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Band rocks at First UMC - Odessa American: Religion

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Band rocks at First UMC

Contemporary service led by musical couple

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  • Tyson Voigt

    Tyson Voigt is responsible for the music during First United Methodist Church's contemporary service.

Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2019 3:30 am

As co-director of contemporary music with his wife Jennifer at the First United Methodist Church, Tyson Voigt has a lot on his mind when the Sunday service starts at 9 a.m.

“We focus on God’s goodness, his love, his care and his glory,” said Voigt, a 31-year-old Houston native who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Baylor and the University of Miami. “We want to reach people on an emotional level about their relationship with God. Sometimes we sing his praises and other times we are simply grateful for what he has done. Sometimes we’re more meditative and just enjoy his presence.

“We tailor it to a scriptural passage or whatever the sermon is about that day.”

Senior Pastor Todd Salzwedel preaches at both the contemporary service and the traditional one at 11 a.m.

Voigt is director of percussion studies at UTPB and an adjunct professor at Odessa College, where his wife is an associate professor of music. They have a daughter.

“We can’t save ourselves,” he said. “That’s why we need God. He created us for himself and ever since then, we have been messing that up. In his grace and love, he has fixed that problem for us. Jesus modeled serving others in the best way.”

Voigt plays acoustic guitar and divides time on the drums with Richie Puga while Ric Vickery plays guitar and Dan Ferguson keyboards. Joe Williams and William Nall play bass, Aaron Wood electric guitar and Janet Wyant acoustic guitar. Most of the band sings along with Karen Ward, Susan Henry and Jennifer.

“It’s similar to what you hear on the radio,” Voigt said. “We do music by various groups like Elevation Worship and All Sons and Daughters.”

The services are attended by an average of 70 people.

Matt Nichols of Miami, who played in classical, chamber and church bands with Voigt in Florida, said he “was immediately a true friend.

“Tyson is a welcoming person and a role model for me,” Nichols said. “He was a team player at school, the kind of person you wanted to say ‘hi’ to. He was fun to be in the bands with, easygoing but very prepared and hard working.

“It helps to have somebody who can be considered the rock or foundation of the group to set the beat and the whole flow of a piece. Tyson is definitely that person.”

Odessa, TX

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