Till The End Of Time, City Harvest Chinese Church’s sixth album, is a true labour of love, says the album’s producer.
Five years ago, City Harvest Chinese Church embarked on a music project at the suggestion of its pastor Tan Ye Peng. We wanted to produce a praise and worship album that would be given free to our members for them to use during their own quiet time. That first album was a simple project: 12 praise and worship songs were selected and recorded live during Sunday service. Post-production was done in an hour, and the lyric booklet was simply designed. Within a month after the CD and booklet were sent off to the printer, the members held the first Chinese Church album in their hands.
Fast-forward five years to the weekend of Aug 15-16, 2015: Chinese Church launched its sixth praise and worship album, titled Till The End Of Time (直到最后). The theme of the album, suggested by Pastor Tan, is the name of God, about exalting His name, about His character and nature. This is in line with Pastor Tan’s sermons from the past one year. The title track is about how we can always look to God when we are in trouble and how His love will never fail us or forsake us.
The production process for this album took nearly seven months; planning began as early as last year October. This was by far our biggest and most difficult project. The album contains eight original songs written by our members—the most we have composed for any album—and it involved the largest number of people ever: eight songwriters, 21 musicians and 12 singers, most of whom are volunteers. For four months, we had weekly practices and recording sessions. The other four songs in the album are from other churches, including a Mandarin version of ALM UK’s ‘We Believe’.
Till The End Of Time is the first studio album for Chinese Church. It was a new experience for our worship leaders to be confined to a small room after having freedom to move on stage.
Without access to professional music arrangers, the music team all came together during practice and everyone gave their ideas on musical arrangement. It was frustrating and discouraging at times when we had a deadline looming but our creative juices had dried up. There were times when we only manage to finalize our music arrangement on the day of recording, giving the musicians very little time to master their parts. It was nothing short of a miracle that the recording was done in just three takes.
As Yap Lee Sang, our music director and keyboardist says, “It’s truly by God’s grace that the band manage to finish recording the 12 songs in the given time, because these volunteers had to juggle both recording and serving during weekend services.”
Ultimately, this album was accomplished from start to finish by Chinese Church’s own members. Although it may not have been professionally produced, it is an album we can all truly be proud of. Till The End Of Time is our sacrificial offering unto God: we all came together bringing our best; we gave our time and energy to create this album. We all share a vision to bless the members with our music, and we are simply God’s vessels to bring this album to pass. I feel privileged to have been a part of this effort.
As for what we hope this album will achieve, Zhou Ling, one of our song leaders says it best: “I hope anyone who listens to this album will be touched by the presence of God, and that the Holy Spirit will minister to the hearts of the people through the songs.”
Allen Yu is a Chinese Church member and the producer on Till The End Of Time.