Throwback Thursday: Their song made an impact nationwide

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Photo caption:
The Bremen Church of the Brethren Senior Youth Group traveled to Fort Collins, Colo., in July for the National Youth Conference, where their song won a song-writing contest. In front from left are Jordan Walter, Kayla Milleman, Amanda Hershberger, Lauren Graybill, Mandy Bodnar, Phil Walter, Anna Smith and Mark Smith. In the middle row from left are Joan Laudeman, Mark Laudeman, Denise Rensberger, Cortney Hudak, Becky Milleman, Marie Laudeman, Julie Ann Ott, Joyce Graybill, Scott Graybill and Brad Nabholz. In the back row from left are Aaron Hostetler, Eric Emans and Brad McKenzie.

Thirteen years ago this week, this story and photo about a local church youth group winning a national song-writing contest appeared in The Bremen Enquirer.

COB youth group wins national song-writing contest

The crowd is cheering. Everyone is dancing. People are jumping around. And they are all singing a song that you helped write.
It sounds like a dream, but for members of the Bremen Church of the Brethren Senior Youth Group, it was a reality.
“It was awesome,” group member Kayla Milleman said. “People were jumping up and down, singing our song.”
The group shared this experience at the church’s National Youth Conference (NYC) in Fort Collins, Colo.
Because their song was chosen from more than 30 entries as the winner of NYC song-writing contest, everyone at the conference learned and sang it each night. The song title and conference theme, “For such a Time as This,” is based on Esther 4:14, youth group member Aaron Hostetler explained.
“Esther was put in a powerful position and in that position she could save her people. The song is kind of saying that we’re in a position where we can make a difference, we can make a change in our world.”
In writing the song, they did just that, according to Pastor Tom Hostetler.
“One of the things they’ve learned is that you can have an impact on the church, nationwide. They had an impact on the church in their time at NYC, which is pretty cool.”
Aaron Hostetler found out that the song is still reaching others today.
“At our district conference at Camp Mack in Milford, Amanda (Hershberger) and I sang the song in front of everyone. The pastors said how much they enjoyed the song and that they were going to teach the song to their congregations. In a way it’s not just for youth, it’s for adults and everyone,” Hostetler said.
The youth group was not always so excited about the song. In fact, when youth leaders Mark and Joan Laudeman first presented the idea last September, the response was lukewarm.
“We were skeptical,” Amanda Hershberger said.
They lacked the confidence that they could write a winning song, but soon overcame their doubt.
“Mark presented the verses to us and we picked out the ones that spoke to us,” Aaron Hostetler said.
From there, an adult friend, Dave Smith, gave input on the lyrics and produced an instrumental track. On the audition CD, Mark and Joan’s daughter, Emily, sang lead vocals with help from Jordan Walter, Lauren Graybill and Aaron Hostetler.
Before the song was presented to the conference, staff members of NYC made some final touches. It was then recorded again with Emily Laudeman singing solo. This version of the song is featured on a CD that was distributed to everyone in attendance at the National Youth Conference.
Aaron Hostetler said the whole experience was worthwhile.
“I think it showed how many wonderful things can come out of our group. We do have a great group and (this) shows that.”

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