The band that formed through the sweat, joy and tears of urban mission in Hamilton, Ontario, The City Harmonic, known only to those in and around Hamilton in 2010, began its worldwide trajectory in part due to the unifying hit single and worship song, "Manifesto." Recording the song for the new, 14-track album (see the album video trailer here) was a full-circle moment for The City Harmonic. Many of those involved in that original urban mission in 2010 called TrueCity, a crucible of small churches of various denominations in Hamilton, returned to join the band during the April 29, 2017 recording in the town where it all began for the band.
"It was nothing but humbling to sing this song along with the same crowd of people that literally inspired and blessed this whole thing that became The City Harmonic," says the band's Elias Dummer (lead vocals, keys). "This amazing journey was always meant to be about people united in God, and it felt so good to celebrate our time together and encourage one another into new seasons of ministry. It was a once in a lifetime event that I'm grateful we're able to share."
The studio recording of "Manifesto" was the band's first single out of the gate Nov. 22, 2010 and is featured on its debut EP, Introducing The City Harmonic, and as a bonus track on its first full-length album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home). Launching The City Harmonic almost exactly six years ago to the best-selling new artist on Billboard's Top Current Digital Singles Chart for Christian music, the single went on to sell well over 100,000 copies while the band took home three 2011 Gospel Music Association Canada Covenant Awards, including "New Artist of the Year" along with "Modern Worship Song of the Year" and "Recorded Song of the Year" for "Manifesto." Today, the single has sold many more units, been sung in venues and churches around the world and has been viewed over 3.3 million times here.
The sentiment of unity and the heart of the gospel is what The City Harmonic intended to capture with "Manifesto," which is one of the only modern songs to include the Lord's Prayer verbatim.
"People sometimes make 'the gospel' about a hundred different little things," mused Elias back in 2010. "This is what a 'manifesto' usually does - but the gospel is remarkably simple. We could spend our whole lives debating 'rightness' -- and reach the end having loved no one. So, it just made sense to center on the simplicity of the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer."
In addition to "Manifesto" and the final new song from the band, "Honestly," Benediction Live includes The City Harmonic's "Praise The Lord," "Holy (Wedding Day)," "Mountaintop," "A City On A Hill," "I Am" and more of the band's best-loved modern worship anthems of longing, hope and celebration.
CCM Magazine lauds the album as "a fitting way to close out the band's storied career," NewReleaseToday.com calls Benediction Live "a fitting farewell and benediction, sending out listeners to live out these songs," Worship Musician says the band "has once again presented the church with a harmonious blend of modern musical style and liturgical flavor that is unmatched in the current worship genre," and JesusFreakHideout.com agrees, saying the project is "a devoted farewell, a love letter to the church written to inspire and encourage...quite possibly the best worship release of the year." Hallels.com shares in its 5-star review that "we are in a desperate need for songs such as these" as 365 Days Of Inspiring Media rates the album 5 out of 5.
While Benediction is the final recording from The City Harmonic, the men behind-the-music -- Elias and bandmates Eric Fusilier (bass), Josh Vanderlaan (drums) and Aaron Powell (guitars), have spawned a "family tree" of roots, with each band member moving into new avenues of ministry. In addition to working on a new solo worship project, Elias is involved in a church plant in Nashville (The Village UMC) that has become one of the fastest growing Methodist church plants in the country. Eric planted and is pastoring an Anabaptist church in Hamilton (Reunion Hamilton). Aaron is also working on new music and has taken a staff position as Worship Director at an Anglican church in Hamilton (The Rock on Locke) while Josh is leading the tech team at his home church.