020, The Harvesters accomplished their goal of recording one of their projects in-house for the first time in the group’s history. The trio utilized SAGU's studio in the Hagee Communication Center, engineered by SAGU's own John Cookman, the Media Services Director, along with assistance from Scott Bouck and David Castell. 

"This was a goal of ours from the beginning, and it's exciting to see how everything just came together perfectly," said Bridges. 

From this point, James says that it is full-steam ahead with the start of traveling season now underway. "I look forward to seeing what kind of new avenues and opportunities will arise for us to minister in new places and reach new audiences!" says Bridges.

He wanted to specifically mention how Vice President Rick Bowles and Producer Brent Lamb have played a critical role in the EP. "So much credit belongs to them!" he exclaimed. 

To purchase a copy of "Forward" or book The Harvesters for an upcoming event, please visit The Harvesters page. Feel free to also email James Bridges directly at jsbridges@sagu.edu. 

All of The Harvesters’ previous releases are available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube, and CDBaby. The "Forward" EP will also be available on streaming services soon.