This is not your average teen band.
Consisting of five members, ages 14 to 18, who have a love for music and the ability to make it, the band Rise Up has a very specific goal — sharing their love for God through songs.
All five members had long been musicians and about a year ago, their mothers suggested they joined forces to see what would happen.
The result was a young band that has already established a name for itself and been invited to perform and lead worship services at surrounding churches.
And things are about to turn up a notch. Following a concert June 23 at the Columbus Evangelical Church and hosted by the Stillwater Youth Center, the teens will head to Nashville, Tenn., for Camp Electric — a weeklong music camp run by popular contemporary Christian artist TobyMac that brings in other contemporary artists and songwriters to help young musicians hone their skills.
Siblings Sierra, Jacob and Taylor Branson are joined by Abby Teeters and Tyson Oster in rounding out the group.
At 14, Oster is the youngest member of the band, serving as the drummer. He has been “drumming since before he could walk,” making his own sets by stacking pots and pans in size order, according to the group’s Facebook page. When he isn’t holding drumsticks, Oster likes to ride bulls, fish, hunt and camp.
Teeters, 15, is the energetic lead singer who loves art, family time, the outdoors and participates in cross country and basketball at the Columbus High School. Being part of the band has helped her grow.
“Being able to help others connect and grow closer to Christ through music is the reason why I love being a part of Rise Up,” said Teeters.
Sierra Branson is the 18-year-old keyboardist and singer. She just finished high school as a homeschooler and is the oldest of nine children. Branson loves camping, fishing, family time, friends and holds down a job at a childcare center. Like Teeters, being in the band holds a special meaning.
“The lyrics to every song that we sing or write is a reflection of what we believe and know in our hearts,” said Sierra Branson.
Jacob Branson, 15, plays the cello and bass guitar and will be a sophomore at CHS this fall. Fishing, tubing, wake-boarding, skiing and hunting are among his other interests. He also enjoys wrestling for AAU. He also drums on the worship team and Youth Choir and does volunteer work.
Taylor Branson, 17, is the lead guitarist and also sings for Rise Up. He will be a senior at CHS this fall and plans to enroll in flight lessons and pre-college classes at MSU-B.
He is also currently a Columbus volunteer firefighter, having recently completed the cadet program.
Like his siblings, he loves fishing, hunting and camping. He is deeply involved in his church and community.
“Playing in Rise Up has taught me a lot, probably even more about being a Christian and a human being than any other event in my life,” said Taylor. “I can honestly say that we play for Jesus, and no one else. That is our purpose, and that is our passion. The Lord has given us talents, and nothing is going to stop us from pursuing our passion of Worship and spreading the gospel to people.”
The June 23 concert at the Columbus Evangelical Church starts at 6:30 p.m.
Billed as a “worship and rock and roll music camp,” Camp Electric is held on the Trevecca Nazarene University, one mile from downtown Nashville. It is a combination of classes, concerts, devotional time and more.
Kids between the ages of 13 and 19 attend specific clinics they registered for ahead of time, such as drums, guitar or vocals. It is during clinic time that students get one-on-one instruction from the Christian artists being featured at the particular camp. Some of those instructors include musicians and Casting Crowns drummer Brian Scoggins, TobyMac lead guitarist Tim Rosenau, Mandisa bass player Bernard Harris and Jeremy Camp’s lead guitarist Toby Friesen.
Every night features a concert from some of the biggest names in Christian music. The camp has been in existence for 10 years. One its missions is to help kids realize their “talent can help impact and change your generation,” according to camp literature.
While spiritual growth is a passion of the camps, it welcomes all to Camp Electric — atheists, agnostics, skeptics and doubters, according to camp literature.