Carolina Sound releases first-ever CD

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Music is a nourishing tool.

It offers hope, soothes pain and provides strength.

Just listen to Carolina Sound’s newly-released CD, entitled “I Will Follow.” The beautifully-produced album is full of thought-provoking lyrics that resonate within the listener’s soul and tugs at their heart strings.

“Music itself is powerful,” said Lester Rector, co-director of the 14-member a cappella group at the University of Mount Olive.

“When you bring God into the equation, you know it’s amplified. We feel like it’s an opportunity for the heart to be revealed. I think that’s why people are so attracted to music. It says something about the opportunity for people to be exposed or to be vulnerable.”

The CD contains three original songs - “Get Ready,” “Who I Am” and “Many Faces.” The remainder of the track are “cover” songs that the group has put its own twist or spin on the lyrics.

Rector gushes at the creativity involved with “Big Fish.”

Originally produced in the 1990s, the tongue-in-cheek song discusses Jonah and the whale from the Bible. In this case, Rector reveals the listener finds itself in the belly of the world, instead of the whale.

Catchy lyrics capture the listener’s attention.

“One brick short of a load, one shot away from a bullseye, one fry short of a happy meal … like the world we live in right now,” Rector said. “It’s definitely we’re living life upside down. The whole conversation is ‘are you running? Are you running away from God when you should be running towards him?”

Rector’s favorite song is the album title.

It comes from the book of Ruth. God wants to be involved in everyone’s life and His plan is better than their own, Rector says.

“Give Him a chance, let Him show you,” he adds.

Today’s music has become more contemporary. Groups such as Levitical Rise, Voctave, Anthem Lights and Pentatonix — all a cappella musicians — have paved the way for a youth movement in style and sound.

A hand-picked blend of voices, Carolina Sound provides a classical feel and slight edge of contemporary flare. Several of the talented vocalists also have gifts in the area of the ministry and give testimonials when they perform.

Rector listens to his heart when he brings kids into the group.

“There’s multiple dynamics involved,” said Rector, who spent nearly seven years with the Voices of Liberty at Epcot. 

“It’s not just what they can do musically, but it’s their personalities. This group is on the road a lot, so we’re like a family. But the discipline that comes with this style of music is much more intense than any other because there is no place to rest.”

The singers are challenged to build their vocal stamina so they can perform any genre of music. They deal with intros, turnarounds, transitions, chorus versus the bridge and solos during each number.

A third-year group, Carolina Sound performs in venues on the East and West coast. Rector said the group has a new repertoire of music it has yet to reveal to its audiences.

They have Christian and secular pieces.

“Appreciating yourself, not bullying, staying away from premarital sex … these are the kinds of positive conversations that we want to bring to the audience,” Rector said. “Carolina Sound was designed to be a recruitment group. There is a level of excellence in what we do that directly reflects back to the university.”

“I Will Follow” is available for purchase on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

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